The United States of Beer (a la 33 Beers)

I’ve been remiss on blogging about one of the coolest things to come my way for a while now: The United States of Beer Tasting Map, from 33 Books (the maker of the excellent 33 Beers tasting booklets). This one was sent to me to check out and review (if I so chose) and I received it right about the beginning of October (told you I’d been remiss!):

The United States of Beer Tasting Map

If you remember the novel tasting idea behind the 33 Beers booklets—name, brewers, price, rating, 5 lines of notes, and the facts about the beer, and the very cool flavor wheel—this is the same thing, mapped out onto each of the 50 states in the U.S., with the intent of filling out each one with whatever beer you think best represents that state. For each state you can track the beer, the brewery, date sampled, rating (out of five stars)—and of course, the flavor wheel profile.

United States of Beer - Oregon

This is a big poster, too, 39 by 25 inches, and like the 33 books series, printed on 100% recycled paper:

The poster is printed on 100% recycled, chlorine-free French brand paper, made in Niles, Michigan (about 100 miles south of one of my favorite Michigan breweries, Founder’s). If you’re as big a paper connoisseur as you are a beer connoisseur, you’ll also want to know that it’s 100# Dur-o-tone cover in tough Steel Grey. The poster was printed, designed and tested in sunny Portland, Oregon with soy-based inks.

It has a really nice metallic ink sheen to it, and creator Dave Selden tells me:

The standard gold ink edition is printed with four separate inks in a three-step process: a white “base coat,” then a gold metallic, then yellow and black are applied. Between each step, the poster was allowed to dry so the colors really sparkle.

That edition is available for $30 on the website, and there’s a limited-run platinum edition (printed “using platinum-colored metallic ink, and are individually hand-signed and numbered by designer Dave Selden”) that sells for $50.

United States of Beer up close

And there are a few other neat stat-tracking areas on the map besides each state’s overview: you can chart IBUs vs. ABV, keep track of how many of each style you consume, and track how many of what types of vessels the beer came in (bottles, cans, keg, or cask).

United States of Beer extras

You can tell this is definitely a labor of love for creator Selden, as its very thoughtfully designed (with the eastern seaboard blown up larger to make sure you can track those smaller states), and it’s printed on a nice, heavy stock that should be durable enough to handle any beer spills. I was initially worried that the metallic ink would mean you’d have to have one of those metallic-ink pens yourself to write on it and fill out the stats for each beer, but not so: the writing areas can easily handle regular pens just fine (though I might suggest using a Sharpie because it will look good).

I really like this map, both the concept and the execution, and though it might take me a while to get all 50 states ticked off of it, it’ll be a fun challenge.

And it’s available just in time for the holidays: Christmas is coming up, and frankly this would make a great gift for the beer geek in your life. You won’t be sorry.