Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekend Cooking...99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall..

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, Ninety-nine bottles of beer.
Take one down, pass it around, Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall.

I have always, yes always, had a certain fondness for beer.

Yet me share a story told in my family about wee Caite and beer.
I can tell it now, since it is too late to call Child Protective Services.

My father used to come home from work, and like many fathers of that time, pour themselves a before-dinner drink. In his case, the beverage of choice was beer.
He would pour his beer in a glass, sit down in his favorite chair, place his beer on the floor and open his newspaper. On this particular occasion, after a few minutes, he reaches down for his beer to find an empty glass.
What could have happened to it?
Wee Caite, about 3 or 4 years of age, had drunk it!
For some reason my mother found that story very funny although I doubt she found it too amusing at the time.

Worry not.
There appears to have been no damage.
I grew up to be a very, very moderate drinker.
But I still like beer. Wine is fine, but beer is better!
I mean real beer. Not the watery swill that many Americans favor. No, no Bud or Miller for me and do not even mention the word Lite next to beer. Just go all out and throw some ice cubes in there so you can serve it so cold that you can't taste it anyway.
Oh, don't get me started!!

So when I read about this book,  The World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World by Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of it.
And I am very happy that I did.
If you are a fan of beer, or know someone who appreciates beer in all its many varieties, this is a book that will be enjoyed. 256 pages, 450 photos, 28 maps and lots and lots of beer fun await you in these pages.

The authors start with a short discussion of what beer is, how it is made and the wide, wide variety of the styles of beer. From which I learned that most attempts to classify a beer by variety is almost impossible, there are so many variations.

Then they go on to the heart of the book, a region by region, country by country, exploration of    beers. There are maps, with breweries marked, beautiful photographs, and descriptions of hundreds of beers. I am considering moving to Belgium because there is no other way to try all the beers of that country. The history of many beers is fascinating, as is the discussions of the rising role of the small craft breweries, helping to keeping the Mega-breweries at bay and the more unusual styles of beer available for the average beer drinker to try.

They throw in many fun beer facts too. There is a very detailed explanation, with photos, of how to pour beer, what glass to use with which beer, a short beer/food pair up suggestions and a list of some of the best beer festivals worldwide, just in case you are planning a beer based vacation trip. Do you know beer should always be stored upright, even bottles with corks, because it seems once again beer get shorted, with lesser quality corks that  may damage the taste of the beer.
Well, I could go on and one because there is an amazing amount of beer information in this book.

And did I mention that this is a beautiful book? Yes, I did, but it bears repeating. This is a very attractive book that will take you on a tour of the world, granted from a beer lovers point of view.

a few bottles of beer at my local store..there is another whole aisle.

..and some chilled if you just can not wait.
Still, even if your beer purchases go on further than the local liquor store you will find this book helpful. Gone are the days when they carried only a few major brands and maybe a local favorite. I suspect my local story in not unusual, with several aisles and many coolers filled beers from around the world.

Which lead me to my only issue with this book.
A major flaw.
My favorite major brewery beer (as opposed to a craft beer) is one brewed in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, quite near the small coal mining town my maternal grandparents were from. The beer is Yuengling, brewed in Pottsville, PA and their traditional lager is a quite nice beer. And let  Yuengling, a very popular beer here in South Jersey, get only one sentence in the book and they misspell the name in that one.

Yuengling is a fine beer, brewed in the oldest brewery in the United States, family owned and operated by the fifth generation, recently became the 20th most popular beer in the US and has surpassed Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer Co. as the largest domestically owned beer brewer in the country.
And they get only one misspelled sentence in this book??

Still, nothing, even an excellent book about beer, is perfect.
But this one is very good, so I will forgive them.
However, if there is a second edition......

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Hi Caite, I love beer too. Especially with some Maryland steamed crabs. YUM! I have tried Yuengling and other beers. I also enjoy the Corona brand. Sounds like an interesting book. Have a great weekend!

  2. No piss-water for the Nawrots either. We are particularly fond of the Polish beers, which now you can get at Total Wine (before we had to traipse to the Polish deli on the other side of town). Too bad you don't live closer to Bermudaonion, you could help support their Crafted beer store!

