|Review posted on Amazon on 02/15/13|
Ken Weaver may become to the Northern California Craft Beer Scene what Tim Zagat started out to be to the New York restaurant industry.
Although there isn't a rating system yet (there never may be), Northern California Craft Beer Guide is hands down the best resource in print for the consumer who is looking for a great place to get a great beer.
The book's interest is elevated by the loads of attractive photos taken by Anneliese Schmidt. Her photographs tell a story that make this book colorful and appealing. Ken Weaver's descriptors for beer and attention to style are spot on.
Ken not only includes breweries in the Craft Beer Guide but other venues as well. Local bottle shops and liquor stores are catering to the aficionado by carrying quality and variety of beers. Restaurants that are in tune with the quality of beer in California and offer these spectacular beers to enjoy are also listed.
Hopefully we will see more in the way of a beer list with the marketing of beers towards the restaurant industry. Markets and homebrew shops are also included in the contribution of places to purchase or brew your own. After all, if you pay attention to some of the profiles of the brewers many got their start as home brewers. Including oh yea, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
The Guide breaks the Northern California area into regions and puts each region on a very easy to view map. Breweries are listed and numbered for easy reference. Great for pub crawl organizing or just your weekend "Iron Liver Tour".
Weaver recommends five to try and includes under "uncharted territory" breweries that were not open at the time of printing. This may be a good opportunity to check it out and give your feedback.
Place listings includes the web address, physical address, telephone number and hours of operation.
Icons are placed over the top section of each entry to cue the user to breweries that are organic, eco-friendly. Other icons let one know if they can expect to enjoy a nice sit down dinner or just snacks.
Don't' confuse the cask-conditioned icon with the keg icon. They don't mean the same thing. Most breweries have samplers for you to try and some have growlers on hand for you to take your favorite home.
Throughout the book some beer styles are addressed along with some sterling examples. There are also sidebars which discuss beer related topics indigenous to the region. Some nice nods are attributed to the movers and the shakers of Northern California beer culture as well to the up and coming.
In case you have visited all the breweries, restaurants, bottle shops liquor stores and grocery outlets there are more venues to enjoy California beer. Northern California brewers rock when it comes to making contributions to community and fundraising. Festivals and events are listed by the month toward the end of the book.
So whether you planning a trip to the market and want to pair a beer with your dinner, or are going out to a restaurant and are looking for a nice place to eat that doesn't offer the same beer three or four times, or if your planning to impress your buddies with the best local drinking spots, or want to drink the beer where it is always the best ( at the source) this book is the book to have in hand. Salute.