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Reviewed by Janet Green for Readers' Favorite
"Stay loose." This directive early in the book grabbed my thought process and pervaded every word written thereafter. It is definitely an important directive in this guide to how a beer lover can learn to appreciate the mysterious vino and its people, and perhaps help winos better understand their hophead brethren as well. The guide takes you through quick tutorials and more in-depth details of both the similarities between beer and wine, and their differences. It is comprehensive enough to be informative and sketch-like enough to stay interesting. Probably the most satisfying passage is where Mr. Laughren says, in effect: 'Don't try to read all this in one sitting. Pick a region, pick a topic, come back at your leisure. There's no rush.' This was an impressive move, precisely at the point where a beer drinker might have gone to get a beer and left the book behind. It gives the reader great hope, provides some breathing room, and allows the reader the freedom to sample the dialogue at his or her own pace, just as the author suggests a beer drinker do with the fruit of the vine.
The editing is superior - what a pleasure! At the same time, the witticisms scattered throughout are unfettered by editorial rules. It is just beautiful stuff. This is a book that I would gladly share with my beer-drinker cronies, while keeping a copy stashed away for myself.