Beer Books: Travel, History, and Insight

Before you pack a bag in search of new hops-fueled adventures, here are a few new books that that will inspire you to hit the road and order a pint.

John Holl Jun 8, 2018 - 6 min read

Beer Books: Travel, History, and Insight Primary Image

Photo by John Holl

Drinking beer means being able to experience the world. Beer can take you places, from checking out the local brewery to visiting foreign countries and drinking like a local. Seeing the world through a beer lens can introduce you to new thoughts and ideas, new flavors, and different cultures.

While there are certainly still guide books that help you find that perfect beer, brewery, and drinking experience, there are still others that take us back in time to when beer was a different scene, but no less important.

Before you pack a bag in search of new hops-fueled adventures, here are a few new books that that will inspire you to hit the road and order a pint.

CAMRA'S Good Beer Guide Belgium (8th edition)

By Joe Stange and Tim Webb, CAMRA Books (2018)
In the digital age, there's something quaint yet comforting and substantial about a proper printed travel guide. Belgium should be on every beer lover's bucket list (and I mean actually exploring beyond Cantillon and Brussels), but it can also be intimidating. Now in its 8th edition, the Good Beer Guide Belgium is a trusted companion written by two writers who give honest assessments of beers, cafés, and breweries.

Over more than 350 pages, the authors take you region by region through the best places to drink, offering up the why and the history. Having even just the basic of knowledge can make trying some of the country's beers and visiting its historic breweries more impactful with the first sip and step. Well-photographed, the book is a pleasure to flip through while on your couch at home planning a trip or while sitting at a café in Namur nursing a beer and thinking about your next. Sometimes, the advice in travel guides should be taken with a grain of salt. In the case of the Good Beer Guide Belgium, the experience of these well-traveled writers will help you have a trip you'll never forget.

IPA: A Legend in Our Time

By Roger Protz, Pavilion Books (2018)
The most popular craft-beer style in the United States, one steeped in lore, and desired by beer drinkers around the world, the India pale ale is as exciting as it is varied. Long-time writer Roger Protz, no stranger to evaluating a well-hopped pint, scours the globe in search of what has fueled the style's popularity. A lively history and primer for those new to IPA open this thick, hardcover tome; the second half of the book explores beers made around the world. While many of the beer profiled are standard torchbearers and not of-the-moment Saturday morning stick-can releases, they serve as a helpful reminder of the history of IPA, as well as a reminder of just how creative brewers are when it comes to using hops (and the other main ingredients, of course).

Pearl: A History of San Antonio's Iconic Beer

By Jeremy Banas, The History Press (2018)
Beer has long been a source of local pride. Schlitz was the beer that made Milwaukee famous; Anchor was the hometown hero of San Francisco; Yuengling was the pride of Pennsylvania; and nearly every major city and region had, at one point in the early days of American beer drinking, a neighborhood beer that was as much refreshing as it was a sense of place. In his historical look at San Antonio's Pearl Beer, Jeremy Banas weaves interesting history, lively pictures, and long-forgotten anecdotes into a story that is unique to the Texas city but also familiar in so many others. If you enjoy walks down memory lane with a beer in hand, this is a book you'll enjoy.

The Beer Bucket List: Over 150 Essential Beer Experiences from Around the World

By Mark Dredge, Dog 'n' Bone Books (2018)
At times, reading through the experiences Mark Dredge has ticked off his beer bucket list, you can feel the hangover. The mark of a great time, it's a badge of honor of a life well lived. Here he takes us along and offers suggestions-not just about craft beer, but about all beer. And food. And culture. And why it all matters and leads to a fuller drinking experience. Yes, you should visit the Budweiser brewery in St. Louis. Yes, go to Oktoberfest at least once in your life and then spend time in Germany exploring great beer towns such as Bamberg or historic breweries such as Weihenstephaner. Soak in the atmosphere of a brown café in Amsterdam and drink farmhouse ales in Lithuania. Take in a skyline view from the world's tallest urban brewery in Singapore or drink local for the first time in a very long time in Jordan. Beer is just about everywhere on the planet, and it's more than just a beverage in a glass; it's a way to make the world a smaller place and bring people together for a common cause.

John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.