Friday, November 20, 2009

Book review: Drinking and Driving in Colorado

Drinking and Driving in ColoradoI found a new Colorado beer related book this week while surfing around on the Internet. I've been looking for some kind of Colorado brewpub reference guide and now there's finally one that's available. This book is called, strangely enough, "Drinking and Driving in Colorado: A Guide to Colorado's Brewpubs" by a husband/wife team Kathy & Lee Hayward. This book is billed as a guide to the 75+ brewpubs and also lists 19 breweries. They claim to review over 500 craft beers in this guide. I was intrigued so I went to their web site and ordered one.

What caught my eye about this book was the title: "Drinking and Driving in Colorado". It made me initially think this book was about DUI laws or something related to the legal issues of alcohol consumption in Colorado, but no, it's simply a compact guide to all of the known Colorado brewpubs in the state and the driving trip they took in their motor home to visit them all.

Update: The 2011 edition of this book was renamed: Tapping Colorado Craft Beer and is billed as a sequel. Apparently there was enough concern about the original title to change it.

Back coverThe book does not review the 19+ bigger breweries in the state, like New Belgium, Odell Brewing or Great Divide, but rather focuses on the establishments that not only brew their own beer but also serves food on their premises. The book does list the addresses of 19 main breweries but does review them.

The book breaks out the various brewpubs by 6 different regions of the state: Denver Metro, Front Range, Northwest, South Central, Southwest and Central Mountains.

Each brewpub that is reviewed is given two full pages in the book and includes a short history and overview, locational information, beers sampled, a synopsis of the city where it's located and an interesting random beer quote. See an example to the left.

Example pagesThe six sections also include a handy map showing a beer glass icon over the city where the brewpubs are located. The maps will help the prospective beer traveler to plan out a route to visit all of the brewpubs in the particular region of the state.

While not all of the beers that were available from a particular brewpub are listed, the Haywards give several examples of the beers that they sampled during their visit. Each page has one or two pictures of the particular brewpub.

The book finishes up with several indexes in the back of the book summarizing individual beer names, a regular index, plus a listing of all the brewpubs. The book has a web site where updates to the book will be published. The list of Colorado brewpubs is constantly changing so readers are invited to check back with their web site before venturing out on a planned beer outing.

This guide was new for 2009. It doesn't sell on but can purchased from links from their website: The book retails for $19.95 for the 187-page guide. The 2011 sequel, Tapping Colorado Craft Beer, is the same price but is now only 104 pages.

I found the book to be very compact and well referenced. It would be a nice guide to keep in the car as you drive around visiting different places around Colorado.

The only downside to this book is that the maps don't include the locations of the bigger well known craft breweries in the state and there are a few errors in the names and address listings. I'm sure the second edition, whenever it comes out, will update everything with even more listings and more beer reviews. (It does).

2nd edition coverThe only other thing was I wish was included in the book were more extensive beer reviews. Typically they will describe each beer sampled in 1 or 2 sentences. I suppose that was an attempt to keep the number of pages down to a minimum, but still I wanted to know more about those beers they sampled. Having over 500 beers reviewed in a fourth the number of pages doesn't leave much room for details.

Overall, I was satisfied with this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a small handy but basic guide to all of the Colorado brewpubs. I'll leave it up to you whether the near $20 cost is worth it but you can always get much more detailed information on the web yourself with your app phone.

The authors, Lee and Kathy Hayward, were also once the Colorado Brew Pubs Examiner on Their bio states: "After teaching for a total of 58 years, Lee and Kathy retired and said "Let's go get a beer". So they have visited all 78 brewpubs in Colorado and written a guide book to Colorado's brewpubs called "Drinking and Driving in Colorado: A Guide to Colorado's Brewpubs." They are constantly on the lookout for good craft beer."

Related articles:
- The Beer Journal - take note of your beer.
- Colorado Brewery and Brewpubs list.
- Colorado Homebrew Supply Stores list.

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