Just in time to get an overview on the Belgian beer scene before my trip next week, here is the new edition of the Good Beer Guide Belgium. The seventh edition. Author Tim Webb is joined by another well known beer writer this time around, Joe Stange.
I have plenty of beer books. Even a few half-read beer books. So it’s not that i grasp every opportunity to buy new ones. But this one really deserves its place on the shelf – and in your suitcase. It is too big to fit in a standard jacket pocket, but there is nothing in here that I would have removed.
There are chapters on Belgian history, on getting around, on food, and on brewing. But the bulk of the book is of course given to the breweries, their beers and where to buy them or drink them. There is even a section on where to drink Belgian beer outside Belgium.
There is not much space available for each brewery, but there is enough to point you in the directions you want to go.
But this is not only a useful book. It is also a good read. When the authors point to the weird tradition in cafes around Liège of adding honey to beer, they dryly comment: You must try this, for the same reason that children must burn themselves at least once on hot metal.
And I love this description: …. a high-carbonation, pungent blond barley wine that pours like sticky Champagne, with elements of marzipan and aftershave.
So, go ahead, buy it. For armchair travellers, newbies and those of us who already have lost most of our enamel to the wonders of the lambics.