Oh the irony...
I remember when I was a kid, spinning a globe, closing my eyes and sticking my finger on some random destination and dreaming about what it would be like there. 9 times out of 10 it would be in the middle of the ocean so the obvious answer would be wet but occasionally I would fantasise (I knew how to entertain myself!) about weird and wonderful places I would never visit. When the globe wasn’t to hand, my Dad’s map book offered similar delights and I was intrigued by romantic sounding destinations such as Barnet or Biggleswade.
Such wonder and awe was similar when the World Atlas of Beer was delivered. Far flung places, more out of my reach than ever before, ever more mystical and unobtainable.
A dodgy pale ale
This third edition has been completely revised and updated by authors Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont. It is so up to date that the former refers to COVID in his foreword and the latter in his introduction. I would like to think I know a reasonable amount about beer and not just because of the first hand experience I have of consuming it but also because of the many brewers, writers and experts I have been lucky enough to meet over the years. With this book, whether you have a casual interest in the history, origins or ingredients of beer, or if you think you already know your stuff, then there is definitely something for everybody who loves a pint. It is beautifully and clearly written which makes a pleasant change to some books on the subject that I have read that can be about as clear as a dodgy pale ale.
I was delighted to see one of my local haunts Café Beermoth, in Webb’s top ten global beer drinking destinations. Others include places such as Paris, São Paulo, Montreal and Burton-upon-Trent. As you delve into each continent and country, you are given a detailed description of what each region has to offer, perfectly supported by facts, figures and superb photography.
So good to hear
I absolutely love the beer and food section which has a great pairing table and again cuts through some of the crap you will have read elsewhere. In just a few pages, there is more valuable information than I have read in a whole book previously. A constant irritant is when such a pleasurable and enjoyable experience is turned into a confusing, irrelevant and often patronising diatribe. As one section states, ‘Don’t forget; always pair first for pleasure’. Perfect, refreshing advice.
As we get dragged kicking and screaming into Tier 3 lockdown in Greater Manchester, the World Atlas of Beer is the equivalent of a Hans Christian Anderson story right now. Unable to venture into a pub in my own City (unless it serves a ‘substantial’ meal - whatever that means!) I have about as much chance of sampling a Sinha Stout in Sri Lanka as I had of visiting the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during my globe spinning days. But this book will keep me entertained and informed until we are able to travel further afield at which point it will definitely be the perfect reference source for the ultimate world wide pub crawl.
Published by Octopus books