Three Books: Booze, Beer and Norm!

I have in my possession a trio of recently issued books that may be of interest to readers. However, for varying reasons, I cannot alot to each a full-on review, so I’ll hope you’ll instead settle for the capsule comments below. Don’t forget that Christmas is just around the corner!

  • Drinking with George

What: A rather sparse hardcover filled with the beery reminiscences of George Wendt, who famously played Norm Peterson on the sitcom Cheers.

First Impressions: There is probably about a hundred pages of text here, spread by wide line spacing and the generous employment of lists and sidebars to over 225 pages.

Second Impressions: Wendt’s anecdotes are vaguely amusing, his beer-based insights rather spurious.

Why the Capsule Review: If the author won’t put more effort into writing it, I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend a bunch of time reviewing it.

Who You Might Give It To: Casual acquaintance, host/hostess gift.


  • World’s Best Beers

What: An illustrated, around-the-globe guide to what British author Ben McFarland thinks are the finest ales and lagers in the world.

First Impressions: The U.K. cover and subtitle – “1000 Unmissable Brews from Portland to Prague” instead of “One Thousand Craft Brews from Cask to Glass” – are much better than the North American versions.

Second Impressions: A great book for absorbing in snippets, a listing of the “World’s Top Ten Designer beers” here, a survey of the beers of Israel, Lebanon & Palestine there.

Why the Capsule Review: I contributed the Canadian content plus a few essays to the book, so even though I have been paid in full and won’t make a cent more from any sales, it could be said that I have a conflict of interest in supporting this book.

Who You Might Give It To: Beer Advocate/Ratebeerian (just to get the arguments started), beer novice with a healthy curiosity.


  • The Art of Distilling Whiskey and Other Spirits

What: A condensed guide to distilling and more expansive overview of the world of craft-distilled spirits, edited by Bill Owens and Alan Dikty.

First Impressions: More than a “how to” book for would-be distillers, as the title might be taken to imply, this is a 176 page profile of the new world of small scale, artisanal distilling.

Second Impressions: My first impressions were right, although that is in no way to belie its usefulness. There is much of interest and use within the pages of this book, not the least of which is the International Directory of Distillers that closes it.

Why the Capsule Review: I haven’t yet finished reading it, frankly, but wanted to get something useful posted while the release is still fresh.

Who You Might Give It To: Anyone who drinks any spirit straight up, ever.

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