Ben Franklin's adage that "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," has never been truer.
The last 20 years has seen a renaissance of artisan brewing in the United States that not only has matched European legacy styles in quality but gone beyond them in sheer creativity.
Unfortunately, many Americans still don't realize just how good beer can taste. Those who've heard are faced with far too many choices from upwards of 1,400 domestic breweries, not to mention quality imports, a chore made all the more difficult by the millions spent on advertising by the country's large industrial producers.
Finally, a book cuts through the cacophony.
By using The Beer Guide
by RateBeer.com (Savory House Press/Nov. 10, 2006/$9.95/ISBN 1-892588-16-1), Americans will never order a disappointing ale or lager again. The reviews are based on tens of thousands of ratings by lovers of full-flavored beers. A consensus score of one to five stars reflects the vast RateBeer.com community's take on foreign and domestic suds sold in the United States.
No other guide has covered so many ales and lagers – more than 2,700. Descriptions by Rate.Beer's 30,000 members were painstakingly selected by the website's long-time editor, Josh Oakes.
Included are handy food-to-beer and beer-to-food pairing guides by award-winning beer writer Stan Hieronymus, along with a glossary explaining the characteristics major beer styles.
Drinkers of craft brews have known for years what's only now being discovered by the general public that beer often complements food better than do many wines. Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver has won numerous challenges in his pairing matchoffs with chefs predisposed toward wine.
No other guide comes close to covering so many beers. And it's value priced, and sized, to fit any pocket book. The Beer Guide is perfect for the beer geeks on anyone's gift list.
Available through Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com
and select beer shops.