I'm definitely a wine kind of person, yet sometimes a beer is just the better the choice, and I've had fun exploring different kinds of beer over recent years. Of course enjoying a cold beer on a hot summer day is not the same as having any real knowledge about the different kinds of brews and which ones to serve with which foods. In an effort to school myself, I, naturally, turned to books, both serious and fun.
Here are three such beer books I've been meaning to share with you. One is a good starting point for learning more and the others are for entertaining or just having some fun. Besides showing you the cover of each book, I've also included a scan from between the covers so you can get an idea of what's inside. (Click the images to see them more clearly.)
The Pocket Beer Guide by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb (Sterling Epicure, 2014). My copy of this beer guide is an ARC dating from 2014, but I still find the book to be plenty useful. The handy paperback covers thousands of beers from around the world. The listings are by country then by region and finally by brewery, and each one includes descriptions of the beer plus a star rating. You'll also find a little bit of information about the brewery itself as well as a few recommendations for local brew pubs. Note that the guide sticks to some of the better-know brewers rather than the small artisan (craft) breweries that are springing up everywhere these days. One complaint is that there's no index. Still, it's a useful reference to take to the store or bar or to slip into your bag when traveling.
Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013). When I look at this book, I think of hot summer evenings on the deck with friends just as readily as cold winter nights entertaining guests in front of the fireplace. The heart of the book, of course, are recommendations for finding delicious pairings of beer and cheese. The book is organized by type of beer (ales, porters, lagers, pilsners, and more) and for each one, Fletcher provides tasting notes, and other information, recommended beers, and matching cheeses. The lists of beers cover both regional hits and national favorites, and the range of cheeses follow suit. There's enough information so you can easily create your own pairings from local resources. Useful beer and cheese indexes make it a snap to plan your next get-together.
Cookies & Beer by Jonathan Bender (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015). This book just says fun, fun, fun to me. Move over cheese and main dishes and make room for cookies! I have to be honest here, I like this book for the beer recommendations and for the fabulous cookie recipes. I'm not overly taken by the idea of inviting friends over for a cookie and beer party. On the other hand, why not? Maybe you could host the perfect Saturday afternoon open house or even a unique adult birthday party. Regardless, you can't go wrong with the solid beer choices and delicious-sounding cookie recipes, with flavors ranging from chocolate to spices, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Yum!