It’s the first Friday of 2015, this second of January, and that means another round of The Session—collaborative beer blogging, open to anyone and everyone. (Read all about it at that link Jay Brooks maintains.) The topic for this month was selected (or rather, posed as a question) by fellow long-time beer blogger Alan McLeod (Alan is, as far as I know, the only other active beer blogger today who started just before I did). His question is posed in the title of this post: What beer book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?
What is the book you would want to write about good beer? What book would you want to read? Is there a dream team of authors your would want to see gathered to make that “World Encyclopedia of Beer and Brewing”? Or is there one person you would like to see on a life long generous pension to assure that the volumes flow from his or her pen? Let us know.
Having just written a beer book, I’m not sure if this is a question that’s easy or hard for me to answer. I mean, part of my answer is easy—of course I would love to be the one writing this next great book (and perhaps I will). But by and large I don’t have any particular preference as to who should author it, as long as it’s well-researched and well-written—good writing is good writing.
There have already been stabs at the kinds of books we’ve seen that Alan’s sub-questions ask. The Oxford Companion to Beer, for instance, was kind of an all-star effort. As was 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die. And Brewers Publications continues to publish a well-rounded lineup of beer books across a variety of subjects.
I have some ideas of what I would like to see. At least one was published recently: I thought someone should do an up-to-date definitive guide to all of Oregon’s breweries, and lo and behold Brian Yaeger just published Oregon Breweries. A couple of other ideas are ones I think I want to tackle at some point, so I’m keeping them to myself for now.
But here are some others that I think would be interesting that I hope someone writes:
- A history of hop farming in America. In truth, while I have Stan Hieronymus’ For the Love of Hops on my shelf I haven’t yet read it, so I don’t know that he doesn’t touch upon American hop farming history, but given its overall breadth I’m thinking not, at least in depth. I’d like to see a deep dive into America’s hop history, examining the farms and farming, the trends, the successes and failures, the personalities, and the development of new hop varieties. Where and when was the very first hop farm established?
- A novel involving a beer ticker-type seeking out Ghost Whales that don’t exist anymore—so he or she invents or co-opts a time machine to travel to the past to drink various historic beers. Late-nineteenth-century Budweiser, the first Pilsner from Plzeň, Guinness Stout, “lost” styles, and so on. Hijinks ensue.
- Stan is working on a book about indigenous beers. This is definitely something I want to see, but worldwide (Stan’s will be for North America). I love reading about the indigenous beers from other countries and continents, and I think an in-depth profile/history/how-to is much needed.
The great thing is, for all the beer books on the market now, we’re still just scratching the surface, and I hope we see these and many more of this month’s Session ideas making into print soon.