Let’s call The Beer Guppy’s Guide to Southern California another piece in the puzzle, and hope that author Jay Sheveck doesn’t quit with just one.
Another piece because this gives us one more regional guide to places that serve quality beer. As you can tell by the title, it’s for Southern California. It’s quite a bit different than the format Lew Bryson established for guides east of the Mississippi. Since followed rather closely by Paul Ruschmann and Maryanne Nasiatka (Michigan) and not so closely by Andy Crouch (New England). And also different than books about Illinois and Wisconsin breweries or the Brewpub Explorer of the Pacific Northwest.
[The quick aside here. If these regional guides had existed in 1994 we never would have set out to compile the Beer Travelers Guide, and sure has heck wouldn't have done an update. We'll soon been headed back for an extended stay on the road, and may even write about a few beer joints along the way, but there will NOT be a third edition.]
Jay Sheveck’s book is different first of all because it looks like a magazine, with an 8 1/2 x 11 format and 100 pages. Open a page and you’ll think utilitarian. Generally three entries to a page, lots of information, not a lot of prose. Icons for everything (backed up by information).
For instance, let’s turn to Page 58. Old Baldy Brewing (in Upland) occupies the middle column, Seven house beers are listed, seven seasonsals, just a bit of information about the brewhouse itself, some about the pub itself, regular events, easy-to-read hours and a bit of history. And at the bottom the icons tell you about live music, outdoor seating, if you can find hand-pumped beers, etc.
Sheveck says he spent five year researching the book and it shows. He plans four more books like this one. (Or four more pieces for those of us who see the United States as a giant beer puzzle).
He’s included 300 microbreweries, brewpubs, alehouse, restaurants, retailers, homebrew organizations and beer events (beyond the basic events at breweries and pubs).
More information is available at www.BeerGuppy.com.