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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: Mssrs. Beaumont & Webb

Mssrs. Beaumont & Webb (03)

Quad is NOT a style!” insisted Stephen Beaumont, as he and Tim Webb presented the just-released edition of their new book —Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers— to a 50+ filled room (attendance, not all demographics), upstairs at the Brick Store Pub, in Decatur, Georgia, on 14 November 2017.

Among many beery accomplishments, Tim Webb is also the author of The Good Beer Guide Belgium, first published in 1992, and now in its 7th edition (the latter co-authored in 2014 with Joe Stange). The 8th edition is scheduled for release in spring 2018; in fact, Webb was working on the final revisions during this America trip. Sadly, it will be his last update to the series.

Stephen Beaumont, in his own words, has been ...
lucky enough to have spent the last 25 or so years sipping and savouring beers and spirits all around the world, and getting paid to write and talk about it. Along the way, I’ve managed to author or co-author ten books, beginning with the first of two editions of The Great Canadian Beer Guide back in 1994. [...] Among my other books, I’m extremely proud of The World Atlas of Beer, which I co-wrote with Tim Webb and has now been printed in eleven international editions in nine languages.

In previous editions, Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World’s Beers had been entitled The Pocket Guide to Beer. This was both because that is what the books had been and because, to some degree, Messrs. Webb and Beaumont wrote them as an homage to the late beer writer, Michael Jackson, who had begun the Pocket Beer series in 1986.

For the 2017 edition, the authors have retitled and re-tooled the book to include fewer beer reviews. And why is that?
Our own very conservative estimate places the global brewery total at over 20,000, but it is likely that there are many more than that. [...] The worldwide count of regular beers is fast closing on a quarter-million, and when one-offs are included, doubtless well beyond it. [...]

So, you might ask, why create a book that features even fewer beers? The answer is focus. Rather than attempt to deliver a cross-section of breweries spanning the globe, we have assembled a carefully selected group of what we firmly believe are the best minds in beer [listed at the back of the book] and tasked them to deliver detailed reviews of the absolute best beers their native lands have to offer. Not the most talked about or rarest or the most obscure, but simply the finest ales and lagers and mixed-fermentation beers that eager enthusiasts might actually be able to get their hands on. Star ratings have been dispensed with because all the beers we have featured are at the top of their class.

That evening in Georgia, the audience was served anecdotes and appetizers, cheeses and full plates, and six beers, too (but no quadrupels). The presentation was recorded; at some point, I'll post a transcription, including Beaumont's quad rant and Webb's saison rant. In the meantime, here is another, less 'artistic' view of Mr. Webb (left) and Mr. Beaumont (right):

Mssrs. Webb & Beaumont (01)

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