I recently had a chance to examine in depth, two classic books on beer, namely THE BEER TASTER’S LOG by James D. Robertson, and THE POCKET GUIDE TO BEER by Michael Jackson. Both of these works are exhaustive examinations on the worthy subject, and as the beer doctor, I am in awe of the comprehensive love for the product shown by both men, traveling across the world in a continuous search. I mean what could be better: The Beer Hound and The Beer Hunter!
Of course the beer world is always changing, so much of the information provided is now obsolete. Robertson’s complete coverage of all beers in America includes reviews from breweries that no longer exist. Brands and labels that I have not seen in years are given coverage. The Beer Hound’s log is very thorough. His favorite beer in the entire world is listed as Andechs Doppelbock.
Michael Jackson’s Pocket Guide (7th edition) is a wonderful running commentary on all things beer. For example, did you know that yeast from Spaten brewery was used to make the first Carlsberg lager in Copenhagen? The tiny publication is full of fascinating gems of brewing history. Also, Mr. Jackson as beer enthusiast leaps right off the page. When he says: “Within the extraordinarily colourful tapestry of Belgian brewing,” you can be sure he is excited about revealing his discoveries.
Both Robertson and Jackson mention beers still available to this day. Mendocino Brewing’s Eye Of The Hawk is referred to as a “big lusty brew” by the Hound, and “a malty ale” by the Hunter. But much of course has already passed into brew history: failed microbreweries, failed craft brands by regional breweries, and macro brewed experiments that simply flopped.
For a more recent and thoroughly entertaining book there is Garrett Oliver’s THE BREWMASTER’S TABLE. Written by the Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster, this is a very knowledgeable account of pairing real beer with real food. Of special interest is his friendship with Schneider and Sohn brewery of Germany, brewers of the world famous dunkle weizenbock known as Aventinus. There is a full color photograph of Georg Schneider IV, holding a glass of Schnider Weiss.
Mr. Oliver offers his opinions on brews he is quite fond of. For example, he prefers Hennepin over Ommegang’s flagship brand. But like the previously mentioned gentlemen, Garrett Oliver’s enthusiasm is contagious. His pairings with food is incredibly impressive, but also his all around ability to put this stuff into cultural context. This book is for beer, what the LES HALLES COOKBOOK by Anthony Bourdain was for the kitchen: a classic.
One thing is apparent from all three of these books: great beer can be found all over the world.
“Like people, beers do not choose the countries in which they are born.”
Michael Jackson

Thank You. The Beer Doctorbeer.jpg



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