For someone who doesn’t read nearly as much as I’d like to, I sure do have a helluva lot of books. While the occasional novel or work of fiction slips its way in, a majority of my collection naturally focuses on three of my favorite things. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to recommend books about food, beer, and wine, sometimes for themselves and sometimes for gift giving. Whatever the reason, I am always happy to oblige.
Certain books have and always will stand out for me, because they represent exhaustive research, extreme dedication to one’s craft, and a lighthearted tone that is both witty and educational. While the author’s passion is evident, it never leans toward overbearing obsession, and the aim is obviously to instruct and introduce rather than put down the reader for not knowing as much as the writer.
Michael Jackson — the late, great beer writer — was a master at not only evaluating beers, but telling a wonderful story about each brew, as well as the story behind it. In his epic tome, Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium, Jackson takes you to some of the world’s oldest and most revered breweries, offering a unique combination of sensory experience, historical background, as well as a touch of humor and lore that is both engaging and entertaining.
Rich with photos of celebrated beers, brewers, and breweries, Great Beers of Belgium is just as visually appealing as it is informative and profound.
“A richly detailed examination of Belgian beer and brewing. Michael Jackson’s extraordinary passion for Belgian beer shines through in every aspect of this engaging work, from the personal stories of the people behind the beers to the careful descriptions of their flavors. Revised and updated shortly before his death in August 2007, this work represents the pinnacle of Jackson’s meticulous research and masterful writing, presented in a beautifully illustrated visual environment. With a new forward by Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian.” — Brewers Publications
For anyone looking to learn more about Belgian beers, I cannot recommend Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium highly enough. Besides being an excellent read, it is easily one of my most referenced books that I turn to when looking for a new beer to try or for more information on a bottle I may have come across.
Do you have a favorite beer book that you regularly recommend to friends? Drop a note in the comment section!