So, this is the second time I have mentioned it – but The Beer Lover’s Guide to Australia turned up in my mail today. You’d have to expect me to say nice things given I edited it – so take that for granted and dismiss as necessary – but I had nothing to do with the design and layout, just the words and I reckon it looks superb. Again take that as you see fit.
If you want an idea of what it’s about, apart from being a beer lover’s guide to Australia, I have reprinted by introduction to it below. It’s probably the best summary of this year’s edition, as well as giving an idea of the task that the contributors were set. As for the contributors, their names sell themselves. Kirrily Waldhorn, Pete Mitcham and Ian Watson all penned essays making sense of beer and giving it context, while beer writing competition winner Nathan Costello sees his first piece in print with a great yarn.
It’s out this Thursday, look out for it at bars, bottleshops and bookstores.
Beer in Australia is rapidly changing. Actually, perhaps it is more accurate to say that our attitudes to beer are changing – beer is as it always has been: the most sociable of beverages, relaxed and friendly and, for the most part, a drink of moderation.
However, at some point in our search for refreshment we forgot that beer can also have flavour; in our desire for beer to maintain its place as the true egalitarian in the world of food and wine, we also ignored that it can still scrub up, don a suit or ball dress and rise to any occasion, all while maintaining its essence of unpretentious sociability.
It is this that is starting to change. Aided by a new generation of brewers who refuse to be constrained by the limits of what we expect from beer, Australians are becoming more aware that they can, in turn, expect a little more from it.
In the second edition of the Beer Lover’s Guide to Australia, we wanted to go beyond the history and basic ingredients of beer and look at our perceptions of it and how these are changing. In a book about beer destinations, we wanted to look at beer journeys – not just ones that involve a map but also journeys in style and flavour.
We set out to challenge notions that only wine and whisky are drinks worth travelling to enjoy at the source; perceptions that beer is a beverage mainly for blokes, and the belief that the best beers are ones that are cold, crisp and able to be consumed by the carton.
We set out to do this while retaining beer’s inherent sense of humour, because you should always take beer seriously, but never yourself. It would be a tragedy if, in appreciating beer more, we ever reached the stage that people became too scared to order the beer they wanted to drink, lest they be judged on their selection. We’ll leave that to wine.
With beer, drink widely and drink well; drink less but drink better!