I got my review copy of The Naked Pint by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune the other day. Didn't get twelve emails telling me to get it, either. Didn't get co-opted into the battle against big beer or nuttin'. I just sent Christina a message by Twitter and there it was. So civilized.
I like this book and one reason I do is that it reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Yachtsman's Week-end Book published in 1938. Although my copy is the 1963 reprint, it harkens to a day when a book could purport to be an omnibus filled with everything you practically need to know to get from novice to pretty well capable. You have boaty songs, boaty knots and a Dutch, English, French, German and Norwegian laced table of handy boaty terminology. It tells you how to make meals in everything from a gentle breeze to a force nine hurricane. Hard drinks for old salts, bird watching tips, and a guide to the stars in the sky - it's all in there.
The Naked Pint doesn't have the songs, birds or the Portuguese word for east-south-east but it has a heck of a lot jammed into 321 pages. Organized to take you from the novice to the expert-like, it gives a brief history of brewing, an introduction to the ingredients as well as home brewing, recipes, recommended starters library, clever sidebar anecdotes as well as a basic guide to beer bar etiquette. I quite like this last one as it places the consumption of beer in context of the reader - something many beer books don't do. While there are recommendations as to key style examples there is also a cross-concordance of beers to try under themes like iconic, rare and balanced.
Well written and breezy, perhaps in the Papazian way but without all that freaky magic mushroomy stuff. I like it. This is a book for beer nerds to give their friends. It will tell the friends a lot about good beer but it will also tell them a lot about their odd wee beer nerd pal. And, best of all, it won't even hint you may want to mix Scotch, vermouth and white curacao with a good squeeze of lemon juice to foist upon your boaty pals as a jug of "Antofagasta" as you practice your Danish harbouring phrases.