“The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer” (Perigee Trade, $19.95) by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune would make a great gift for the foodie or wine lover on your holiday list. Even know-it-all beer geeks will appreciate the breezy, often humorous approach these two female beer lovers take.
“Beer loves you,” is the way Perozzi and Beaune (pronounced “bone”) introduce the book. Soon after, they write, “We go where the funny go, and luckily, so does beer.” But beyond the giggles and goofy puns (”I Wanna Bock With You”), there’s a wealth of knowledge — from beer history and styles to food pairing and home brewing.
Perozzi and Beaune are Los Angeles women and veterans of the famed beer bar Father’s Office in Santa Monica. Perozzi founded the Web site www.beerforchicks.com and works as a beer consultant and sommelier.
Beaune writes about beer for the Web magazine The Rundown and frequently hosts beer dinners at L.A. fine dining restaurants.
I caught up with Beaune last week by phone, while she and Perozzi were in Portland, Oregon promoting “The Naked Pint.” Here’s a bit of our conversation.
Q: “The Naked Pint” is a rather provocative title, what’s the bigger, better story behind the name?
A: We wanted to strip away the misconceptions about beer [laughs]. We wanted to let people know what beer is really about — learn the true ingredients, and get to know the different styles, how beer goes so well with food, and how you can brew it at home.
Q: The book covers a lot of ground. Who’s it aimed at?
A: It’s aimed at people who are fairly new to craft beer. There are a lot of great books that have been written about beer. And they’re fine for people who know quite a bit about craft beer. We both worked at a craft beer bar where we dealt with many people who were new to craft beer and we figured out to get them into it by going through flavor profiles. Asking, do you want something chocolate or nutty?
Do you want something that tastes like lemon or pepper? That’s sort of where Beer 101 starts.
Q: What got you into beer, rather than, say, wine or spirits?
A: We love wine, and we’ll enjoy a good martini or a Manhattan or a peaty Scotch. But when we worked at Father’s Office, there were 36 craft beers on tap, and there were no mass-produced beers. We really had to make the transition and learn about craft beer. And we just got very excited about it.
Q: Why do you suppose so many more younger women are interested in craft beer these days?
A: It just makes sense. Why it hadn’t happened before now is more the mystery. Women have been given a lot of misinformation and beer myths. This idea that you’re supposed to be drinking something superlight and supercold, and that beer is superhigh in calories. Of course, there are a lot of men who don’t know anything about beer, either. Women love good wine and great food, and it’s just a matter of being introduced to the flavors of craft beer, we find.
Q: The book has a lot of humor, beginning with the section titled “Beer Is Funny,” and going on to some pretty tortured puns, and a few naughty asides, is that just how you roll?
A: While we were writing, if we’d make each other laugh, then we kept it in the book. We have a very similar sense of humor, and we knew we wanted to make it fun. If you’re in a bar, and you’re drinking beer, it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable. We want beer to be considered and respected, like wine, in terms of the quality and pairing it with food. However, we don’t want it to be in a snooty realm. We don’t want it to seem inaccessible.
Q: Here comes the question we all get asked, and hate, but let’s try it anyway — what’s your favorite beer?
A: I knew you were going to say that. Of course, it changes. The silly answer is the beer in front of us. But I really like saisons a lot. They pair really well with a variety of foods. And I’ve always loved Orval. That’s one of my all-time favorites.