University Press of New England
Soft cover, $14.95, 276 pp
New England is a vibrant, dynamic region for craft brewers. Each of the six states boasts excellent microbreweries and brewpubs. These breweries in the cradle of “Yankee” America are methodically, thoroughly and efficiently described and profiled in The Good Beer Guide to New England.
Writer Andy Crouch is described as someone who “often travels on beer-related adventures when he’s not practicing criminal law in downtown Boston.” He seems to have taken the lawyer’s attention to detail to heart as he spent a jam-packed eight months visiting each microbrewery and brewpub in New England in order to research his book.
Crouch explains in his introduction that his guide holds two values: beer deserves respect and there’s no such thing as a person who doesn’t like beer. “To my mind, people who don’t like beer are like leprechauns, the Easter Bunny and World Series rings ceremonies at Wrigley Field: they simply don’t exist.”
Crouch visited 106 breweries, both large and small. His profiles begin by listing the basic facts of each brewery, followed by a short essay. He doesn’t review each beer at a brewery, but instead focuses on what he believes is the brewery’s best beer. He also doesn’t sugarcoat his reviews. If doesn’t think a brewery is great, he lets the reader know.
Each New England state is given its own chapter, with a short introduction that describes the brewing history and beer culture of the state. Interspersed throughout the book are four chapters that serve as a beer primer. These chapters explain beer and the brewing process, beer styles, how to enjoy beer and one on respecting beer. A fifth special chapter profiles eleven great New England beer bars—with at least one for each state.
Crouch is a mid-Westerner transplanted to New England. His love for his new home region shows in his text, as he not only describes breweries and their beers, but also invites the reader to explore the terrain. He has also developed a passion for New England beers.
“Among American brewers, New England’s craftsmen stand with the best, producing some of the most widely respected beers in the world and generating a lot of excitement for beer lovers.”