Craft Beer: 100 Best Breweries in The World

 

Available in WHSmith, supermarkets and newsagents.
Available in WHSmith, supermarkets and newsagents.

A new guide to the best breweries in the world and the stories behind them and their beers.

This week you should be able to get your hands on the second issue of Future’s ‘Craft Beer’ bookazine series: the 100 Best Breweries in The World. Like the last issue, Craig Heap and myself were asked to create and write it, this time with the additional help of a Few Good Men (Matthew Curtis, Ruari O’Toole and Leigh Linley). Copies should be hitting the shelves of WHSmith, larger supermarkets with magazine sections and decent newsagents right now. You can expect:

 

– In-depth features on 100 breweries from the UK, US, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, Scandinavia, Australasia and more!

– Tasting notes for beers from each of the breweries

– Interviews with head brewers and the stories behind their beers

– Guides to the best pubs, bars, beer festivals and beer culture in the UK, US, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic

– Features on the brewing process and brewing equipment, brewing history, abandoned breweries, and some general beer appreciation and consumer-focused helpful info.

 

If the first issue of ‘Craft Beer’the 365 Best Beers in the World – was a mixtape of the best of the modern beer scene, this second issue is something slightly more thoughtful and complex. Perhaps a ‘background to cooking breakfast’ Radio 4 program about a particular genre of music, exploring the inspirations, variety and depth of the scene.

When Craig and I were asked to write a follow-up to the 365 Best Beers in the World, covering the world’s best breweries seemed like a good next step. The content was always going to be far more than just a list, and as we fed more and more ideas into the outline, it became quite clear we would need some reinforcements.

Leigh Linley, Matthew Curtis and Ruari O’Toole are great writers and good friends of ours. Craig and I were both certain that they had the determination and boundless enthusiasm to get the job done. By dividing our labours, we could each add our own expertise and passions to different areas of the project. Splitting the UK breweries between the five of us, Craig, Matt, Ruari and myself each took on one of the other major brewing countries (I chose Belgium, Craig takes on the Czech Republic, Ruari covers Germany and Matt covers the US) and a couple of features each.

Another key decision early on was to try to get as many in-depth interviews with brewers as we could. Our interviews show that, like the breweries themselves and the beers they make, brewers simply do not fall into one particular category or type of person. At the European Beer Bloggers Conference last year, Garret Oliver said in his keynote speech that ‘Beer is People’, and I think this is a good introductory idea to what the new magazine is all about. At the heart of this amazing industry are some amazing people, and this magazine tells the story of some of the best of them.

I hope people enjoy the new issue as much as the last one. I can’t wait to read it myself. I worked with some fantastic writers on this magazine and I’m really looking forward to reading their work. Cheers!

‘ Craft Beer: 100 Best Breweries in the World’ is available to order online, and should be on the shelves of a WHSmith, supermarket or newsagents near you. I’ll add a link to this post for the iTunes version shortly (and subscribers to the last magazine through iTunes may already have early access).

‘Great Yorkshire Beer’ by Leigh Linley

IMG_20130618_213148

Great Yorkshire Beer

Leigh Linley

Great Northern Books

pp 192 (hardcover)

As one of the blogosphere’s foremost beer and food champions, Leigh Linley’s debut book has been long overdue. Though he could have easily written one book about beer and another about food, we can be grateful that both passions share space happily in Great Yorkshire Beer. Having said that, after ‘Beer’, the second biggest word on the cover is ‘Yorkshire’, and it’s the county itself that’s the real star of this personal, heartfelt and stomach-rumble-inducing book about fantastic beer and food.

Leigh set out to write a book that didn’t currently exist – a guide to great beer in Yorkshire – and in the end has written something even better. From friendly and fascinating interviews with some of the most exciting and respected brewers in Yorkshire, to tantalising and temptingly accessible recipes for delicious-looking food, to lip-lickingly evocative tasting notes for fantastic beers, this is a treasure trove of information that you will want to return to again and again.

IMG_20130618_213831

Thirteen Yorkshire breweries are featured, from the famous Saltaire, Summer Wine, Kirkstall, Ilkley and Rooster’s, to lesser-known ones like Wharfebank and The Brew Co . Whilst there may seem to be a slight bias towards newer brewers, that is simply reflective of the modern Yorkshire beer scene. It’s an exciting brewing landscape that Leigh describes with pride. He’s itching to tell us about this great couple that started brewing a few years ago, dying to show us the wonderful interiors of pubs and brewery buildings, and gasping to describe the amazing beers he’s tried from every brewer in the book. The interviews are insightful and interesting, giving us glimpses into each brewer’s starting point, their dreams for the future and what makes them so passionate about what they do. The interviews also serve to demonstrate the enormous variety of people and businesses that the Yorkshire brewing industry is made up of.

After an interview with the brewers and tasting notes of a selection of their best beers, Leigh will recommend a small, easy-to-make dish to try alongside them. These ‘Tasty tasters’ are one of the book’s highlights, and demonstrate Leigh’s ability to take great, simple food ideas and put them alongside beers that are exciting and interesting. Like any book with good food in it, there are plenty of vibrant photos, each making you want to pop into the shop on the way home to get some ingredients (and some beers).

The real strength of Great Yorkshire Beer is that pride and enthusiasm that takes you from one page to the next, and the sense that this is one man’s heartfelt attempt to nail down everything that excites him about where he lives and what he loves. Great Yorkshire Beer is not a list of every beer or pub in Yorkshire. Such a thing would have only have value as a reference material. This is a book that shines a spotlight on what is truly great in a county full of beer of pubs, and gives you something cracking to eat with every pint, too.

IMG_20130618_214331

After the main body of the book, Leigh has included a further eight recipes for meals that are perfect matches for different beers. Again, the meals look absolutely delicious and the recipes are straightforward, requiring a very short shopping list (most need fewer than ten ingredients). As I said at the beginning, there’s a real sense that Leigh could – and should – do an entirely food-focused book , perhaps a sort of Yorkshire Brewmaster’s Table (just a suggestion, Leigh). It’s really refreshing to read a book where the beer and the food share an almost equal billing, instead of the half-hearted food matches being relegated to a dusty corner.

It’s a handy size for a beer book, too. Not a cumbersome ale bible for tickers, this is a travelling companion for some great weekends exploring the best of what Yorkshire has to offer. Great Yorkshire Beer is a genuinely different kind of beer book. It’s for people that love to read about culture, history, plucky Yorkshire ambition, and excellent food and beer, and marks the beginning of what will hopefully be a long list of books by one of the UK’s best beer writers.