I read more than my fair share of beer books. I kind of have to, right? I can let a book or a beer go by without mentioning it on Brews + Books, but when something hits with both barrels it’s difficult to let it go unnoticed. Like any other genre, the world of beer books is flooded with topics well-worn and original, information valid and questionable, and writing very good and pretty damn bad.
Luckily, The Naked Pint is original, informative and very well written. The authors, serious beer-crush-candidates Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, really know their suds. Perozzi is the founder of the popular beer website Beer For Chicks, a beer sommelier, and one of the country’s preeminent beer experts. Beaune is equally pedigreed – a beer author, consultant, and former manager and educator at the famed beer bar Father’s Office.
The book, subtitled An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer, covers enough information that it could easily be split into four books. Roughly speaking, the topics are;
- beer education (the nitty-gritty this is what beer is, what’s in it and how beer is made),
- a style handbook (information about almost every style of beer, how it’s made, and examples of each style),
- a beer at home section (what glassware to buy, how to host a beer tasting and beer/food pairings and recipes,
- and a robust little “how to homebrew” section.
Although there’s plenty more to be said about each topic than could be fit into the book, none of the sections feel undeveloped or unfinished. There’s just enough information in each section to leave you comfortable with a beer style or brewing technique, but never enough to drive you to wander ahead to the next section before you finish. Perozzi and Beaune have said that The Naked Pint is a primer on the world of craft beer, and their book turns the popular impression that good beer is too complicated and beer lovers are huge snobs on it’s head.
The charm of the book comes right from the witty, engaging writing style of the authors. A lot of beer books are dry and technical, and while a few are beautifully written, rare is one that makes you laugh out loud. The Naked Pint is frequently hilarious, and a great reminder that one thing that separates the world of beer from wine is that we don’t take ourselves quite as seriously. Flirty, friendly and enthusiastic, the writing makes it easy to plow through the book in one or two sittings.
Even as someone who’s had his fair share of beer, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the world of craft brews. I can’t exactly go back in time and tell you what I would’ve thought if I read this book as a beer newbie, but my gut tells me I’d have found it just as engaging. The setup of the book – a primer on what goes into beer, then chapters progressing from light lagers up to the richest, sourest beers – holds the reader’s hand through dozens of increasingly intimidating styles. Beer is supposed to be fun, and the writing about each style tells you exactly what there is to love about it.
Most of the beer books I’ve read (and most written on the subject) are aimed squarely at the converted beer drinker – those who have left fizzy yellow water behind. The Naked Pint has a different approach. With this book, you find out what’s so great about beer and that there’s a perfect brew for every taste.
I’ll give this book my highest recommendation – read it if you love beer, and read it even sooner if you think you don’t. Either way, I’ll see you at the local craft beer bar after.