The Beer Enthusiast's Guide: Tasting and Judging Brews from Around the World

Gregg Smith, Author
Gregg Smith, Author Storey Books $12.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-88266-838-3
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The recent surge of interest in specialty beers and beer-making has brewed a potful of new books on the subject. Smith is one of a handful of new-brew experts making a name for themselves by writing for the regional brewing newspapers, such as Ale Street News , Barleycorn and New Brewer. His guide is a good introduction for anyone who wants to taste new beers and learn some standards by which to judge them. There are none of the homebrewers' recipes that many brewing books have, but the book overflows with information about the brewing process, how to classify unknown beers and how to become certified as a judge for tastings. Clear and useful charts appraise the color, taste and body of beers; two appendices list U.S. brewpubs and microbreweries, and homebrewing supply stores. Unfortunately, the organization of the text makes some of this information hard to find. For instance, Chapter 6, ``Preparing for the BJCP Exam,'' doesn't explain what the Beer Judge Certification Program (of the American Homebrewers Association and Home Wine and Beer Trade Association) is until 12 pages into the chapter. One often has the feeling of having missed the meat of a section, only to find the missing information in another chapter. The best advice is: keep reading, the information is there. (Mar.)
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