Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: Naked Pint by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune

I'm going to mix it up a little bit with this review. I am going to review a book outside of my list and one which was not chosen by the RNG [GASP!].  I know it's crazy, but you all out there will just have to deal.

As noted way back in the early days of this blog, I received Naked Pint for Christmas. Since then, I have slowly been working my way through it as time permitted. I actually finished it a couple of months ago, but didn't even think about writing a review about it. I saw it sitting there all lonely today and decided to give it some attention.

Naked Pint is about beer. To be specific, Naked Pint is about good beer or, at minimum, better beer. It is a homage to the exploding craft beer industry. If you or someone you love are the type who are befuddled by the choices of beer available to you, whether it be a nice, refreshing pilsner or a syrupy, chocolate-y imperial Russian stout, this is the book for you. Even if you are already familiar with and enjoy partaking in the consumption of craft beers, you may find that you don't know all of the esoteric, minute (yet interesting) details behind many less commonly available beer categories. I know that I didn't.

The Naked Pint covers pretty much everything you would want to know about craft beer, from how beer is made, to the history of beer, how to properly drink a good beer (hint: a lot like a good wine), and how to pair different types of beers with food. It has a breakdown of almost every type of ale/lager in existence, explaining the characteristics of each and providing a few (in their opinion) stand outs that are available for purchase. If you are so inclined, it even has a brief section on brewing your own beer. It won't serve as a replacement for some of the more extensive brewing books out there, but it is a nice introduction.

There was only one thing that was a little off-putting to me, but it wasn't anything that ruined the experience for me. If you notice above, both of the book's authors are women. They make sure, over and over, to ensure that the reader is made aware of this. I understand that in the world of better beer drinking that women are woefully underrepresented, which is obviously a shame, but they beat this one to death. Like I said: it's nothing that ruins the book, though.

Overall, this book is the perfect gift for the neophyte is the big world of craft beer or the weathered beer drinker who takes special trips abroad to try legendary beers and who happens to be an all-grain brewer. I fall somewhere in the middle and found it a useful and entertaining read. The authors are welcoming and light hearted in their writing, inviting anyone to take part in the craft beer revolution.

I'm not going to give this a score since it's not within my usual scope of reviewing, but I will say it is a great book. While not entirely exhaustive, it is one of the most readable and complete guides to the world of craft beer that I have ever seen.

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