I received my copy of Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium on Tuesday. It is a very nice looking book:

Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium

It arrived in excellent condition (I bought it used from a seller on Amazon.com since it is hard to find new copies – the book is either out of print or unavailable to book-sellers in the US).

The book is a decent read so far. It has lots of details on the history of Belgium, the history of Belgium’s many unique beer styles, and a great many stories about numerous breweries in Belgium. There are also pictures and tasting notes of many of Belgium’s most acclaimed beers. In fact, the inside covers are covered with pictures of Belgian brews:

The book's inside cover, plastered with pictures of beer

Overall, it is a very fine addition to my library. In addition to being a good read (Michael Jackson was, after all, a very good writer), it is also a gorgeous book. For instance, at the beginning and end of each chapter is a huge two-page color picture of something beautiful (always either beer or food).

A chapter heading from the book, showing off its aesthetic qualities

The history on Lambic and Oud Bruin have been the most interesting so far, but I haven’t even gotten to the chapters on my personal favorites: Abbey and Trappist beers (the latter pictured above).

The only complaint I have is that the book contains a great many typographical errors. In some places it is punctuation, others slightly off formatting, and still others misspelled words. Many of the punctuation and spelling errors appear to be the cause of bad OCR software (optical character recognition). Perhaps the whole manuscript was scanned in from another source prior to this edition being released… Aside from these issues (which are in fact devilishly distracting), the book is laid out well, and the formatting and text is all easy on the eyes.

For any fans of Michael Jackson’s writing, I highly recommend this book. It goes into much greater detail and depth than does The New World Guide To Beer, so if you enjoyed that book and are wanting to learn more about Belgium and her beers, this is the book for you.