It wasn't until I moved to Portland that I started to feel like a total novice about beer. I drank it, I liked it, what more is there to it than that? But Portlanders treat beer the way Vermonters treat cheese. It can be intimidating for someone like me, who just wants a damn beer, not a lecture on hop varieties.

But this book just showed up in my mailbox, Beer Craft by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. It's ostensibly an easy step-by-step for people who want to start doing small batch homebrewing from their apartments, but it's actually a well-done primer on all things brewing. The book mixes quick brewer interviews with a just-long-enough piece on the history of beer making and plenty of interesting charts (like one below the cut of American beer consumption over the decades). One of the interviews is with Oregon's own beardy Rogue brewer John Maier, who comes off as an eccentric, old-school craftsman. Engaging, unsnobby writing and super design pulled me all the way through, I definitely recommend it for people who feel like a (drunk) fish out of water during conversations about beer. Which is good, because we're entering high beer-festival season.

Has anyone else picked this up yet? Either way, check out the chart below the cut.