Beerknurds at The Lake and Fort Worth are in for a treat as acclaimed author, beer expert, and all around great guy, Stephen Beaumont, will be making special appearances at each location. Mr. Beaumont is making the rounds with his writing partner, Tim Webb, to talk about their newest book, BEST BEERS.
Beerknurds have the chance to pregame and tailgate with Mr. Beaumont and Mr. Webb at The Lake before Sunday’s Cowboys game and at Fort Worth before Monday Night Football. Each event is centered around a multi-course menu that perfectly pairs delicious food with beers which appear in BEST BEERS. Mr. Beaumont previously chatted with us while promoting his book THE BEER & FOOD COMPANION, so you know that these pairings will be killer.
We had the chance to ask Mr. Beaumont a few questions ahead of his visits so that we could learn more about what he’s been up to, what his book is about, and hopefully absorb some of the incredible beer knowledge that he possesses.
What have you been up to since you last published and toured for THE BEER AND FOOD COMPANION?
Short answer: A lot! In addition to researching and writing BEST BEERS and publishing a second, fully revised and updated edition of our WORLD ATLAS OF BEER, I’ve been traveling around for my next book, WILL TRAVEL FOR BEER, which comes out in the spring of 2018, and also coordinating a charitable beer initiative in Canada called Gold Medal Pints. Plus, you know, all the regular writing and speaking and consulting.
What can guests expect at your upcoming Saucer events? Why should they be excited to come? (Other than the treat of meeting yourself and Tim.)
Well, obviously meeting Tim and me is the big draw, and getting to be among the first people in the world to get their hands on a copy of BEST BEERS! But aside from all that, the Saucers have done their usual wonderful job of putting together a terrific menu that we have paired with some of the world’s great beers, from Texas and Canada and around the world! Oh, and there will be plenty of stories about beer and breweries and beer travels, too!
The Saucer events are set up as pregame/tailgating events (because…Texas), which are obviously events made better when the beer and food pair perfectly. You covered this topic in your last book. What pairings are you most looking forward to at the Saucer?
At the Lake location, I’m excited about partnering one of Switzerland’s great beers, a vintage edition of Abbaye de St. Bon Chien, with a relatively simple Open Faced Turkey Pastrami on Rye, while in Fort Worth the prospect of a Rhubarb Cobbler with Harvistoun Old Engine Oil Reserve has me already salivating.
What is your criteria for judging “best beers”? In your new book, you break down your rankings into “icons”, “can’t miss”, and “to watch.” What are the criteria for deciding “icons”, “can’t miss” and “to watch”?
Can’t Miss breweries are those that make a variety of beer styles and do so with consistent excellence. We were pretty stingy with this designation, awarding it to only 107 breweries in the entire world, while Breweries to Watch are young – under 3 years of age at the time of writing – operations that already show the potential for greatness.
In terms of criteria, well, we and our stable of international beer experts have tasted a lot of beers in our lives and have learned from experience what separates the merely good from the truly great. The beers in the book made that cut.
How much work has gone into tasting all of these beers? How often do you go back to reevaluate?
Tasting is an ongoing process. Tim and I both travel around the world on a regular basis and sample everywhere we go. But of course we can’t try everything, so we have our stable of international experts who help us out by identifying greatness in their regions, and also keep our proverbial ears to the ground to keep track of which breweries might be improving greatly, which are unfortunately headed in the opposite direction, and which new operations are showing the most promise.
How much bad beer have you tasted?
What? You mean today? More seriously, I taste a lot of unfortunate beer still, but it’s a lot less than it was ten or twenty years ago.
Without divulging too much, we noticed that you have included some breweries that are owned by “Big Beer.” Did you have your own criteria or guidelines in regards to independent, conglomerate, etc. when it came to including those beers in the book?
Breweries aren’t penalized for being owned by “Big Beer,” but because we think ownership matters, we do indicate where breweries are owned by larger entities.
We’ve seen that “NE IPAs” have been the biggest rage for a while and it seems that pilsners and easy-drinking lagers in general are coming on strongly now. Have you noticed this or any other trends in the US? Do trends cross borders? Are there any universal/global trends?
I would say that the one big global trend is breweries developing national beer styles. We see it in New Zealand, where they work expertly with their unique collection of locally-grown hops, Italy, where wine must and barrels play a steadily growing role, Brazil, where they are using the literal fruits (and also woods) of the Amazon, and any number of other countries besides.
Which of the world’s beer scenes are you most excited about or should make people really sit up and pay attention?
Mexico. Seriously, keep an eye on Mexico.
What tips can you offer travelers to help them investigate and find the best beers and avoid the “tourist trap/resort beers” while traveling? (Other than reading your book, obviously.)
Talk to locals. Nobody knows their beer scene better than someone who lives in the middle of it, so if you can find a knowledgeable bartender or server, or just someone sitting at the bar drinking an interesting beer, listen to their recommendations and follow them. The worst that can happen is that you get a good travel story for your next dinner party!
Thank you to Stephen Beaumont for his time and for including the Saucer on his book tour. We’re extremely excited. Limited seats remain for both the Lake and for Fort Worth’s events. If you would like to attend give the stores a call and ask how can reserve your seat:
Sunday, November 12th @ 1:30PM – Lake Flying Saucer – (972) 226-0725
Monday, November 13th @ 7PM – Fort Worth Flying Saucer – (817) 336-7470
BEST BEER: THE INDISPENSABLE GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S BEERS is out now. Buy it on Amazon.com or wherever the hell else you may buy books online. You can also check out more of Stephen Beaumont’s great beer musings at his website: beaumontdrinks.com