Book Review: The Little Book of Craft Beer (Melissa Cole)

Book Review: The Little Book of Craft Beer (Melissa Cole)

A Craft Beer Guide Primer

I think the best way to sum up this little (roughly 170 readable pages) is that its a good craft beer guide primer. Published in 2017 – so a pre – covid book – it does a good job of summarizing the craft beer market at the time. Its now roughly 5 – 6 years (depending on month of publishing, plus length of time to write it) since its been written and released, so theres a small bit of dating to it, but not much really. This will probably change as the book ages though.

A little book of craft beer is a great introduction idea to newbies, or those wanting to familiarize themselves with beer and craft beer in particular. Each field has books like this; be it architecture, art, history, education, literature, cryptocurrency, management, leadership, etc. A basic bare bones small book of introduction and acts as a primer into that particular field.

You can find our article on “What is Craft Beer?” here: What is Craft Beer? It makes for a good primer on what is considered craft beer (versus macro, large scale beer).

Melissa Cole

Melissa Cole is a craft beer writer, enthusiast, connoisseur, journalist, and sommelier. She is primarily based out of the United Kingdom but has traveled extensively for the craft beer industry. She has done beer judging at small and large competitions, as well as traveled to write for different magazines, websites, and publishers.

For a list of Melissa Cole’s books on GoodReads you can click here: Melissa Cole’s List of Books (GoodReads).

BeerAdvocate as an interview article on their website they conducted with her. You can find that here: Melissa Cole – Beer Writer (January 2015).

The Little Book of Craft Beer: A Guide to Over 100 of the World’s Finest Brews

The GoodReads description:

There is an increasing demand for information on the best craft beers around the world, and how best to pair it with food. Look no further: this is your essential guide to knowing everything you need to know about craft beer; how to make it, the different styles and how to match it with food.

The Little Book of Craft Beer: A Guide to Over 100 of the World’s Finest Brews

Book Review

As I said above, this is a great little guide book, a primer, an introduction book to help people get into the craft beer community. Melissa Cole even prefaces it as such. She does a good job telling you upfront of what this is, what the book can be used for, who its mainly intended for, and how to basically use and read the book.

The chapters are broken down by beer types; light beers, lagers, dark beers, Belgians, fruit beers, sour beers, etc. Each chapter then proceeds to give roughly ten to sixteen different beer selections of that style (Racer 5 by Bear Republic for IPA, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout for big beers, etc.), before moving on to a page or two of a cocktail recipe and a page or two of food pairings.

There is a lot of good examples from across the world in each chapter. Usually a beer or two from the UK, a beer or two from mainland Europe, a beer or two from the USA, and a beer or two from South America, with a few more beers sprinkled in. This gives each chapter a nice, full well rounded look at the beers of that style from around the world. Obviously the book can’t show every IPA or every Belgian or every Sour, but it does a good job of giving you the big name ones that are somewhat readily available. Rather than listing one offs by breweries, she lists flagships and staple beers from the different breweries.

The book as a whole is well written, with personal notes about the author to make it feel friendly and accessible and more personal, rather than just “here’s beer X, it tastes like X, Y, Z” and then moves on to “beer Y, it tastes like X, Y, Z”. Its nice to be able to read her voice in the little mini reviews for each beer, and also with some history behind the beer, or the brewery, or the beermaster behind it.

This is a pretty quick and easy read, its 176 pages total (hardcover format) and smaller book size. The last six or so pages are index, thank yous, etc. There is a large format chapter page to each chapter (just the name of the chapter on one page) with a side page of being large font text describing the chapter, and there is occasional Canva style beer drawings throughout the book. You can easily breeze through this book in the course of a weekend. Which makes it both accessible, quick, easy, and a good primer. A good start book of my year.

With my goal this year being 100 books (doing the GoodReads “Book Challenge” rather than the 110 like last year) this was a good starting point. I should shortly have the book called “Drunks” finished, as my second book. Seems fitting to have that be the second book completed for the year.

This year I’m planning on writing up the book reviews as soon as I finish them, so theres not as much lag time on book completion to article here on the blog – and I am also planning on doing a book review for nearly each book I read this year, unlike last year where I ended up missing most, or writing the book reviews far later.

My GoodReads rating: ***
My LibraryThing rating: ***.5
Global GoodReads rating: 3.53 (as of 1.13.23)

(GoodReads doesn’t let you do half or quarter ratings, unlike LibraryThing which does.)

Other Beer Related Book Reviews

Some other beer related books we’ve reviewed:

Some Other Book Reviews

Thanks For Reading

Firstly, I want to recall attention to the Hemauer family. They recently had a tragic fire that devastated their home, completely ruining and burning it down. You can read more about the various ways you can help the family here: Helping the Hemauer Family.

You can also go directly to the GoFundMe page for them here: The Hemauer Family – GoFundMe by Andrea Foor.

At the time of writing, they are up to 26,808$ in donations. This is a great first step for them and will help, but they can obviously use all the help and support they can. Breweries such as Boneshire Brew Works, Gift Horse Brewing, and Big Bottom Brewery are also donating some of their sales for the foreseeable future to the family as well. Read my article above to see when and how you can help by supporting those breweries as well.

As always I like to say thank you to all of our readers and those who have visited the blog. Without you I wouldn’t be sitting here writing. So thank you all very much. If you would like to keep up to date with us make sure to like, subscribe, follow; and please feel free to send us messages at as well as leave comments on our posts. We love hearing from our readers.

Thank you all.


-B. Kline

As always, thank you everyone for reading! Leave your likes, comments, suggestions, questions, etc, in the comments section. Or use the Feedback – Contact Us – page, and we’ll get right back to you! You can also reach out to us at our direct e-mail address:

Thank you for visiting our blog. Please make sure to follow, bookmark, subscribe, and make sure to comment and leave feedback and like the blog posts you read. It will help us to better tailor the blog to you, the readers, likes and make this a better blog for everyone.

You can check out our different directories here: Beer ReviewsHike ReviewsBook ReviewsBrewery News, Brewery OpeningsBrewer Interviews, and Travelogues.

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookFacebook GroupTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

You can now find us on our Discord Server here: The Beer Thrillers (Discord Server). We’ve also joined LinkTree to keep track of all of our social media pages, as well as hot new articles we’ve written.

The Beer Thrillers are a blog that prides itself on writing beer reviews, brewery reviews, travelogues, news (especially local to the Central PA brewery scene), as well as covering other topics of our interests – such as hiking, literature and books, board games, and video games which we sometimes stream with our friends over at Knights of Nostalgia. We are currently listed as #7 on FeedSpot’s “Top 100 Beer Blogs” and #8 on FeedSpot’s “Top 40 Pennsylvania Blogs”. (As of January 2023.) Thank you for reading our site today, please subscribe, follow, and bookmark. Please reach out to us if you are interested in working together. If you would like to donate to the blog you can here: Donate to The Beer Thrillers. Thank you!

You can also check out our partnership and affiliation with, where ordering pretzels and using our affiliate code – AFFILIATE CODE IS THEBEERTHRILLERS20 – will help you get wonderful pretzels and help us maintain and keep this blog running. Thank you!






Go to Top