Summer beer books are a lot like summer movies. Fun, if not always a Utopias sort of memorable moment. But if you have ever done, or maybe still do, crazy things like keg stands when the summer days (and subtitles) get longer, the just-released Beer Awesomeness: A Champion's Guide to Party Skills, Amazing Beer Activities, and More than 40 Drinking Games may very well be the book you've been waiting for. It is a guidebook to being the life of the summer keg party, or the biggest beer oaf in the room who will never be invited back, depending on your friends' sipping habits.
If you're intrigued, get the "awesome" summary after the jump. And if you're not, well, the Beer Tasting Tool Kit by Jeff Alworth might well be more up your alley.
Chapters in Beer Awesomness by Ben Applebaum and Dan Disorbo (also the book's illustrator) include "Beer Drinking Basics" (unique ways to open beer cans, beer euphemisms and other party-conversation fodder). From there, we move on to chapters covering "Advanced Skills," "Games of Memory," "Games of Strategy," "Games of Skill" and "Games of No Skill and Strategy."
Other than the occasional Trivial Pursuit-like memory renditions, these all basically boil down to card games, games involving dice (and often cups), those involving quarters, those involving cups, and those involving quarters and cups. The name of each game is potentially half the party fun -- Fuzzy Duck, Cornhole and Beeramid among them.
In case you were wondering (you were wondering), "advanced keg stand technique" tips are here, too, with moves like "the gargoyle" that involve perching on the stand. Beer sport tips for games like Beer Pong also abound, although something called "Dizzy Bat" sounded entirely too dangerous on name alone for us to read further. And yet here we are, three paragraphs later, still flipping through a book on beer games -- the quirky drawings and layout are oddly compelling.
Moving on to the Beer Tasting Tool Kit, also published by Chronicle Books in a very "hops-onian" sort of democratic way -- albeit earlier this year, not in these crazy beer game summer months. Jeff Alworth, the Portland-based writer behind Beervana, put together what amounts to the beer equivalent of a wine tasting kit. Inside you will find a tasting guidebook, several notepads for you/your friends and a one-page tip sheet.
All very handy items for a tasting, even if those 18 paper sacks with Beer Tasting Tool Kit logos on them -- cotton twine, too -- seem like an odd, awfully Martha Stewart-esque inclusion when plain old (recycled!) paper sacks would work just fine. Especially among our beer friends. We suspect their inclusion was likely at the publisher's insistence to entice those Nordstrom's bridal registry sort of accounts.
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But hey, any book/tasting kit hybrid that can convince us to set aside our preconceived notions works for us. Initially, and yes, unfairly -- never judge a beer by its cover -- a German-style Gose among Widmer Brothers' new summer releases rubbed us the wrong (read: trendy) Oregon Marionberry and dried hibiscus flower way when we read the label. Tasted blind, there was just enough of a sour balance on those overly sweet notes to win our favor for the night, at least at the Widmer level of everyday price accessibility. Just our kind of drinking game.
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