Is beer the new wine?

The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia

By Sara Schwarz
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The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia

The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia

 

The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia produced by communications company, Scribal Publishing, taps into Australia’s growing love affair with craft brewing and leads me to wonder, is beer the new wine?

At first glance, the stylish black and tan cover of The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia impresses, but rather disappointingly gives way to a more catalogue or info-zine publication rather than than the quality reference book I was expecting.

Interestingly too, one of the first pages you come across promotes responsible drinking. A summary of which goes something like:

– it’s not a race, so taste, don't scull
– don’t drink and drive
– if you or someone close to you may have an issue with alcohol, contact X organisation

These are all very worthy points, however it strikes me as rather odd to include this upfront in a book celebrating craft brewing, and is something I’ve yet to see in any other alcohol-related book, magazine or commercial whether it be about beer, wine or spirits. Sure, some words of advice at the end could be appropriate, but it's a little too in-your-face for me.

The first 80 or so pages clearly aim to educate the reader and cover various beer related topics including:

  • what is beer
  • history of beer
  • craft beer revolution
  • tasting beer
  • beer and food
  • menu of beer styles


All are authored by a combination of professionals and interested amateurs and are well written but seem to lack consistency (given the different authorship) and tend to be a little long-winded for a book of this nature.

There is however a great photo which neatly sums up the ‘Craft Beer’ Revolution. It is of Coopers Brewery where row upon row of beer kegs along with some rather large storage tanks sit in neat contrast to a truck proudly bearing the banner ‘Hand-Made by The Cooper Family’.

Twenty-five pages of Australian Beer Brands gives you a feeling for the breadth of the industry today but under each brand, the book simply lists the product range on offer, alcohol strength, contact details and stockists, re-enforcing the catalogue image of this publication.

The remainder of the book covers over 100 breweries in greater depth with background information, contact details, range, images and where applicable open hours are included for each. These give the impression of being paid advertorials and again, while giving you an idea of the depth of the industry, the information isn’t particularly insightful or interesting. It may however help you discover what breweries are hidden away in your city, town or region. I actually discovered a namesake brewery in Sydney which I’ll be sure to visit at some point.

Perhaps useful for planning the ultimate beer lovers’ road trip, I feel there are better beer focused books and websites out there to be discovered.

Scribe Publishing looks set to release a Beer Lovers Guide app in the near future which may well be one to keep an eye out for. However, for my money the $34.95 RRP would be better spent on a couple of hand crafted six packs.

 

The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia by Scribe Publishing (Melbourne 2010; sc RRP A$34.95) is available from breweries, bars and bookstores. 

 

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October 15th, 2010
 
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