Look, I got rid of my (really cool looking) coffee table for two reasons: 1) it was somewhat oversized for my current TV room, and 2) if there’s a horizontal surface in my house, my wife and children put sundry crap all over it. I was trying to combat clutter, but this book, Pop Chart Lab’s A Visual Guide to Drink, makes me think I made a mistake.
I want my coffee table back. Because I want to put this book on it.
The visually masterful work of Ben Gibson, Patrick Mulligan, and their Pop Chart Lab crew, A Visual Guide to Drink unleashes a pile of research into beer, wine, and spirits around the world and puts this information on display with engaging graphic after engaging graphic. Warning: it’s thorough, and in some places, readers beyond a certain age might need to pull out their reading glasses.
Am I a full-blown expert on every factoid included? No. But I scrutinized a few beer elements, and found some instances of lore-over-fact worth pointing out. Researchers have proved false the widely told origin story of IPA (India Pale Ale) as having first been brewed with higher hop levels and alcohol content to survive the long boat ride to satiate British soldiers in India. Not true. Beers of this ilk were being brewed “pre-India” in England’s timeline. On IPA, this book helps to spread myth. There is another error with regard to mild ale. Mild doesn’t mean mild, as in the low alcohol, easy-going, perhaps lower-hopped way that we might expect (and which actually describes this beer). Back in the day, mild was fresh beer. The opposite, aged beer, would have been called stale beer. It’s me being anal, but mild meant fresh, not mellow.
That said, I’ve really enjoyed spending time with this amazingly tedious tome. It jumps from statistics to styles of glassware to hop-ular beer names to vine training to grape genealogy to sake cocktail recipes to the distillation process to agave plant harvesting to which celebrities are attached to which beverage companies. There’s more.
Lots and lots more, and you’ll be satisfied with the time you spend poring over this cool looking book. If you’ve got one, put it on your coffee table so all your visitors can check it out too.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher.