Beer: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best

Charles S. Finch, Author, Christopher Robin Finch, Author
Charles S. Finch, Author, Christopher Robin Finch, Author Abbeville Press $29.95 (183p) ISBN 978-0-89659-913-0
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
``Monotony . . . is the chief crime of the American brewing industry.'' Deploring the mass-produced, ``industrialized'' nature of popular American beers, syndicated beer columnist Finch introduces Americans to the variety of flavors, aromas and textures offered by beers brewed worldwide from essentially the same four ingredients (malted barley, water, hops and yeast). He describes the three major brewing traditions--venerable Anglo-Celtic ales, porters and stouts, made with top-fermenting yeasts; German and Czech lagers, made with yeasts that ferment at the bottom of the mash; and Belgian spontaneously fermented beers, with wheat in the mash--and characterizes the best imports of each style (Kulminator doppelbock is excessively ``sweet and syrupy''). Despite the failings of the American product (``Busch is about as ordinary as an ordinary beer can get''), not all native beer is eschewed: we are urged to patronize new independent American breweries, notably those on the West Coast. Illustrations range from schmaltz-soaked views of German beer gardens to amusing shots of a dignified Berlin cab driver saluting his horse with ``a goblet of Berliner Weiss.'' (June)
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