Book Review: Where to Drink Beer

Book Review: Where to Drink Beer

Out September 3rd, Where to Drink Beer is the latest in Phaidon’s highly successful ‘Where to…’ guides – previous editions include guides to restaurants, pizza, cocktails and coffee. Their success is thanks in the main to their being second to none in the quality and depth of places they list.

Where to Drink Beer has been compiled by 500 contributors led by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, a man who knows his stuff. Jarnit-Bjergso was a Danish runner turned teacher turned beer director at Noma, before setting up his own micro brewery company, Evil Twin Brewing, and opening (with Daniel Burns) Tørst and Luksus in New York. There they marry food and micro brews across the bar and restaurant, the subject of his and Burns’ book Food & Beer.

As with previous guides, there are a set of indexes to help find what you’re looking for, including an index of the contributors and experts with a brief biography of each, so you can be sure you’re getting the best advice out there. The main body of the book is, of course, given over to the listings, broken down by region, country and city. Helpfully, among the notes on each entry is a category giving the reason to head to them – Beer & Food, Beer Garden, Local Favourites, Unexpected, Wish I’d Open, and Worth the Travel – making it impossible not to find the sort of place you’re after. If you want to explore a city you’re visiting and get a real feel for the place, you just have to look for those listed as Local Favourites and you’ll find everything from the pub and bars to dive bars that the locals love. The guide also lists unexpected places to find great beer, including British Airways, an Italian car mechanic’s, and a shop on the US naval base in Guam!

From a London perspective you’re well covered, with entries from Borough Market as a great place to buy beer, to old school classic pubs like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street and modern classics like the Craft Beer Co. which has done so much to bring new craft and small batch beers to London. You’ll also find the great St John restaurant in Smithfield listed, and rightly so. Its bar is always well stocked with superb beers that go perfectly with the nose to tail menu that this world famous restaurant is characterised by.

Thankfully, this isn’t a guide to types of beer or the best pubs and bars; they’re a dime a dozen. This book wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago, but the growth in the market for good quality beer made with care and understanding has been changing a previously stale market and made the large multi-national beer producers look up and take notice. The shear variety of places included in the guide is quite incredible.

Jarnit-Bjergso and Phaidon have compiled the master guide to the best places anywhere, no matter what they are, to find and drink beer. Where to Drink Beer is a map for all beer aficionados and drinkers seeking out the brews of those hard working individuals who have reshaped the market: a must have, must read and must use.

Where to Drink Beer

By Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso

Published by Phaidon

ISBN 987 0 7148 7601 6

Available here