Beer: What to Drink Next by Michael Larson
Can one ever really have enough beer books? I know my bookshelf is starting to become overwhelmed with the amount of pages dedicated to our favorite fermented beverage. From books about homebrewing and yeast to IPAs and hops, I have over the years collected my fair share of craft beer encyclopedias of knowledge. I have so many books that I often skip picking up any new ones, but I had the fantastic opportunity to receive Beer: What To Drink Next by Michael Larson. I am one who knows what I like in a beer but one that enjoys trying new brews. Upon receiving Beer: What To Drink Next, I was expecting an introductory beer book for the youngin’ who is starting to explore the bountiful craft beer world. But, that is when the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” hit me like an empty beer bottle. The book Beer: What To Drink Next is filled with useful history, information and suggestions about craft beer. Each beer style starts out with a handy chart of style stats that includes the origin, color (SRM), typical ABV and IBU. In addition to the style information, a picture of the beer style provides a good visual example of what to expect. Next to the brew statistics is a brief introduction to the beer, which includes, but is not limited to, aroma descriptions, flavor characteristics and even sometimes a brief history.
Do you like what you have read? Interested in that style? They got you covered. Each style profile includes three beers to try. So, say you are looking at oatmeal stouts, the author will point you to Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout ( a personal favorite of mine), Young’s Oatmeal Stout and Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. Each suggested beer comes with an appearance, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel description. Next comes my favorite part about the book. The Atomic Structure. The Atomic Structure has three layers that include more information about the beer style. The first layer is focused on facts and information about the beer style. So take for instance, did you know that the greatest number of bitters produced are best bitters? So yeah, good information in here. The next layer focuses on breweries to consider when searching for this specific style. Say you are looking for a good Irish Red. Beer: What To Drink Next will point you to Carlow Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Three Floyds Brewing Company. All fantastic suggestions. The third and final layer of The Atomic Structure is the common tasting notes of the style. If you are drinking an IPA, you might notice some earthy notes, definitely some bitter flavor, possibly some herbal hops, and the list goes on. The Atomic Structure provides a visual and informative way to understand the beer style. In addition to The Atomic Structure, each style has food paring suggestions. Trying to figure out what goes with a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, well they suggest Indian food, pesto dishes, Chinese food and shrimp. This book is extremely well organized, split by ales and lagers and then organized by tasting notes that include malt flavors, hop characteristics, fermentation and body and mouthfeel. So, are you someone, or know someone, who loves to try new beers, loves to learn about beer and/or loves to add craft beer books to the shelf? If so do yourself a favor and pick up Beer: What To Drink Next. Because lets be honest….one can never have too many beer books. Cheers!
Author Michael Larson is owner of The Perfectly Happy Man a fantastic beer review website.