As I was enjoying a pint of Mission Shipwrecked at the new and excellent Tony’s Darts Away, my glance kept going over to the bookshelves at the library that Tony Yanow has acquired (including a Pete Brown book from yours truly). One great beer book after another. It is a great place to start your beer masters degree. In that spirit, here are two books that you should pick up.
1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die is part of a occasional series that pits you against the mortality clock as you try to imbibe all of the suggested brews. It is edited by Adrian Tierney-Jones who has assembled an all-star roster of 40 beer aficionados and writers to add their suggestions for beer that cannot be done without.
This is a heavy book and a spendy book but if you are a previous books in the series like 1001 Wines or 1001 Vacation Ideas then you will enjoy this book. It is chock full of information about beers you know and may have enjoyed and beers that you have never even heard of from breweries you didn’t know existed.
This isn’t some dry listing of beers. The beers are beautifully photographed and the layout makes it easy to read. It features tasting notes and subjective assessments not just facts and figures. It will help match the right beer to the right occasion. You also get explanations why each beer tastes the way it does, and describes the alcohol strength and ideal serving temperature and glassware.
The cheapest avenue is probably Amazon. Just try to get free shipping because it is a heavy book for a sturdy coffee table.
The other book that I recommend is from L.A.’s own Hot Knives: Evan George and Alex Brown. They have put together the exact opposite of the 1001 book. This is hip DIY. The cover is even a recycled manila folder.
What is cool about this book is that it focuses on beer and cheese pairings. Most people do not know that beer and cheese go great together. But they do. One complements the other by texture (milky smooth vs carbonated) and flavors (sharpness of cheddar and bitterness of IPA).
Then they go one step further and tell you a suggested song pairing too. It is an ingenious idea. You should pick this book up now. It will be a collector’s item when these guys blow up huge. You can buy their book online HERE.
Your homework is to attend the IPA Festival at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach. It may be a long, traffic filled drive but the rainbow of IPA’s at the end will be well worth it. They have a mind bottling amount of choices. Two rare Sierra Nevada hop bombs. Mikkeller single hop IPA’s. The Shipwrecked from Mission that I mentioned earlier. You name it, they probably have it.
Your beer of the week is from Lagunitas Brewing Company up in Petaluma, just north of San Francisco. It is Wilco Tango Foxtrot aka WTF aka A Jobless Recovery Ale. Pouring a dark orange color with a noticeable piney aroma, WTF is a mild hoppy ale that is full of flavor without being too over the top bitter. It will be a good starter before the palate wreckers of DIPA’s and Imperials at Naja’s. It can be found at Whole Foods and other fine beer establishments in 22 oz. bottles.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.