It started with this email from a friend: “What is the best book on the market that touches on beer, history, styles, glassware, etc.?”
This was an easy one to answer: Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion, even though it was published going on 20 years ago and requires tracking down a used copy.
So easy I thought I might as well extend it to nine more recommendations. Presented in random order (really, I used an online randomizer).
Before we get to that, the context. There’s a good chance if you aren’t Ron Pattinson or Martyn Cornell (or Jay Brooks) that my beer library has more books than yours, but this is all just one man’s opinion and tomorrow I’d probably come up with a different list.
I also made a few rules going in. Only one book per author, because otherwise when do you quit listing Michael Jackson books? Books written in English (or American) because that’s the language I read. No books focusing on the brewing process, because that’s too specialized and besides I write them and I have further relationships with Brewers Publications. No cookbooks. No guidebooks, although some include quite clever writing. No books dominated by photos, such as Beer naturally.
I haven’t included links to buy any of these books, but I recommend shopping at BeerBooks.com, kind of your small, locally owned, friendly bookstore, except online.