Book Review: 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio by Rick Armon

Rick Armon, from the Akron Beacon Journal, has just released his new book 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio (buy it on Amazon). This book takes a look at Rick’s list of 50 must-try beers from around the state. From the weird to the extreme, to beers with great stories, and some beers that are almost inarguably The Best, at least based on medal counts, though someone will always try to argue it.

Look, I’ll be honest, what follows is not my normal unbiased review. I’ve known Rick for a few years now, consider him a friend, and love getting beers with him when he’s in town. I also provided some advice on what beers to include in 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio, especially when replacements were needed toward the end of his writing process.

50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio

50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio NOT Best beers!

This book isn’t the “Best Beers” of Ohio, it’s the Must-Try beers. As Rick states in the intro

The best beer is whatever you think it is.

The way I phrase this is that I don’t have your tongue, your preferences, or your experiences. The first time I ever had a smoked beer it tasted like a burning log and I’ve hated them ever since. I know Rick loves them. Rick’s not a fan of sour beers, but I go nuts for them. So how could he tell you, or anyone, what the best beer in Ohio is when everyone’s tastes are different.

50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio White Rajah

Instead, this book is a list of beers everyone should try at least once in their lives. Many, honestly most, of these beers are amazingly delicious. But, at least one of them is a vile abomination upon the earth that will lead only to regret (looking at you Ghost Scorpion Lager). And sadly, one of them is no longer of this earth, #RIPBlankSlate. Luckily, most of these beers are available at local Cincinnati bars and bottle shops, though you should plan a drive across the state for Willoughby Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter as soon as possible.

More than just a list of beers

The core of the book is a list of 50 beers to try, but Rick also includes the 10 coolest breweries to visit, the 10 coolest brewery names, 10 influential individuals in the Ohio craft beer industry, and 10 Ohio foods paired with Ohio craft beers. Each of these sections adds in nice extra content to enrich your Ohio beer experience. I’m especially excited to try the food and beer pairings.

Obviously, I think 50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio is a must buy book (on Amazon) for biased reasons like supporting my friend Rick. But I honestly do think this is a great book that folks should pick up to start working their way through the list because these really are must-try beers, even if they’re vile abominations they’re worth experiencing once. And hey, it’s only $18 that’s less than 2 6-packs.

Live with Rick Armon

Rick was in town last weekend to support the book with a book signing at MadTree. After the event at MadTree, we stopped by Fretboard Brewing to continue Rick’s conquest of visiting every brewery in Ohio. While there we stole one of their Creative Spaces for a talk all about the book.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was involved in the writing of this book discussing what beers to include and finding replacement beers when breweries canceled them or the brewery closed.

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