Sub Category: Drink books
Published: September 2009
One of the most simple and easy-to-read guides to what is often a needlessly opaque part of the market.
Superb graphics, pithy quotes, handy tips for serving and storing beer all help make the magazine-style layout easy to digest, while good quality photography brings it to life. Even that nice stripey cover is actually a composite of different beers. No weirdy, beardy, real ale stereotypes here either - author and master brewer Alex is young and, well, normal looking, and his conversational and humorous prose style takes you by the hand and leads you through the world of beer styles, flavours and production methods.
Most helpfully, perhaps, is his guide to the Top 25 beer styles. Don't know your Bitter from your Mild? Want to know the difference between Helles Pale Lagers and Continental Pilsners, or Barley Wines from KÃÂÃÂ¶lsch? Alex is your man, and you can turn to the right page at a flick of the fingers (not least by the fact this book is spiral-bound). It even comes with an 'Experience Pack' allowing you to compare beers in a special glass, making this great for gifts. One for Father's Day, anyone?
Critics might say this is dumbing down a noble and ancient tradition, but based on the impenetrable tomes that sometimes come across our desk, we think that's no bad thing.