Soul searching in the cyber age.

Free beer!

Now there's a headline guaranteed to raise some interest.

Now, normally, you know I don't much care for shilling for books or advertisers or much of anything. But on rare occasions, the opportunity to shill for someone who does great work comes along, and I like to take those opportunities.

Beer So just a short post today to let you know that my friend Kevin Revolinski's updated Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide is now available! It's a lovely little travel book, listing breweries and brew pubs in Wisconsin, and with a handy little "history of beer" essay in the front that's way more readable than most of the front matter you typically find in guide books.

Each brewery entry contains business information (address, phone, web site, annual production), a list of staple and seasonal beers produced, tour information, the best time to visit, whether or not they serve food, directions, a short informational essay, and a list of other eating and drinking establishments within "stumbling distance." A lot of the breweries also participated in the book's "special offers": at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery in Madison, for example, all you have to do is show them the book (they'll sign it on a handy list in the back, meaning you've received your freebie) and you get a free 10 oz. beer!

It's a very handy reference guide (especially this week, when it's 88 degrees and sticky in Wisconsin, and nothing would be nicer than to hit a local brew pub for a cold brew), and Revolinski's writing style is a lot of fun. This bit of self-revelation comes in the Introduction:

"When I took on this project back in 2006, I didn't even like beer. I can already hear the collective gasp of horror, but let me explain: beer was social lubricant, something you sipped at with friends at a cookout, bought for the cute woman at the other end of the bar, or beer-bonged on occasion. I didn't even like the taste so much and--oh the humanity--often didn't even finish them. I killed many a houseplant at parties and have gotten hordes of bees drunk at picnics with the remains of a bottle of Something-or-Other Light." (p. 2.)

If you live near Madison, Wisconsin, consider coming out to buy a copy of the book and meet Revolinski at the Capital Brewery Bier Garten in Middleton on Friday night, July 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. He's a lot of fun and the Capital Brewery is a great place to sit around outside and enjoy a beer. For more information, please visit his web site at www.revtravel.com/wbg.html. (He's also the author of a ton of other great travel guides about the great state of Wisconsin, including the soon-to-be-available Insider's Guide to Madison, so if you're a local do check out his page.)