I get lots of lovely emails. Many are about people wanting me to talk about their beer related products. Some are from people who want to place ads. But once in a while I get an email from someone who wants to know where they can get a good beer like Sergio from Brescia, Italy who wrote:
We are going to travel in the following states: Colorado, Utah, California, Arkansas, Texas for most of the time, but also Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois and Nevada. I write to you because I'm searching for a Beer Guide for our trip, but I'm in trouble trying to choose one of the dozens of USA beer giudes. In fact, and quite obviously, most of the guides are of a specifical state or a specifical area, but I'm going to spend my trip between campings and a van and so I would prefere not to deal with many books. I saw you had reviewed Steve Thomas' Good Beer Guide Germany. Well, this one is my perfect book: I'm not searching for beer reviews, lots of pictures ecc; I'm searching for an analytic book, like the one of Steve Thomas is.
Turns out Sergio just graduated in philosophy at the University of Milan with a master degree in Logic (Set Theory). He's 26 and a rock climber whose travels in Europe have found a way to combining grappeling with boulders and good German beers. I asked him to tell me more about himself and his relationship with beer and received a great reply including this passage:
I have been a beer lover since the first time I tasted my first beer, but before I tasted my first Franconian beer it has been just a research for the true love. Now I have found it! Being a beer lover in Italy is frustrating: everything rings around wine and the only options if you like beer are: going to one of the many Irish pubs...but every pub serve the same beers (Guiness, Kilkenny, Harp...bla bla bla); going to a so-called German beer-house...but here beers come from giant breweries such as Kulmbacher, Paulaner, Augustiner ecc, and are usually tapped in 10 seconds and super cold...mmmm; buy the usual Belgian beers at your local drink shop or order them on the web. Follow the new Italian microbreweries scene, but I'm very disappointed about it: it is very hyped, prices are crazy and the beers are absolutely not my style...speaking about beer I'm conservative and it seems that italian brewers are interested in making the strongest/strangest/xyz-est beers instead of good and drinkable beers, which are not so easy to make...but it's just my opinion. I have passed all these stages untill my first visit to Franconia The first time I went there was two two years ago for a two weeks bouldering trip (Franconia or Frankenjura is also one of the world's finest climbing destinations). And since that visit I have been to Franconia for other 4 times...I have been there for two weeks this March and I'm writing you while drinking a bottled Meister Vollbier, from Unterzaunsbach's Meister Bräu.
A guy who likes good quality non-flash beer? That's my kind of beer fan. My first reaction is that I am not particularly well acquainted with the states he mentions. The easiest area for me to make recommendations would be Illinois as I bet there is plenty of web information about the Chicago area. He is heading too far east to make use of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide West Coast USA although that does certainly have California and Nevada covered. But what else does Sergio need to help him through his travels? Any ideas? Not just in terms of books but destinations? Keep in mind his plans are not urban: "I'm not a city-person so I'm going to visit remote places and parks like Rocky Mountains National Park, Joe's Valley, Moe's Valley, Ibex (Utah), California's parks, Idaoh, Wyoming, Ozarks (Arkansas), Chattanooga's woods, Texas again, Flagstaff (Arizona) and lots more." That is a bit of an interesting puzzle. Can we help Sergio out?