The Beer Book shows off Dorling Kindersley’s high production values.
The book is nicely laid out, but hopelessly uneven.
The multi-author approach shows wide gaps between the regions. Some are boring and little more than regutgitated marketing brochures, whereas others actually contain interesting tidbits about the countries, breweries and their products.
Strangely enough, the more tradition-laden a country is, the more boring the chapter.
Hence it’s no surprise that United States, as the flag carrier of inspired craft brewing gets the most readable section. They’ve clearly got one of the better authors and the wildly imaginative brewers get proper exposure. As a contrast the chapters on Germany and Czech republic are genuine snoozefests.
I expected lots more on history. Of both the drink and its producers. Like important breweries now gone or merged. Now they are haphazardly referenced in the per-brewery entries, and a holistic approach is absent.
And I certainly expected even more on beer styles. The coverage is sparse and uneven and again, there is not even a list of commonly agreed beer styles and variants.
Homebrewing is also left out, which is odd, since the barrier of entry is low indeed.
As a moral bonus, Finland fares decently in the main body of the book, though obviously the selection covers the boring mainstream euro lagers, too.