Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Voyageur Press (June 1, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #539,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #75 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Wine & Spirits > Wine Pairing #337 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Beer #645 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Cooking
I have mixed feeling about this beer book. First the good: It is nicely bound and finished and makes for an attractive book. The graphics are well done and the layout is well constructed and useful as reference material. The author adorns the cover with an attractive picture of herself (side note, my life likes her hair, and I value my wife's opinion!). I also like the breadth of beer styles covered and find the detail on each to be of appropriate depth. Last, the ideas for food pairings are creative and clever. It also contains a few golden nuggets I had never heard of – like shooting the yeast from a bottle conditioned Belgium – sounds strange, but I think I will try it.That said, this book often rubbed me the wrong way, which I found ironic given the title. The definition of unpretentious is “not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.” I found the authors misunderstanding of the first and foremost rule of beer tasting to be … I must say it, pretentious. The first rule of beer tasting is to remember that beer tasting is … well, a matter of taste. No one person’s opinion is more important than any others. More importantly any person that professes to know more about what is going on in a taster’s mind than the taster is just plain foolish and arrogant. Here are a few direct quotes with my thoughts:She says, “BTW, if you drink white zin, put down this book and reevaluate your life. And don’t get me started on vodka.” – Now, I don’t drink white zin, but seriously who is she to pass judgment on people’s tastes? People can like whatever they like.She says, “You like coffee and you don’t like stouts? Are you [expletive removed] kidding me? …….. Do you like grilled foods?
To some extent, in recent years the beer community has turned into a grand game of one-upsmanship, with each new beer drinker trying to one-up the next, and more important (to them), to lord their beer taste over the plebes. Perhaps it's because I've been drinking craft beer since the early 1990s, back when there were just a handful of good breweries to choose from, but I find that attitude tiresome and hope those new to craft beer quickly grow out of it -- or even better, never fall into that trap in the first place.And that's part of why I like The Beer Wench's Guide to Beer.The subtitle claims it is an unpretentious guide to craft beer, and it's an example of truth in advertising. Routson isn't interested in showing you how knowledgeable she is or in making beer some saintly beverage that has to be treated with reverence.. Rather, she's interested in helping YOU become more knowledgeable, and "you" includes absolutely anyone who likes beer -- yes, even if you only like it casually. She also remembers that beer is FUN.There are a TON of guides to beer these days, and most cover the same ground. Basics on how beer is made, info on the core styles, tips on how to taste the nuances in your beer, serving suggestions, and more. This guide covers all that same territory you've seen in a dozen other books, but a few things set it apart,First is Routson's focus on beer history. This is a shortcoming in too many beer books, but she does a good job of succinctly explaining not just the differences between styles, but WHY certain styles ended up being brewed a certain way. That kind of historical context is not only important if you want a deeper understanding of craft beer, it's also just plain interesting.Second is her tone.
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