Keeping up with all the new breweries, styles and beers offered these days can be daunting even for the seasoned professional or enthusiast. For those coming into the growing world of beer, it can be like staring up the face of a mountain from the base.
So thank goodness for Mark Dredge, the British beer writer, and his new book Craft Beer World. The primer in the front of the book, examining everything from the brewing process to proper glassware, is succinct and unassuming. Then, writing like your affable beer-knowledgeable friend, Dredge launches into styles and specific beers and makes you feel like you’re sitting next to him at the bar. The book’s layout is done in that mock journal /scrapbook kind of way that seems to be popular these days, and it works, making the text easy to read and the whole thing a comfortable feel.
Given its prominence in the brewing world, the United States gets most of the attention throughout the book, but Dredge also gives the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and Canada their due props. Countries like Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and even Chile get some ink, but given the word “World” in the title, I would have liked to read more about the rest of the planet. I suspect that, given the book’s approachable manner and Dredge’s passionate and often witty writing, he might just inspire brewers in emerging countries to work hard to be included in his second edition.
There are a lot of these guides on the shelves these days, a glut compounded by the existance of even more websites dedicated to the reviewing, criticism and bragging rites of tasted beers. Craft Beer World reminds us that we, as readers and students of beer, need Sherpas like Mark Dredge, to dig through the crap and present the very best.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.