One of my failings as a beer blogger is that I sometimes enjoy someone else's hospitality and then fail to tell them or tell the wider blog world how much I enjoyed it. It then nags and nags my conscience like a stone in my shoe. I am about to remove one of those stones.
Ages and ages ago I took my fill of beer at the launch of World's Best Beers by Ben McFarland. I then gratefully received a review copy of the book some weeks later. I am embarrassed to say that this was over a year ago.
I haven't been totally remiss though. About three months ago I wrote a long piece praising this book, edited and tweaked the copy, then with a click of the mouse it was gone - into the ether never to reappear. Fat finger syndrome that also is the curse of my Twitter account !
It is my honest opinion that this remains the best book of this style published recently. Although it is another compilation of 1,000 of the world's best beers populated with colour photographs and tasting notes, it is very much more than that.
The opening pages include a comprehensive guide to ingredients including an excellent section on hops (hip hops ?). The next section on beer styles strays away from the boring tried and tested and includes styles such as Vintage Ales, seeking to explain the recent trend in aged and collectible beers.
The beers are the main course and are split by country, from Britain and Ireland, through Europe to America(s), Australasia, Africa and the Middle East.
Breaking up the 1,000 beer tasting notes and descriptions there are other sections telling the stories of breweries such as Fullers, Thornbridge, Cantillon, Mikkeller etc, all written in an entertaining style that makes the book an enjoyable read rather than a reference or coffee table volume.
(Watch out for the story of coffee beans passed through the digestive tract of an Indonesian weasel before being used in the brew of the legendary Beer Geek Breakfast).
Finally it is the final section on Beer and Food that made this a prize winner at last years Guild of Beer Writers awards. The section includes a concise guide to beer and food matching and then goes onto suggest beers that work well with seafood, meat, chicken, cheese, desserts and spicy food and includes guest appearances from Rick Stein and Garrett Oliver, a genius who has achieved most in the realm of beer and food matching.
So there you have it, not a particularly lucid book review but an honest one and at least part of my conscience is satisfied.
It is my honest opinion that this is one of the best, most readable, beer books published in recent years and I give it my hearty recommendation.
Cover price is £25 but you should find it on Amazon for less than £15.