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The World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World    by Tim Webb & Stephen Beaumont order for
World Atlas of Beer
by Tim Webb
Order:  USA  Can
Sterling, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Starting to think about holiday gifts? Here's a coffee table volume for the beer lover on your list ... The World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World by Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont. Their Foreword begins, 'Wine may accompany dinner and fine whisky a good book, but beer always seems to go better with life. Yet as with any companion, it should be chosen well and properly understood.'

They tell us their aim is 'to provide the uninitated with an introduction to the best of modern brewing against a backdrop of its history and provenance, and to offer more seasoned beer travellers an opportunity to take stock after an eventful period of renaissance for the world's favourite alcoholic drink.' They go on to address The Nature of Beer (origins; brewing; styles; buying, serving, storing, serving, pouriong and tasting beer; and beer with food).

Next (the major portion of the book) is The World of Beer, taking us from Europe to the Americas, Australia, New Zealand & the Far East, and to Emerging Markets like China. The authors discuss more than five hundred great beers, ending on a 'selection of the best and the most famous' beer festivals around the world. For each region, color photographs and maps of the area are included as well as enticing beer labels and bar scenes.

Here's an example of their description of a Quebec beer I've tried (Maudite, 8%): 'Arguably one of the most influential beers in Québec craft-brewing history, this dark, Belgian-inspired ale offers an off-dry mix of earthy chocolate, dried fruitiness, and coriander-led spice.' Have to admit that my own taste buds are not that subtle, but I did enjoy this rather strong and heady beer!

This is a comprehensive and fascinating volume that any beer drinker will appreciate, especially one who likes to try beers from different parts of the world. Whether you sip from its pages from time to time, or imbibe its contents in one long gulp, The World Atlas of Beer is filled with flavor.

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