Summer Beer Reading
Originally published June 30, 2010
Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to pull out the beer cooler and head to where the water is, be it ocean, lake or swimming pool, and don’t forget to take along something to read. That beach read doesn’t have to be the latest celebrity tell-all, political thriller or romance, though, not when so many great beer books have been published in the last six months.
If you want to learn more about the beer you’re sipping, “The Naked Pint, An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer” (Perigee Trade, 336 pp, $19.95) will make you sound like an expert. “Naked Pint” was written by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, who have clocked countless hours at Father’s Office, one of Los Angeles’ premier craft beer spots. I’d call this very accessible volume the equivalent of a beer school textbook, except that it’s so much fun to read — plus the homework involves sampling beer. Perozzi and Beaune start with the basics, then add layers to your glass of beer knowledge.
Another worthy choice is “The Beer Trials” (Fearless Critic Media, 320 pp, $14.95) by certified cicerone — beer sommelier — Seamus Campbell and “Wine Trials” author Robin Goldstein. With a panel of tasters to help, the pair sampled 250 of the most popular imported and domestic beers. It’s fun to browse and see how your favorites fared or find a few new ones to try.
Advanced ale education
If you’re already a certified beer geek, check out “Amber, Gold & Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers” (History Press, 240 pp, $24.95) by British beer historian Martyn Cornell. One of the best and most thoroughly researched accounts of the history of British beer styles, “Amber, Gold & Black” finally has reached these shores, shattering many cherished myths in the process. Cornell tackles all the popular styles — India pale ales, porters and stouts — along with more obscure, ancient varieties, such as heather ales and honey beer. If you already think you know it all, this is the book for you.
But if you’re a homebrewer, put Stan Hieronymus’ new “Brewing with Wheat” (Brewers Publications, 295 pp, $17.95) on your reading list. The book, which starts with the history of this type of brewing and moves through virtually every type of wheat beer ever made, is rich in technical details and includes recipes for home brewing.
It took much too long to get here, but Pete Brown’s “Hops and Glory: One Man’s Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire” (Pan Books, 356 pp, $11.95) finally has been published in the U.S. This wonderfully witty travel book, which follows the path that India Pale Ales once made from Britain’s Burton-on-Trent to India, won Brown the coveted “Beer Writer of the Year” award earlier this year. Rich with history and humor, it’s simply one of the best — and funniest — beer books ever written.
If you love language and beer, perhaps something literary would be more to your taste. British writer Sir Kingsley Amis, author of “Lucky Jim,” “The Green Man” and many other novels and poetry collections, was also quite well known for his passion for drinking. He wrote three books on the subject, as well as a regular column on alcohol for one of the London newspapers. “Everyday Drinking” (Bloomsbury, 320 pp, $10) collects Amis’ alcohol writing into one volume, just out in paperback. Although Amis writes about more than beer, his language and wit make it a joy to read. Caution: You may get quite thirsty along the way.
And if you just want to laugh out loud, former Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin has published his first novel, “The Pint Man” (Doubleday, 272 pp, $24.95). The novel takes place over more than a few pints in a fictional New York pub, Boyle’s Irish Bar. Essentially it’s a love triangle between the main character, Rodney Poole; Mairead (rhymes with parade), the promising young woman he meets; and his favorite bar.