Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest for Mortals and Goddesses

While I have been actively pursuing both a formal and informal education on wine, my knowledge of Washington beer has grown informally only – usually due to proximity to Bean or Ed while accompanying them to a beer event or sharing a fine repast at a pairing dinner.  I enjoy both beer and wine, especially paired with food, but have never focused on the details of beer beyond the one in my hand, typically placed there by Bean or Ed saying “Taste this”.

Recently, I was in proximity of Bean and rather than handing me a beer, she handed me a book and said, “Read this.”  My hands held a copy of Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest: A beer lover’s guide to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, the recently published book by beer blogger, Lisa Morrison aka Beer Goddess.  Morrison definitely knows Northwest beer.

Book cover for Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest

The Beer Goddess' first book on craft beers.

In her book, Morrison does not just yammer on about beer as if she were truly a goddess espousing mere lists from on high to the mere mortal beer drinkers like me.  She is one of the mere mortal beer drinkers and the book is an invitation for you to join in the continual discovery of craft beers in the Pacific Northwest.

The book opens with Beer 101 so mere mortals can understand the beer-making process, beer styles and a few beer-related terms.  Armed with this bit of knowledge, the reader can now choose where to focus next – the section on Oregon? Washington?  How about crossing the border and learning about British Columbia?  Each section is further divided by cities sporting a large number of breweries and more rural regions where craft brewing definitely exists but brewers are further apart.

Each section and sub-section provide some beer history unique to the area, local brew festivals, short blurbs on breweries and – drum roll please – walking maps for your own pub crawl.

Simple street map of a neighborhood in Olympia, WA with brew pub locations marked.

Walking map to visit breweries and brewpubs for a neighborhood in Olympia.

There is room in the margins to write in your own notes.  And write in you will, because you will discover beers and events that are not in the book.  After all, it is only 208 pages and the craft beer movement changes daily.  This book is not intended to be the complete coverage of the movement, just a great introduction and a game plan for continuing to discover what Morrison has discovered – there is great beer in the Pacific Northwest.

What about the parts of Washington where breweries are not as concentrated as say, Seattle?  Why would a person journey so far?  What could be included to make the trip a definite success?  What could it be?   Hmmm, what other beverage does Washington produce that is worthy of a road trip?  Wine!

The perfect pairing for Morrison’s book is a similar book for wine.  Luckily, such a book exists, Wine Trails of Washington.  So grab both when you head to the less populated areas of Washington.  You will not be disappointed.

Note:  Thanks to Bean for not only loaning Morrison’s book to me but giving me permission to write in the margins and use a highlighter at will. 

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