This fall must be the biggest season ever for beer and beverage books. My shelves are heaving with review copies, and quite frankly several of them are very good!
Of course, I’m partial to The Pocket Beer Guide/Pocket Beer Book 2014 – depending on where you are; it’s the former in North America and the latter in the U.K. – but I’m also excited about the efforts of many of my friends and colleagues. Beginning with a Canadian offering by the “Thirsty Writer” himself, Joe Wiebe.
Joe’s admittedly over-the-top titled Craft Beer Revolution is more reasonably, and descriptively, subtitled “The insider’s guide to B.C. breweries,” B.C. being Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia. It is the first attempt at documenting that region’s burgeoning beer scene since Leo Buijs’ 2010 Beers of British Columbia, and is several degrees better.
Testament to the growth in the B.C. beer scene of late, Wiebe spends precious little time on preambles and instead launches into his brewery reviews on page 13, beginning with the stretch between Vancouver and Whistler, known as the Sea-to-Sky. He then barrels through Victoria, the islands, Vancouver itself, the south mainland and Fraser Valley and two districts of the interior, ending with “Caps, Corks & Coasters,” a collection of data, debate and a bit of diatribe. In the mix along the way are essays on everything from craft distilleries to why so few brewpubs survive in downtown Vancouver.
Wiebe’s approach is casual and personal, like any good beer guide should be. He has no problem beginning an entry “I first visited…” and neither does he shy away from the inclusion of anecdotes, personal and otherwise. While I would like to see more hard criticism – too many beers of dubious character are given positive spin – there is enough about each brew that a careful reader will be able to easily sort the wheat from the chaff.
Overall, if you’re a beer drinker living in or visiting British Columbia, this book will pay for itself in no time. Get a copy.