Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writing about Beer

You wouldn't think the above words would give me pause, but they are. I've been asked to write up a quick (200 word) primer on craft beer for the second edition of a friend's book. What we have in mind is something that covers the basics but also gives enough to go on that the discerning reader — who isn't already up on craft beer — will know which way to go and what he is tasting and finding.

Style is admittedly giving me a little trouble. My friend's writing is a little more on the savvy magazine edge than my usual prose, but I can live with that. I'm rusty but not so rusty I can't find the right tone. No. What's getting me is the style of presentation. Is it better to give a quick list — a sort of best-of of the craft beer world that will give any reader the right place to start? Or is it better to give a run-down of styles and terms to know? Or is it better to pull together some nice clear prose that takes a more narrative approach?

It feels odd to be stuck on my first writing assignment in years. It feels even stranger to be stuck when it comes to a subject I know so much about. So here goes a bit of crowdsourcing... If you were looking for a quick primer on what it means when someone says "craft beer," would you rather have a list of styles, a list of go-to beers, or some fuller prose to chew on?

I'd love to hear suggestions in the comments.