Beer, cocktail and wine books

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Bend an elbow and pick up one of these extremely readable books about drinks and drinking

A Beer a Day

Jeff Evans

, Camra Books, £16.99

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If you think 'phooey to New Year’s resolutions' and want to start as you mean to go on, this daybook of good pints and bottles is a friendly source of trivia that will help you through any pub quiz. Expert beer writer Jeff Evans finds an event (Battle of Hastings, Brunel’s birthday, the last episode of ‘Blackadder’) for each day of the year and chooses an appropriate tipple with which to celebrate.

On February 2 he explains the Christian traditions behind what, thanks to Harold Ramis, many now recognise as Groundhog Day – but did you know it was also the date of Queen Victoria’s funeral, the opening of New York’s Grand Central Station, and marks the death of Gene Kelly, Boris Karloff and Fred Perry? The suggested glass to raise is one of Crouch Vale Brewers Gold – a two-times consecutive winner (repetition – geddit?) of the Champion Beer of Britain title.

Although this is published by the Campaign for Real Ale’s publishing division, it’s not all real ales: Belgian, French, German, Mexican, Spanish and US beers (amongst others) all feature – and we have 366 days to get through after all.

Our only concern is the lack of support on the sourcing front: ‘Most beers will be reasonably easy to get hold of, given the number of specialist beer shops that now exist and... internet mail order.’ The fact is few would go online to order a whole case of a beer they’ve never tried. But as Evans argues, ‘Therein lies part of the purpose of a book such as this – to encourage the wider distribution of fine beers,’ and with that we can’t argue.

Jenni Muir, Time Out London Issue 2002: January 1-7 2009

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