Book Review – Lager by Mark Dredge

I have already posted about my excitement for this new book about Lager from Mark Dredge and I finally got my package from Powell’s in the mail and dug into it quickly.

And there is a lot to like about the book. Dredge starts with a bang, in Germany with the Reinheitsgebot. But that tone of beer fan then cuts to lager history and that playfulness goes with it to an extent. It is clear there are some aspects of lager that really excite him, like the dive bars of Vietnam where gas tanks hold the beer and other areas where it seems he had to include to complete the story but leaves quickly like China.

This split personality structure stopped me from enjoying the book especially in the latter half which becomes a chapter by chapter tour of various countries and their part in the lager legacy.

I would have liked to have seen a more novella approach. Part 1 being German lagers and the foursome of brewers who started it. Part 2 being the American side of the story. Part 3 Asian influence and then Part 4 could slide into talk of the future. Then Dredge could have really dove in and the anecdotes would have packed more punch.

Overall, there are a lot of golden nuggets of lager knowledge to be found within the pages but the book’s momentum stalls out too many times.

Hopefully not too Brief

This is what I am talking about. Delving into lager should yield some fascinating topics and sub-topics especially with Mark Dredge at the wheel. This book will be coming out in September (probably in England first and then the US.)

Beer Bloggers + Brew Dog =

What happens when you get three of the leading lights of Craft Beer Writing and let them create a beer with the BrewDog?

“The result is a 7.5% ‘Imperious Pilsner’. Zak wrote some label copy that goes on about killing your ideals and worshipping your heroes and stuff, which is really good and adorns the bottle label. But basically it’s doing to lager what new wave brewers such as Brew Dog have done to pale ales, porters and stouts. (I’m not saying we’re the first – just that that’s what we did.) It features an insane amount of Saaz hops, and was lagered for a full six weeks before being dry-hopped with yet more Saaz.”

Kudos to Zak Avery, Mark Dredge and Pete Brown!

Featured beer blog: Mark Dredge

Americans are awash in great beer. So much so that other locales are ignored somewhat simply because our ‘fridges and interwebs bookmarks are packed with great beer and great beer blogs.

But I suggest taking the time to read the Pencil and Spoon by Mark Dredge.

I talked with Mark briefly at the Beer Bloggers Conference last year and can tell you that he knows and is passionate about beer. And it shows in his writings.

Open It!

Mark Dredge (who I had the pleasure to meet at the Beer Bloggers Conference) has come up with a great idea. A weekend where beer lovers open up their beer treasure chests and open up that craft beer they have been saving for a special occasion.

Here is the rationale behind the agenda:
“So here’s the idea: let’s create a special occasion. Let’s call this special occasion Open It! and let’s drink the good beers. Let’s find a bottle from the depth of the cellar and open it, drink it and then tell others about it (in blogs, blog comments or twitter or facebook).

Open it alone or open it with others; hold an Open It! party or take it to the pub to see what people think. Most importantly, get that bottle open and drink the thing and then tell everyone about it.

Open It! over the first weekend in December — Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th — and then blog about it in the week after. Use the #openit hashtag on twitter while you are drinking it and like the Facebook group. It’s just about opening something special and enjoying it.”

I am thinking about popping open the Monstre Rouge on one of those days.