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1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die

Adrian Tierney-Jones (General Editor)

Part of a series of titles that also includes volumes on Books, Films and Albums, 1001 Beers is a smart, glossy, chunky tome that aims to inspire readers to not waste time on mediocre offerings but to grasp every last minute of their existence in the pursuit of excellence.

1001 Beers you must tryFor beer, the concept works a treat as a flick through the colourful pages definitely works up a thirst.

This number of entries is always going to be difficult to arrange but editor Adrian Tierney-Jones (there’s no truth in the rumour that the book had to be this thick to accommodate his name across the spine) has taken a simplistic approach and divided up chosen beers by colour.

The book begins with Amber Beers and runs through Blond, White and Dark to the final section on Speciality Beers that don’t quite fit in elsewhere.

This means, of course, that Vienna lagers are lumped together with IPAs, schwarzbiers share pages with stouts, and beers of all nationalities are melded into a United Nations of beer.

But it makes a refreshing change from the conventional wisdom of differentiating by style or country and, to help with navigation, there are indexes for beers by country and by brewery.

For each beer there’s a short fact box outlining country of origin, date first brewed, ABV and serving temperature. There’s also a box reserved for concise tasting notes.

The rest of the entry is given over to the background to the beer, answering questions such as how and why it was first brewed, what sort of brewery it comes from and just how successful it has been.

Most entries run to around 300 words, so there’s plenty to chew on as you flick the pages, and nearly every beer is illustrated by a mouth-watering photograph of bottle and full, tempting glass.

The text is written by a team of around 40 beer specialists (I declare an interest here, being personally responsible for a few dozen of the entries) but, if anything, this is the book’s strength.

Rather than taking on the very daunting prospect of scripting the book alone, Tierney-Jones has picked people from around the world who are experts in their own territory.

This ensures authority and diversity – there are plenty of beers in this book that I, and I’m sure many of the other writers, have never had the pleasure to come across before now.

This second edition arrives just three years on from the book's first release, such is the rapidly-changing complexion of the world of beer.
Around 90 new entries take their place among the pages, replacing beers that, according to Tierney-Jones, either aren't being produced any more or come from breweries that already had several entries. Frankly, he says, some beers didn’t cut the mustard anymore and have been mercilessly jettisoned.

Beers from Costa Rica and the Lebanon are included for the first time, alongside new craft beers from China and Greece, as well as UK entries such as Beavertown Smog Rocket and Dark Star Six Hop, Oskar Blues G'Night and Ballast Point Victory at Sea from the USA, and some intriguing beers from Czech micros.

Treat this book as you will. Keep it as a handy reference; read it from cover to cover in pursuit of knowledge; or, as the publishers intended when setting up the series, use it to set targets in your beer quaffing life. However you employ it, it’ll be worth the investment.

Second edition (2013)

960-page paperback (Cassell)


Available now at a discount from

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