Craft Beer by Craig Heap and Chris Hall
Just a quick one this, as this ‘Bookazine’ (not sure if I like that word yet…) is out now and seems to be selling fast – so I just wanted to get some thoughts down whilst you have the chance to buy it.
I’ll be honest: I like Chris Hall and Craig Heap. Their blogs are excellent, and I’ve shared more than a few pints with them both. Both The Good Stuff and Great Yorkshire Beer are name-checked in the ‘further reading’ section at the back of the magazine, too. But I hope, dear reader, that you are reading this blog because you trust and put some faith in what I say – which is that Craft Beer: 365 Best Beers in The World is an incredibly entertaining read.
Yep, I like it. Which is a relief because if it would have been poor, I’d have had some explaining to do. Luckily, the duo have created a great primer on the Craft Beer scene that will appeal not only to the people who are just dipping a toe into the murky world of beer, but people with more than a passing interest, such as myself.
Two things stand out for me: firstly, the beers are arranged by season – which is not only tick-friendly (the magazine then becomes handy all year round) but also makes so much sense that you wonder why it’s not more common. Secondly, the balance of the selection is perfect – this isn’t a book for the fickle beer hipster. Bohemia Regent Prezident rubs shoulders with Hardknott Cool Fusion, Cairngorm’s Trade Winds dances opposite Magic Rock’s Clown Juice, St Peter’s Mild buys a pint for Wild’s Scarlet Fever. That’s how it should be; all are connected and all join the dots in the world of beer that we choose to spend so much time in.
The reviews are bright and breezy without coming across like your dad at a disco, and the personalities of both Chris and Craig are evident in every review. There’s a little food, recommend retailers, some light, potted history and some fun little Top 5’s – such as beers to show off with. All the boxes are ticked.
The beer world isn’t without books borne of partnerships; Tom Sandham & Ben McFarland, Ray Bailey and Jessica Boak, Stephen Beaumont & Tim Webb. The fact that Chris and Craig have taken this chance and produced a fine, modern and – most importantly – accessible – distillation of Craft Beer for such a specific market is really something to admire. Perhaps another partnership is born.
Craft Beer is out now and is published by Future Publishing.