Yes, dear reader, another in the 500 series from Apple Press. I make no apology for its inclusion in this cookbook review journal because they are quite simply some of the best-value single-topic food and drink related books around.
Zak Avery has penned this particular volume and he is eminently qualified to do so. He has many years of experience as a beer retailer; he serves on the committee of the British Guild of Beer Writers and has won their highest award, that of Beer Writer of the Year for 2008.
Civilization owes a lot to beer. It’s considered the oldest of manufactured drinks with examples dating back to the pharaohs. Water was boiled and ingredients added with an end result being a much safer drink than the original, possibly unsafe, water. So, it’s almost a health food.
The last couple of decades have seen a renaissance in the beer industry. There is more choice with so many small brewers as well as beers from other countries. The drinking public has been exposed to diverse styles of beer from different brewing traditions. But, how do we know what might suit our particular palate? The simple answer is to try and make up your own mind. 500 Beers is a tool that will at least launch you in the direction of some beers which might be just right for you.
The book is divided by type of beer. English ale and British beer feature strongly but every other class of beery tipple is considered, from the famous Belgians to porter and stout, and brews of every persuasion along the way. It’s a beer-lover’s manual rather than being a tick-list for enthusiasts.
Zak doesn’t assume you have in-depth experience of imbibing. This isn’t a volume for beer swillers, it’s more for those who have a genuine interest in the craft. It concerns flavour rather than volume and 500 Beers even offers advice on tasting. Matching food with your chosen glassful is also touched upon as are all aspects of the brewing process.
Each one of the 500 beers included in this collection has its style, its country of origin, description, percentage of alcohol, serving temperature, and colour listed. There is a scale which indicates if the beer is full-bodied or light and you’ll even learn a little beer history. Lots of beers and lots of information.
500 Beers is an ideal book for those who would like to learn more about this beverage in all its guises. It’s a tome to take on city breaks, to be your companion when you visit bars in Belgium or pubs in Poland. Linger over that pint (probably half-litre) and understand a little more about that liquid anointing your gums. Great value for money.
Author: Zak Avery
Published by: Apple Press
Food and Drink book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018