Book Review – Australia’s Best Beers

Tipples has never really been much of an academic pursuit. Beer is not really thought of as inspiring great literature , but there are an increasing amount of books on my book shelf at home which in some way or another at connected to beer, and unlike many of the books I own, I’ve actually got around to reading some of them.

Clearly you dear reader are capable of reading text and comprehending basic sentences so I thought why not introduce a few reviews to the site, so on those days when you don’t feel like following my drinking advice you can follow my reading advice instead. .

First cab of the rank is an obvious choice – Australia’s Best Beers.

Now the beer fuelled interwebs was almost in meltdown when this tome was released nigh on six weeks ago. In a display of clever marketing the publishers drip feed us the top 12 beers in the 12 days leading up to release, and no doubt to the PR company’s delight there was a fair bit of internet chatter surrounding the choices. I resisted the urge to say that Stone & Wood is a massively overrated beer and thus unworthy of the number 1 spot (Oops looks like I ruined the ending)

But is the book any good? Well it’s not brilliant.

I love the idea. They found 39 beer experts (although how expert they can be I’m not sure as only 5 of them have beards) and got them to list their top 50 beers of the year, they then collected the votes and came up with top 100.

This would be fun discussion to have in a pub, maybe even on the internet, but I’m not sure it makes for great reading as such. The information on each beer although interesting is a little light on, with one paragraph from the brewer (sometimes just what’s on the label) and then a paragraph from one of the judges on why it’s a good beer.

The book is really more of a reference guide (kind of like a Good Food Guide, but not as exhaustive) rather than a read in one sitting type of book. I was interested in seeing what was included (and what wasn’t) and barracking for my favourite brewers, it has also given me some ideas of new brews to seek out, so I guess it’s done its job.

It also analyses the list to within an inch of its life, like a football fan pouring over the stats on a Sunday morning to relive the win from the day before – I have a feeling that this stats section would appeal to many a beer geek out there, and certainly to Victorian Beer geeks as we make up 40% of the top 100, and 35% of the nominated brews and 30% of the breweries proving that Victoria really is the home of craft beer in Australia.

More interesting than the stats though is a little section tacked on at the back about beer service – this stresses how important the way you serve the beer is, from temperatures (Aussie serve everything way too cold) glass choice (it’s a shame old man handles don’t get a run) and how to pour a beer (head is a good thing, but hey I think we all knew that).

Is it worth picking up? Yeah, Is it a great read – Not really, but there are a few nuggets of information here and there which will keep you coming back to check it time and time again – Now what temperature should my London Porter be at?

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