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.