There’s something about books that we can’t shake. Maybe it’s the heft — the physical space occupied by a book — or the timeless scent of bound paper and ink. Perhaps it's the low-tech, battery-free operation that we find so appealing. As hikers, backpackers, and travelers, we believe books are worth the weight. You’ll always find one in our packs.
Because of our longstanding love of books, we’ve added a new section to the site: Book and Brew Reviews. Here, we’ll review hiking, beer, and travel-related books while enjoying a beer or two along the way.
Global Beer Tour
For our first review, we secured a copy of Lonely Planet’s new Global Beer Tour book — and some beer to go along with it! Let’s dive right in.
Lonely Planet has long been the gold standard of travel guidebooks worldwide. In my own travels, I’ve carried their blue books from Seattle to such far-flung destinations as Turkey, Thailand, and Italy, leaning on their carefully curated research even in the age of the internet. Having long relied on Lonely Planet travel guides, I was delighted to discover that they’ve published a brand new book about another subject that I hold near and dear: beer.
This book checks all the boxes. Hardcover heft, bookish nose, bright and colorful appearance. We won’t go so far as to review the mouthfeel, however (it’s been done). We like the clean design and simplicity throughout Global Beer Tour. The intro gets right to the point, leading with a brief definition of craft beer and explaining the reasons behind “beer touring”, or beer travel. Essentially, beer doesn’t travel well so it’s always best to drink from the source!
After discussing basic brewing ingredients and the brewing process, the authors waste no time jumping right in. Five beer-producing regions are included, from The Americas to Oceania. Here’s our breakdown of a few close to home and across the seas.
The Pacific Northwest
With thousands of breweries nationwide, the US is well represented in Global Beer Tour. In our corner of the PNW, Oregon makes a strong showing with Bend, Hood River, and Portland represented. Washington comes up a bit short with just two Seattle breweries — Pike and Populuxe — making the cut. While these are certainly representative choices, we’d love to see a little more Washington in the next edition. Psst...Lonely Planet...Bellingham, WA is the next big PNW beer town (and if you happen to need local authors, you know who to call)!
The Rest of the World
Outside America, several Canadian breweries are covered — including a few from our beloved neighbor to the north, Vancouver. Further abroad, we’ve sipped Hitachino Nest White Ale at True Brew (a train station pub) in Japan, and can verify that Lonely Planet’s coverage is spot-on. Similarly, the writeup of Craftworks Namsan in South Korea is true to our experience, even suggesting a visit to the N Seoul Tower atop Namsan — though we hiked rather than taking the cable car.
And of course, there are many places we haven’t been but would love to go. For example, who knew that “beer is booming in Ethiopia”? Not we! Wanna know how to say “Cheers!” or ask for a beer in the local language? Global Beer Tour has you covered. It’s pronounced “Leh-tay-nah-chen” in Ethiopia. Now you know.
One of our favorite features of the book is its suggestions of local highlights near the breweries. Nearby hikes, bike rides, galleries, and museums are recommended — like the famous Gum Wall, Great Wheel, and Pike Place Market near Pike Brewing in Seattle. To locals these may be considered tourist traps, but they are fun, easy-to-access points of interest near the brewery. Hell, we are locals and have visited them all more than once!
Lists are included throughout Global Beer Tour, featuring Weird Beers of the world, international Hangover Cures, Ale Trails, and more. These lists are a fun addition for the brew newbie or casual enthusiast, and even the most studied of beer scholars is bound to learn something new. We particularly enjoyed the Ale Trails section because it describes a 14-km forest hike in Bavaria full of breweries! Adding that one to our list for sure.
Travel Notes International IPA
To celebrate the release of Global Beer Tour, Lonely Planet collaborated with a couple breweries to release Travel Notes International IPA.
Collaboration beers are a tricky thing to pull off — especially ones that bring in unconventional adjuncts. But in the hands of Northern Monk Brew Co. and Fieldwork Brewing, Travel Notes IPA overcomes all the pitfalls that lesser beers have fallen into before. Sourced from five continents, each ingredient is well thought out.
Travel Notes pours a hazy rose gold, like the first sunset you witness over a foreign land. The nose is subtle but predominantly citrus in tone. This IPA is juicy straight through with a bite of hops from the start. The South African mangos combine with the citrus, and tropical notes of American hops, while New Zealand hops give impressions of gooseberry. The fruity hop flavors give way to a crisp bitter finish, touched by the tartness of South American açaí berries. As Travel Notes warms up a bit, the açaí character becomes more pronounced.
Overall, this is a great representation of the current trend of fruit infused IPAs. Unfortunately, it's a limited run. According to the press release: "Travel Notes will be available in select locations across Northern California, the UK and Europe." In other words: to get your hands on Travel Notes, you're most likely gonna have to travel!
Overall, we highly recommend both book and beer for inspiration in your beer travels. Cheers!
BEHIND THE SCENES: WATCH THE MAKING OF TRAVEL NOTES HERE
We were provided a complimentary copy of Global Beer Tour (and a couple cans of Travel Notes) by the publisher for review. All opinions are our own :)