Red, White and Brew—A Review 

While on vacation in mid-September, Ray and I discovered that Brian Yaeger had a book coming out, titled Red, White and Brew: A Beer Odyssey Across the U.S. (272 pages, St. Martin’s Griffin). I had Ray drop Brian a note asking for a review copy, since in my former life I was a book reviewer. Brian gladly obliged, and shortly thereafter we had our own autographed advance uncorrected proof.

Since I have approximately 2 hours of commuting to do Monday-Friday, Yaeger’s book has been accompanying me on the train. There have been a few times that I nearly missed my stop because of Red, White and Brew — and that is a compliment. Yaeger’s writing style is warm and inviting, like a conversation with a friend over a couple pints of Anchor Steam at the corner pub. The book’s pace is right on, never rushing, never dawdling, as Yaeger weaves his interviews with brewers across the country into tasting reviews and his tales of being on the road for this odyssesy.

Yaeger is no Odysseus, because both he and his writing are never lost and wandering, and I’m pretty sure he’s never blinded a giant or tangoed with a siren (sorry, I was an English major). But his trip is an odyssey of great proportions, especially in today’s current economy; he drove across the country, from Pottsville, PA, to Maine, then Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and then right back to the east coast to visit our friends at Dogfish Head in Delaware. That, my friends, is epic.

But I won’t labor the point of how good the book is; it’s only been out for a short while, and Amazon already has it ranking well. It’s fun, it’s informative, and possibly one of the best things — personally — is that it put some more beers on my radar. Just the other night Ray and I went to pick up a couple six packs, and I had the book in my bag so I could look for a few of the brews I had read about. Unfortunately, the place by us does not have as huge a selection as we would like, but I was able to pick up a 6 pack of Anchor Steam beer, and plan on picking up their Liberty Ale sometime. I was in the beer aisle referring to Yaeger’s book. My friends, that shows the kind of shelf life this title will have.




We’re a Little Buggy 

Ray’s sick with a nasty sinus infection, and I’m not feeling entirely wonderful. It’s a total bummer because originally we had planned to go to a tasting of Dogfish Head’s latest, Theobroma from 5:00-6:00 before Sam’s sold out class. Blegh.

So instead we had apple cider and soup for dinner. Exciting stuff, eh?

What is exciting is the advance copy of Red, White and Brew by Brian Yaeger showed up in our mailbox yesterday. I spent my commute to and from work thoroughly enjoying the first few chapters, and hope to get a review up ASAP before traveling to Sin City for work in a week and a half.

And remember, Session #20 is this Friday, Oct. 3. To participate, write an article on the Session topic for your blog, and then either email the permalink to me or post the link as a comment in this article.




Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide Review 

I shall begin this review by saying one thing:


Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide, by the award-winning Philadelphia Daily News columnist Don Russell, is the kind of book you should carry everywhere when you’re in the general Philadelphia vicinity. Oh, and you should probably enjoy good beer too … if you’re one of those BudMillerCoorsHorsePiss people, then it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find an adequate-enough watering hole. But the rest of us -– those who drink Stoudt’s and Victory and go to Monk’s and the Standard Tap -– will greatly appreciate this essential Philly beer almanac.

I had the pleasure of meeting Don Russell at the NJ Brewfest back in late June. I’d already bought one copy of the book as a birthday gift, but since I knew we needed it for our shelves, I went over to Don’s table, told him what a great book it was (I admit, I leafed through some of the gift copy’s pages before wrapping it) and put $15 directly into his hand, denying the book store its undeserved cut. He kindly signed it to both Ray and me, claiming, “Save a cold one for me!” Well sir, if you’d like to try one of our delectable ESBs, let me know where to send the bottle.

But let’s cut to the chase: This truly is a great book for: A. Anyone who loves good craft beer; B. Anyone who loves Philly; and C. Anyone who loves history. He covers all the bases, letting you know what to drink, where to drink, and some more of what to drink. Russell is not a god-on-high “You must drink this or be condemned by your fellow beer snobs” kind of guy, but instead lets you know that if, for example, you’re looking for a tasty Belgian, here are 6 different beers to look for and 5 different pubs that you can find them in. He gives options, as well as his opinions, and he keeps the writing quick, palatable, and with just the right amount of snark.

Russell covers all the essentials: beer tours, breweries, brew pubs, beer styles, beer history, festivals and events, beer and food, where and how to buy beer, homebrewing, and more. Every bar has either an address, phone number, Web site, or all three, making it easy for the reader to obtain whatever outside information necessary for planning an evening out and about with craft beer.

I don’t want to go on and on, so I will put it simply:





Book and Brew 

I was cruising through a few sites, and I found this April 2008 post from Omnivoracious. The thing that caught my attention first, aside from the words beer and books, was a picture of The Monsters of Templeton with a bottle of Ommegang’s Three Philosophers next to it! The book is fantastic, and the beer, as you know, is outstanding. So that means I had to read the blog post.

Most of the post mentioned beers that I will not sully our own blog with, but I was interested in what was said about MOT:

Of course, some writers have more invested in the beer-book question than others. Rising star Lauren Groff, author of the Orange Prize-nominated The Monsters of Templeton, has first-hand experience, having worked as an intern “one very fuzzy summer in college” for “the country’s best brewery (in my humble opinion) in Cooperstown, New York, which is where my novel is based–Brewery Ommegang. They make Belgian-style beers. Though all of their beers are absolutely stellar, I’d say their Three Philosophers goes best with Monsters–they call it a “luscious blend of rich malty ale and cherry lambic.” Like MOT, it’s fruity on the surface with a dark, rich texture beneath.”

-for more from this blog post, go here.

Well said Groff! I highly recommend this pairing of book and brew, and if I might have a try myself, I will suggest this pairing:

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips paired with Victory’s Golden Monkey.

Gods Behaving Badly is an entertaining read about a group of Greek gods and goddesses stuck living together in a London flat amongst mortals. And of course, since they have powers, they tend to misbehave a little. I don’t want to give away the whole story, but I certainly found it entertaining, and feel that when paired with the playful, yet strong Golden Monkey, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth of both book and brew.