One of my most anticipated drinks books of the year has just arrived on my doormat; so I thought I'd write a few words on my thoughts on Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw's new book: World's Best Cider.[post title a nod to Pete's favourite cider ;)]
So aside from the grandeur on the dust jacket ("most successful beer writer" and "greatest cider expert" both sounding perhaps a little far fetched, but I'll let it pass as marketing exuberance) does this book pass muster? Its great to see cider put into layman's terms (it is after all the layman's drink) with some of the myths debunked and a handy guide to what to drink and apple based alcohol drink variants around the world. Yes, this beer also covers those drinks distilled from cider such as apple brandy and eau de vie. It may be pedantic, but if you're going to include Northern Ireland within the island of Ireland (makes sense in the context of the book) then the rest of the UK should be labelled "Great Britain". Politics aside (and real vs "fake" cider is also covered) its great to see the new Northern Ireland producers featured, albeit in very brief form with similar thoughts as my own.**
For me its the coverage of North American cider culture where this book excels, an area I previously knew very little about, but thanks to almost 60 pages in this book I feel like I'm well on the way to also becoming a cider expert...ahem. A short but well curated bibliography of websites and books should help those eager to find out more.
I've long admired Bill Bradshaw's photography and they look great in glossy format in this coffee table tome, including some previously unseen pics, and I'd go so far as to say these are worth the cover price (£25 but as usual cheaper on Amazon) alone. Its certainly the most attractive cider book I've seen to date and one I'll continue to flick through long after I've absorbed the information. It certainly leaves you thirsty!
There's also a cider with food section, alternative dining options to wine being all the rage these days and there are some great suggestions I'm looking forward to trying out. Chocolate and cider brandy truffles anyone?
So pedantry aside, this is a fantastic book for the cider lover in your life, it looks great, packed full of information and out right in time for the Christmas rush. It officially launches next thursday (I paid for my copy on Amazon, no freebies this time!) so keep an eye on Pete's blog for launch events near you.
*I'm from Somerset and drink a fair amount of cider as per stereotype.
**Sadly no acknowledgement for your humble reporter but I'm sure plenty of people helped out who weren't named either!
World's Best Cider By Pete Brown & Bill Bradshaw RRP £25 Jacqui Small LLP (London) ISBN: 978-1-906417-99-4