Looking for the perfect book for a craft beer lover -- or yourself?

This has been another banner year for books about beer, with volumes written on everything from food pairings to hops, so there's something on this list for everyone.

The culinary side

If you love food as much as beer -- and who doesn't? -- you can't go wrong with John Holl's "American Craft Beer Cookbook" (Storey, $19.95, 352 pages), which has 155 mouthwatering recipes, including 14 contributed by Bay Area breweries such as Gordon Biersch and 21st Amendment.

If you'd rather nibble, than cook, Bay Area food writer Janet Fletcher's new "Cheese & Beer" (Andrews McMeel, $24.99, 128 pages) not only details which cheeses to pair with a variety of different beer styles, but how and why those pairings work.

Then dip into Fred Bueltmann's new "Beervangelist's Guide to the Galaxy: A Philosophy of Food & Drink," (Black Lake, $39.95, 252 pages). I got to know Bueltmann, the co-owner of Michigan's New Holland Brewing, while judging at the Great American Beer Festival, and I love his approach to beer and food.

Brewers and H2O

Those old ads were right: It is the water. Homebrewers will enjoy "Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers" (Brewing Publications, $19.95, 300 pages). This volume on the role of H2O in the brewing process was written by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski, who is the brewmaster at Napa's Downtown Joe's.

Looking for something more narrative? Try Ken Grossman's account of building Sierra Nevada Brewing into the powerhouse it is today. His "Beyond the Pale" (Wiley, 24.95, 256 pages), which came out this summer, offers a personal glimpse into California's largest and most successful craft brewery.

Suds and sagas

Don't miss Tom Acitelli's "The Audacity of Hops" (Chicago Review, $19.95, 416 pages) and Joshua Bernstein's "The Complete Beer Course." (Sterling Epicure, $24.95, 320 pages). Acitelli's work is the first broad history of the microbrewery revolution, from Anchor Brewery in 1965 to today's proliferation of small breweries. It's a rip-roaring read and well-researched.

Bernstein's "Beer Course" -- subtitled "Boot Camp for Beer Geeks" -- is ideal for the budding beer lover on your list. Reading his book will make even the most befuddled beer rookie sound like an expert.

If you remember the little "Pocket Guide to Beer" that Michael Jackson -- not that one, the other one -- used to publish annually, you'll be pleased to hear that it has been resurrected by Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb, whose "World Atlas of Beer" was one of my favorites last year. Their new "Pocket Beer Guide" (Sterling Epicure, $14.95, 320 pages) includes thumbnail reviews of 3,000 beers from around the world, including several I wrote on California breweries.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no better way to celebrate the holidays than sitting down to enjoy a good read -- with a terrific beer. Hoppy holidays!

Contact Jay R. Brooks at BrooksOnBeer@gmail.com. Read more by Brooks at IBABuzz.com/bottomsup.