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Christian DeBenedetti's "The Great American Ale Trail" is part of a craft beer book bumper crop.

Books about beer have proliferated to the point where Brooklyn Brewery has a beer by the name of Companion to sip while you are reading The Oxford Companion to Beer by Garrett Oliver and Horst Dornbusch. But neither is out yet so let’s focus on three disparate books that craft beer lovers can enjoy right now.

First up is Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest by the Beer Goddess, Lisa Morrison. Morrison is a fixture on the Portland beer scene and you probably read one of her columns in either Celebrator Beer magazine, Beer Advocate or listened to her radio show Beer 0’Clock.

This book is filled with all the needed maps to navigate from Portland to Seattle and Canada too. Need information on Oakshire Brewing in Eugene? It’s there. Where to buy to-go bottles of your favorite NW brew? There too. And what is especially helpful are the “walkable” pub crawls that will give you exercise in between your great beer destinations.

Our next book delves into the history of the American tavern, saloon, bar, watering hole or whatever you want to call it. America Walks into a Bar by Christine Sismondo takes you from rebellious patriots railing against British taxes to helicopter parents in Brooklyn. The common denominator being the American bar.

Though a bit dry at times and light on current day happenings in comparison to the chapters on early American tavern history, Sismondo has unearthed a trove of interesting facts and characters who either run the bars or frequent them. (Sometimes too frequently). What is most fascinating is the push/pull of hatred against bars and the “seedy elements” that can surround them and the fact that bars have always been an integral part of most communities. After reading this, you will be glad you didn’t have to find good beer back then.

Lastly, we have The Great American Ale Trail by Christian DeBenedetti.

This book stops at many great beer destinations across the United States and it also highlights the Best Beer Festivals, Best Beer Cities and even the Best Dive Bars where you can sip craft beer and not crap beer. So once you have finished off the Pacific NW, you can plan your next beer adventure anywhere in the US.

For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend New Belgium Brewing‘s Kick. It is a sour beer. It is also a pumpkin beer. It is also a fruit beer. It is also a collaboration with NW brewery Elysian who is famed for their pumpkin beers. Plus it has a super cool label with Jack O’Lanterns grinning at you.

This week’s Homework is to get your tickets for the L.A. Beer Week finale. You do not want to miss the 3rd version of this festival. Not only is it super easy to get to Union Station, it is a beautiful venue for sipping a wide variety of great craft beer.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman's writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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A copy of Drinkology Beer is headed toward your mailbox. Look for it next week.

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