The Handbook of Porters and
Josh Christie and Chad Polenz
Josh Christie has written books on beer and outdoor adventure in Maine and manages an independent bookstore in Portland, Maine. Network administrator and homebrewer Chad Polenz has a popular beer review website and writes a column for the Albany Times-Union. Christie and Polenz have teamed up to author The Handbook of Porters and Stouts. The first third of the book covers porters and the rest deals with stouts. There is a brief introduction to porter, their history and variations and likewise for stouts. The bulk of the book - probably around 95% - consists of beer reviews and 9 other very qualified reviewer join the authors in contributing reviews. The reviews are, for the most part, well written but a trained beer judge of Cicerone might find fault with some of them. One of the problems with books crammed with reviews is that they quickly become obsolete and they are not comprehensive. The book would benefit with more information on the various substyles and fewer reviews.
There are also inaccuracies pepper here and there throughout the book. For example, one of the reviews states that during the Middle Ages beer protected people from the black death because black death was transmitted by stagnant water. Wrong. Flea bites, contact with contaminated fluid or tissue from plague victims, or infectious droplets from coughing transmitted the plague, not polluted water.
If you want to read a collection of well written beer reviews this is a good book. If you want more meat on Porters and Stouts, look elsewhere.