Beer Research 101
Read All About It - There are many books about beer and many websites dedicated to beer lovers all over the world. Before we get started it would be prudent to mention some the very best sources for learning more about our topic or for just picking up some tips to help us better understand this wonderful beverage we enjoy today. If you are looking to find books about beer written by a beer expert, the late Michael Jackson is synonymous with the modern craft-brew revolution. His 1977 book, The World Guide to Beer undeniably sparked many people to reconsider the bland, flavorless beer they were stuck drinking and seek out a better brew. Michael was also on the money with his Beer Companion and Pocket Guide to Beer. Sadly, Michael passed away to the big cozy pub in the sky in August 2007. He is missed not only for his fine writing about Scotch and Beer, but for his obvious love of life and making friends wherever he went. To learn more about this beer-writing pioneer visit his website at: www.beerhunter.com.
The Beer Companion – A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Finest Craft Beers by Stephen Snyder is a fine source of information. It’s well laid out and it’s a good book to pick up as a beer reference guide.
If you can find it, Beers of the World by Bill Yenne is one of the best coffee table-style books about beer written. The illustrations and photographs are quite pleasant to admire.
America’s Best Beers – A Complete Guide to the More than 350 Microbreweries and Brewpubs Across America By Christopher Finch and W. Scott Griffiths is a strongly opinionated beer rating guide. You may not agree with the tastes of these two beer connoisseurs, but that’s fine. This book has a solid foundation laid down by two experts and that should serve as inspiration for aspiring students of beer.
100 Years of Brewing, written by a German scholar and first published in 1903 by H.S. Rich & Co. and reprinted in 1974 by Arno, is a 781 page volume about the beer industry in the US at that time. The historical references to beer through the ages are detailed in a scholarly manner, but being that it was written by a German and translated into English during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The names of countries and regions of the earth at that time were curiously named. It was quite a chore to understand and cross-reference some of the author’s references of peoples and countries that existed thousands of years ago, but the effort was well worth it.
Speaking of German authors, Horst Dornbusch has written several books detailing Germany’s long brewing history. His writing is a rare combination of professorial detail and fun reading. “Prost – The Story of German Beer” is a must read. Good stuff! http://www.amazon.com/Prost-German-Horst-D-Dornbusch/dp/0937381551
Closer to home, we have New England beer writer, Andy Crouch’s “Good Guide to New England Beer”. Andy’s a full time lawyer, but his passion is beer. Pick up a copy of his book and a sixer of New England beer at the packie and enjoy! http://www.amazon.com/Good-Beer-Guide-New-England/dp/1584654694
As far as user-friendly websites go: www.beeradvocate.com. BeerAdvocate (BA) is a clear winner. BA encourages user participation. Hosted by brothers Jason and Todd Alström, the Beer Advocate allows you to submit articles, opinions and information about great beer finds. It’s a great place to find out about beer related events around the globe. The BeerAdvocate’s mission is to encourage its members to go out and spread the gospel of a better beer, thus encouraging pubs, bars restaurants and retailers to stock a better selection of great beers. Question about a certain beer? Enter the Forum. The site is very well run and its members truly care about the betterment and promotion of good beer. I’ve met many true beer lovers and people that I consider to be actual beer connoisseurs at BA who have become my friends. The brothers have also launched a monthly magazine by the same name.
Other worth-while sites to visit are Steve Beaumont’s World of Beer.com (lots of articles), RateBeer.com and Michael Jackson’s BeerHunter.com (good articles and beer-related shopping here – though there’s a good deal of advertising to wade through, however, tastefully presented).
A good resource for finding many books and items for sale on the subject of beer, go to; www.beerbooks.com The BeerBooks site is well laid out and fun to peruse.
Ideas, suggestions, historical facts, funny beer related stories, or any contributions by you, the reader, to the better understanding of beer, are welcome. Please feel free to comment on this or any of my articles.
Thanks and Cheers!
Why no, we’re not sitting around doing nothing. We’re researching beer.