  3. I loved this one too. And I noticed that Yuengling thing. Because we consider it kind of our local beer we tend to forget to buy it in favor of craft beers or European beers. I used to think that I hated beer -- then I tasted real beer and had an awakening.

  4. When I was reading Eat the City, a book about NYC and food, I was astonished to learn that beer was partially responsible for Prohibition! Beer was the preferred beverage of Germans, Germans were the enemy, and beer halls were where Germans gathered. Prohibit alcohol and Germans can't gather together, was the idea.


  5. Well, in spite of being a German, I thoroughly dislike beer, but I love your review and the pictures anyway, :). I find the name of the Yuengling beer interesting as it probably is a misspelling of the German word J√ľngling, they might have spelled it that way so that is it pronounced how it should be - maybe.
    BTW, my post today is about one of your recipes that you posted last year. LOVED it!

    1. Have to check that out!
      ..and so sorry about the beer hatred. Lol

  6. I prefer ale to lager, in general, but agree with you about Budweiser, Miller, etc.! Haven't tried Yuengling, and will have to look for it. It looks like it has a nice, dark color! We had fun taking a tour of the Sam Adams brewery in Boston a few years ago, and I learned a lot of stuff about making beer and ale which I promptly forgot. I could get a refresher from this book.

    1. I love brewery tours. The Budweiser one in St. Louis is great, even if the beer is rotten.

  7. that is a funny story-I must say I despise beer-I am not a fan of anything carbonated but I do not like the taste at all-I wish I did as when you are in a 3rd world country there is always a cold beer.

  8. Funny story! My brother-in-law loves beer and would love this book. The only time I drink beer is on a really hot summer evening... or a beach vacation.

  9. Enjoyed your story and this does sound like a beautiful book. I do hope if there is a second edition the publisher considers your objection. :)

  10. The World Atlas of beer sounds like a great way for me to learn more about the craft while sampling some good beer to go along with it! Great Story! Thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

  11. I want to read this. It looks like a fun book and I love the story you shared with it.

  12. We love beer as well, especially when travelling and trying out different local beers. We are beer snobs as well and refuse to drink the large breweries as well and will hunt out local small breweries.

  13. Interesting post. Have a super week.

    PS Your header is showing up a bit funny - did you change it or has Blogger played up?

  14. I was a beer drinker in college but put it aside for fruitier or stronger fare as I got older...until I drank my first pint of Guinness atop the Guinness factory in Ireland. Don't give me any of that watered down stuff either. It's just not the same. Now I enjoy tasting various beers from around the world, but the darker, stout ones are my all time favorites :)

  15. I love a good beer also. I love Guiness and Newcastle but especially love trying craft beers and seasonal beers. This book would be a perfect gift for my beer-loving brother.

  16. I'm not a beer drinker (oddly, I lost my taste for it when I was pregnant and it just never came back) but I love cookbooks and food history books so this looks like fun.

  17. In a good hot year, I might drink one beer. Never really gained a taste for it. When we were little, dad would send us to get his beer, which he rarely drank. it would take at least two of us. One or two to hold the bottle and one to work the opener to get that stubborn lid off. It often involved a bit of a spill which my little sister would take care of . She is t one that liked beer.

  18. Love your story, it reminds me of the time my father was outside talking to some friends and kept sending my brother inside to get him another beer. Before the afternoon was done my brother, who was about 6 at the time, was a little tipsy. Me, I've never liked beer. The only one I've tried that I could stand was called Little Kings.
    Here's My WC

  19. Cool that you found such a beautiful book for your passion.

  20. I agree that American beer is swill or
    like my Canadian friends say 'monkey pee'

    Love beers from Germany and Cyprus.

    1. I am sure monkey pee would have a lot more flavor!

  21. Your dad and I would have get along fine--I happen to keep up that tradition myself as a modern career woman. Nothing like a cold beer after a long day's work! :) Yuengling is one of my favorite American beers, too. Here in France I drink a lot of Pelforth and Grimbergen.


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