A sign of a good book is when you feel bad for letting it gather dust on the shelf for so long. That feeling nagged me all throughout The Naked Pint by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. Mixing wry humour and with solid beer writing, the book is a strong starting point for drinkers new to the world of craft beer. The writers have hit on a nice format of introducing craft newbs to the less intense, more accessible styles, then slowly upping the ante until they’re drinking American IPAs and gueuze. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a pallet that can go from drinking from Bud to Rochefort. All detail is delivered in a style that will lure drinkers in, rather than scaring them off with extravagant minutiae. (For instance, The Naked Pint rarely mentions correct serving temperatures. It’s all about the baby steps.)
One part of their book I really wished I’d thought of first is the “This beer’s for you if you like” section (Russian imperial stouts, for example: “Russian czars. Borscht. Shots of espresso. 80% cacao chocolate. High alcohol. Big furry hats. An extra-bitter bite. Dr. Zhivago.) If I had never tried a RIS before, I would look at that list and think, “That sounds awesome! I love all those things. Except for Dr. Zhivago.” It’s a fun way of identifying style using terminology that means something to people who know little about beer.
If you’re a hardcore beerophile, this isn’t a must read. Possibly the best thing I got from the book was how to explain beer to the average drinker, which makes it a recommended read for anyone who tries to do this on a regular basis (because if you’re worried about sounding pretentious, that means you probably are). The authors obviously have a lot of expertise in trying to convert people to craft beer, so read the book and steal some of their knowledge.
My only complaint of the book is that the recipes are a little fancy. What happened to the good, ole fashioned beer stew? I gave this section a cursory glance, then moved on. But on the whole, a quite enjoyable read.