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A unique book on beer in that if focuses exclusively on the best in beer the elite premium brands in an attractive, well illustrated format. The book offers reviews, ratings, food suggestions and descriptions
|Publisher:||Firefly Books, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Stephen Beaumont is a leading international authority on beer. The author of four books, his writings on beer regularly appears in such publications as the Globe and Mail, Saveur, Food & Drink, SMOKE, Wine X, Wine Enthusiast, P.O.V., Malt Advocate, and his own monthly on-line beer magazine, Stephen Beaumont's World of Beer at www.worldofbeer.com.
Read an Excerpt
From "AN INTRODUCTION TO PREMIUM BEER"
Premium Beer Defined
When I began drinking beer in the 1970s, the hierarchy of North American brews was pretty simple: there were regular beers and premium beers. The regular ones were those major-brewery products that we drank on a day-to-day basis, while the premium brands were the slightly more alcoholic offerings from those same breweries, the ones we ordered when we felt like going out on a limb. Imports were as scarce as well-hopped ales; and save for one or two offerings from the better regional breweries, craft-brewed beers were virtually nonexistent.
Immediately following the start of the craft-brewing renaissance - that wonderful period in the mid- 1980s when a wave of small breweries sprang up, producing small-batch beers full of flavor and replete with character - things did change but only slightly. Pretty much abandoning the premium beer segment to this new wave of microbreweries, the majors continued to fight for the ordinary beer market among themselves. Meanwhile, the trickle of imported brews slowly built itself up into a steady stream.
Today, the face of the beer market on the North American continent bears little resemblance to that of my earliest days as a beer enthusiast. Brands once thought of as ordinary have been reclassified as premium; those once viewed as premium have become known as superpremium or extrapremium; low-cost brews have flooded the market, putting price pressure on the beers of other categories; what we knew as microbrewery beers are now called craft-brewed beers and range dramatically in quality, style and price; and that steady stream of imports has become a raging torrent. It's no wonder that for many, beer shopping has become as intimidating a prospect as wine buying or car shopping.
Which is wrong. As complex and distinguished a drink as it may be, beer has never been a pretentious beverage. Relaxing, sociable and flavorful, yes; pompous, elitist and incomprehensible, never. Beer has always been class unconscious, the drink of princes and paupers alike, enjoyed as much by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt as by the laborers of pre-Industrial England. It is for after work in Japan and for breakfast in Germany; for warming bones chilled by winter in Sweden and for slaking thirsts brought on by the midday sun in Australia; for celebrations with friends in America and for relaxing with the family in Belgium. In short, beer is the everyday drink for the everyday person.
And premium beer, true premium beer, is the special-occasion drink for those same everyday people. That is the only useful definition of a "premium" beer and the only one that matters. It applies equally to a domestic beer, an import or the product of a brewpub and that of a megabrewing corporation. A premium beer is a special kind of beer that offers you an experience well beyond what you expect out of drinking a beer. Period.
These are the beers that you will find in this book: special beers, ones that stimulate your senses and challenge your perceptions and, above all else, make a bold statement in your glass. Premium beers are not the ones that finance brewing conglomerates or whose names trip easily off the tongues of beer drinkers around the world, but they are the ones that can and often do make a brewery's reputation. They are also the beers that brewers create for the love of the art of brewing, and the ones that we drink because we appreciate that art and will go out of our way to taste its excellence.
There is nothing wrong with a well-made pilsner or a terrifically flavorful amber ale, but those beers will not be mentioned on the following pages because, as good as they are, they are our ordinary, everyday beers. The styles and brands that you will meet in this book are the crème de la crème of the brewing industry worldwide, those beers that either speak to a proud history of brewing or are representative of the modern brewer's creativity at its best. They are the big beers: big in flavor, big in character, big in intensity and frequently big in alcohol. You could call them super-extra-premium or the premier grand crus of the beer world, but I prefer to just call them what they are: truly premium beers
Table of ContentsPreface / Acknowledgments
AN INTRODUCTION TO PREMIUM BEER
- Premium Beer Defined
- The Making of a Premium Beer
- The Myth of the Reinheitsgebot
- Domestic vs. Imported: The Truth about Premium Beer
- Premium Beer at the Table
- A Final Word about Premium Beer
- Matching Beer and Food
- Key to the Classics
WHERE THE WILD YEASTS ARE
- Lambic and Gueuze
- Fruit Lambic
- Flemish Red and Brown Ales
WHY NOT WHEAT?
- White Beer
HOPS GOOD, MORE HOPS BETTER
- North American Pale Ale
- India Pale Ale
BOCK To BASICS
FROM THE WOOD
- Cask-Conditioned Best Bitter
- Cask-Conditioned Strong Ale
- Cask-Flavored Ales
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
- Scotch Ale
- Imperial Stout
- Strong Stout and Porter
- Abbey-Style Ale
DEVILS IN DISGUISE
- Bière de Garde and Saison
- Strong Golden Ale
BEERS FOR THE CELLAR
- Barley Wine
- English Old Ale
- Trappist Ale
NOT YOUR AVERAGE BREW
- Rauchbler and Other Smoked Malt Beers
- Strange Grains
- Peated Malt Beer
BEERS BEYOND THE NORM
- Fruit Beers
- Spiced Beers
- Mulling Beers
Festival and Seasonal Beers
The Premium Beer Drinker's Quick Guide