When I was in Cambridge for the cask ale festival last month I took a day to wander the city (photos here). During that wander, I happened upon a book store. Within that book store, a colorful book with a pint of beer on the front caught my eye. The title was instantly interesting to me, "Three Sheets to the Wind: One man's quest for the meaning of beer". Wow, sounds like just the book for me, right? Who wrote this?! "Pete Brown", eh? ... that name sounds familiar... where have I heard it before... hmmm...
OH YEAH... he was of course the guy who wrote "A man walks into a pub: a sociable history of beer", a book which I enjoyed a little too much (perhaps because reading it made me want to drink beer more than usual, or perhaps because it solidified my beer-nerdedness foundation even more). So I'm sold on this new book for sure.
I'll spare you a "full" book review for now, since I'm only 15/19ths done, aside from a quick synopsis: Pete travels the world's beer-drinkingest countries to examine the socio-cultural aspects of beer (the word 'socio-cultural' implies something boring, but this is arguably the most interesting socio-cultural thing that has ever existed). Pete's writing style is relaxed and informal, just like he was telling you a story while at the pub. Lots of humor (sometimes subtle, my favorite kind) and some excellent interesting observations of drinking culture around the world. There is a general theme that I love, which was presented in his last book as well... further confirmation that there are people out there that think about beer the way I do, as more than just an alcohol delivery method. A beverage that can (and should) taste good, that can bring people together for a chat, that can help remove the walls we put up around ourselves, that can help celebrate the wins... and mourn the losses. This book shows how people around the world do just this.
So unless the last 4/19ths of the book are shite, I will be recommending this to beer nerds everywhere (although I think its quite applicable to anybody in the general population too -- I'm certain to force my girlfriend to read it to understand what I think beer.. ."is").
Oh, and it turns out Pete Brown has a blog here.
And just because I can, here is a recent photo for no reason whatsoever:
Cast Iron Pan
57 minutes ago