I just finished "The Naked Pint, an unadulterated guide to craft beer."
Christina and Hallie apparently wrote this book for an audience of hesitating female novices, reluctant to engage in the culturally-masculine world of craft brewed beer. I obviously wasn't won over by their frequent reassurances that I, the reader, wouldn't lose my femininity by being interested in beer, but it was a good book all the same.
They start out with the basics (what's malt? what're hops for? what's the difference between a lager and an ale?) and then launch into four chapters (the bulk of the book) exploring all the types and subtypes of beers, accompanied by some quintessential and unique examples of each. I learned a lot about different styles of beers here (and a lot that I felt like I already should have known).
I particularly like that they cite specific beers from specific breweries. It definitely gave me a greater awareness the next time I found myself staring at 6-packs in the grocery store.* They also spend a lot of time describing the flavors and scents that you should be able to detect in different beers if you like to be as serious with your beer as you are with your wine. I have a lousy palate so this was all lost on me, but it's a nice inclusion.
Towards the end of the book, they give extended instructions and recipes for keeping, serving (and brewing your own) beer. Overall, the book was an easy, quick read and I'd recommend it to anyone who wanted to cement their knowledge of the basics of beer production and styles.
*Unfortunately, I've found our upstate breweries to be pretty underwhelming (Ithaca and Saranac). Of course, if I didn't insist on shopping at the discount grocery store, I probably wouldn't have such a hard time finding Dogfish Head, New Belgium, Deschutes, etc. On the plus side, I've recently discovered Great Lakes, and have been pretty happy with them so far...