Monday, March 21, 2011

The Naked Pint, by Christina Perozzi & Hallie Beaune

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The first beer I ever sneaked a sip of? Budweiser. I was something like two years old, and since then, my tastes have gone nowhere but up.

I proclaimed myself a beer snob well before I was legally allowed to drink in the United States. (Hey, come on. I spent a semester in England when I was twenty. And even then I preferred Nelson's Revenge to the nationally distributed Carling.) But I didn't know the first thing about beer, or the process of making it, or the meanings behind all these different varieties. I just knew what I liked, and what I sort of liked, and what I didn't like. And really, still, that's all that matters.

But I'm seldom satisfied sticking with a "just because" type of answer when it relates to something I'm passionate about. And I am passionate about beer. I've begun attempting to pair brews with meals, with seasons, with memories. I compulsively check the label on the neck of each brown bottle I hold. And yet, I developed these habits without knowing precisely what makes a pilsner different than a blonde, or what Centennial hops even means.

This book helped me decode all those aspects of beer. Am I now an expert? Heck no. But I probably know more than three quarters of my fellow patrons in each bar I enter. And I have to be clear: that doesn't make me more passionate about beer than they are, and it doesn't make me any better a beer drinker. We all still know what we like, and what we don't like. But now I know, for my own self-gratification, much more about the nuances involved in the brewing process--ingredients, temperatures, types of yeast, regional specialties--than I ever could have guessed.

For me, that makes beer drinking even more fun. And that's saying something.


  1. Are you sure this doesn't make you an expert... beer drinker? I would respect you more... jk ;)

  2. I have always been a fan of books like these: Educational and well written. They take a subject you already like and broaden your understanding, your appreciation, and thereby heighten your enjoyment. On the flip side, perhaps what you liked about this book is how it made you more conscious of what you put down your pie-hole...a theme I'm sure I've seen before on this blog (Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.