1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die is in the shops next week (it’s been out in the US since March) and Hop Monkey IPA is just one of the beers. As its editor I’m naturally proud of it but I’m also aware that it’s yet another list of beers. On the other hand there are several reasons why I think it’s a worthy and worthwhile addition to an ever-growing canon of beer books. They are:
- It is a beer book that should stretch right across the board in its appeal to beer lovers. If you want debates over the intricacies of beer styles, the ins and outs of branding and what beer women should have sloshing around in their elegant glasses, then you should look elsewhere (though I didn’t know about the origins of Carlsberg’s Elephant beer until I read Jeff Pickthall’s review). It’s an attempt to tell the story behind these 1001 beers, but also get the reader to start licking their lips and call for a glass pronto.
- It has the work of over 40 beer experts throughout the world — many of whom are authors in their own right. You have a variety of viewpoints, there is no party line apart from my insistence that the writers talk to the readers. Navel-gazing ‘whither beer’ articles are out, but authority, celebration and gastronomic suggestions are in.
- It celebrates some of the world’s greatest beers at the current time — over 40 Italian craft beers, a good handful of Swiss superstars, lots of US beers, plenty of Euro gems, Brazilian and South African craft newbies, plus of course the guys from down-under. There is also a handful of some of the world’s most well-known and best-selling beers. Regarding the latter: look at the title, these are beers to try even if you discover why you shouldn’t try said beer again.
- Lots of nice pictures of glasses of beer and their bottles.
- Book is divided into colours rather than beer styles or countries — amber, blonde, dark, white and speciality (ok the latter is not a colour, but you get the drift).
- It looks good on the coffee table.
- It’s also rather weighty so you can take it to the pub and with the imminent release of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, it will deflect any arrows that impressionable folk who have seen the movie might start flinging about.