Let Them Drink Beer: North Carolina Craft Beer and Breweries

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Publisher: John F. Blair, 2012
Pages: 285
Price: $16.95

5 Acorns

Erik Lars Meyers is no stranger to the written word. Formerly an executive director for the website Know Your Brewer and the founder of the blog Top Fermented, Meyers has been writing about beer for quite some time, and enjoying it even longer.

So North Carolina’s Craft Beer and Breweries, Meyers’ first book, seems like a natural enough progression for the beer enthusiast. If you love an industry, and love a place, what better way to show it than to open that world up to others? And you can definitely feel the love in this book.

This serves as an unencumbered yet comprehensive guide to breweries and brewpubs across North Carolina, breaking the state down and categorizing these breweries in the traditional geographic terminology —  the mountains, the piedmont, and the coast — while adding an additional section for the Triangle alone. This section highlights a few of Raleigh’s own favorites, such as Lonerider Brewing Co., Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Big Boss Brewing Co., and Roth Brewing Co., the first nanobrewery in NC. Apparently, we drink and make a lot of beer ’round these parts.

Each entry for a particular brewery or brewpub gives a little background info, including history and location, as well as a listing of that particular brewery’s regular and seasonal beers. Myers’ also spends a little time getting to know the owners and brewers of these locations, incorporating their personalities and quirks into his own heartfelt descriptions.

But the book isn’t simply a direct guide to places you can booze it and the people who make it possible. Myers’ 285 pages are also stuffed full of quick, one- to two-page long tidbits of information about beer in NC, and things that have shaped and continue to shape our state’s culture of drinking it, including Pop the Cap, Beer City USA, The North Carolina’s Brewer’s Guild, and various beer festivals across the state.

There’s also a lovely little section in the very front that caters to my nerd side, which gives a history of beer in NC, as well as other need-to-knows for the brewing process. For instance, Myers breaks down the brewing process. As someone incredibly interested in drinking beer, but not necessarily making it myself, Myers does a great job of — in about 4 pages — telling me everything I’d want to know about the process. He also includes a perfect little primer of beer styles, written in the same concise yet informative and enthusiastic voice he has mastered throughout the book.

Every beer enthusiast should be ashamed not to have a copy of this for his or her own home library, and those looking to finally get up-to-date and hitch a ride on this craft beer wagon should look no further than this book.

As Myer’s writes in his opening sentence, “It’s an exciting time to be a fan of craft beer in North Carolina.” And his book is the perfect segue into that scene.

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