The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer
Christina Perozzi, Hallie Beaune
Perigee Trade (1st edition) USA: 2009
Christina Perozzi goes by the Twitter name of @BeerChick. Hallie Beaune could as well.Together, they've written 2009's newest beer book: The Naked Pint. Nothing groundbreaking here; history of beer, zymurgy 101, beer styles, beer terminology, beer cookery, homebrewing. They include a nice appendix of resources.
Their mantra is simple: "Beer is good." It's the approach they take in the book —introducing neophytes to beer, minus any haughtiness— and that's the strength of the book.
Alan McLeod at A Good Beer Blog has found just the right turn of phrase to describe this approach:
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. [Charlie Papazian, among other things, is the author of several how-to-homebrew books.]
Rather than throwing all the world's beer styles at you (of which there are 140(!), according to the Brewers Association), they ask what at what stage of beer discovery you are, and offer suggestions. For example, for the person who doesn't like the taste of beer, they suggest fruit-flavored wheat beers:
No, no, no! We don't want that reaction! We don't want you to like this beer because it doesn't taste like beer! We want you to love this beer because it's representative of the variety of beer flavors that exist, the imagination that brewers have, and the skill with which they apply their knowledge and art. We've said it before and we'll say it again: There is a beer out there for every person, even the haters. There are beers that "don't taste like beer" but do indeed taste like beer. [emphasis mine: right on sisters!].
In addition to "The Neophyte" (for which are suggested many other non-fruit beers), the other 'categories' are "The Sophomore," "The Devout," and "The Promiscuous." For the last group, the authors recommend beers such as 'imperial stouts,' sour beers, bitter beers, and 'extreme' styles.
Bubbling up from just below the surface is the authors' reach out to a large group of potential beer drinkers who have been understandably put off by macho descriptions and male marketing of beer, including even (and sometimes, especially) those of the 'craft beer' ambit. As Chris O'Brien put it: putting the ale back in female.
The Naked Pint might be best for those just beginning to learn about beer. But you know, I thoroughly enjoyed the book myself.
- Caveat emptor: I received a complimentary press copy (read: free) at a book signing in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Beer Wholesalers Association. The event included a demonstration of the versatility of beer with food. Perozzi and Beaune —and a local chef— paired 5 beers with 'small plates, ' ranging from fried risotto balls to flour-less chocolate brownies. "We want to de-mystify beer education," they told us, using terminology all can understand, rather than jargon: butter rather than diacetyl, chocolatey, grassy, etc.
- The Naked Pint is also available as an ebook for the Kindle: here.
Not everyone liked the book."It's easy to like" but with some technical problems. Here's another opinion.
This is another in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.
This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.
12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the entire list here.