I am a beer lover through and through. I have made the stuff, cooked with it, and served it with a wide array of food. I am also thrilled that Americans are once again discovering fine brews and that microbreweries have made a startling comeback from near extinction. Almost every liquor store carries not only the token quality beer, but an ever widening selection of quality porters, lagers, lambics, stouts, bocks, double bocks, triple stouts, etc. Restaurants are following suit, but at a decidedly more cautious pace.
There are presently a number of excellent beer books on the market that aid consumers trying to make sense out of the increasing availability of new beers and new styles. While not the end-all text on beer, The Beer Lover's Rating Guide is helpful for anyone who is serious about choosing good beer. The book is small, inexpensive and an easy reference in a pinch. The book opens with a crash course on beer--how it's made, different styles, different glasses, a rating system, common faults, etc.
The bulk of the book is a solid, quick-reference guide for choosing beer. Hundreds of beers are listed alphabetically, profiled, and rated on a 1-5 scale. As with any rating guide, people will always disagree (sometimes rather passionately) as to the merits of one beer versus another. Little snippets of beer trivia are scattered throughout the book.
In general, Bob Klein's suggestions are accurate even if I occasionally take issue with him on a few of his ratings. One thing is for sure, Bob Klein is no pushover--very few of the beers in this book make it to the 4-5 range!