Not a Beer/Food Book Aug 30, 2007
This is quite an excellent book for beginners in the world of beer. When it comes to more accomplished beer folks who also have kitchen knowledge, this book quite bluntly is worthless. I fell for the hype on this one - and I am only glad that I didn't pay full price.
Oliver will go into tremendous detail on a specific style of beer, often covering 15-20 pages on its origin, style and representative makers of the style. Then he will leave you with 1-2 paragraphs on what food the beer goes best with. Spicey foods for IPAs - gee, thanks Garrett, I knew that long before I opened your book.
In my opinion, a far better use of this book would have included two things:
1. A better balance of beer to food. Talk about and demonstrate the kinds of pairing.
2. Some recipes involving 1-2 complete meals that might go with the beer. Given that Mr. Oliver's beers have most likely often been the centerpiece of many national beer dinners, he must know chefs who would contribute recipes that would be exceptional when paired with different beer styles.
Final comment - a few years back, I bought a simple "beer/food wheel". It was rather elementary, but showed what light and/or dark beers would go with certain foods. For 99 cents, it has been a worthwhile tool on occasion for stimulating better pairings. Needless to say, this goofy "wheel" is superior to Mr. Oliver's book.
Represented as a Beer book, he would be on target. Bringing in Food as an element for this book is just plain deceptive.