Whether you’re relaxing poolside, stretched out on the towel at the beach, or chilling in a vacation rental, now’s the time to catch up on some new beer books and new releases of classics.
By Jeff Alworth (with a foreword by Stan Hieronymus), Storey Publishing
Listening to professional brewers talk about their craft and technique is something we never get tired of, so this inside look from respected author Jeff Alworth was a welcome arrival. Brewers of all abilities will appreciate the in-depth, approachable advice for brewing classic beer styles, and despite the complexity of the subject matter, the book manages to artfully and accessibly present difficult topics in manageable and understandable bites.
The book is organized geographically, with sections on British, German, Czech, Belgian, French, Italian, and American traditions (plus an additional section on “Brewing Wild”), and chapters within cover major styles that each country is known for. The real meat of the book is the recipes and step-by-step instructions from renowned brewers such as Fullers, Duvel, Ommegang, Birrificio Italiano, Breakside, and pFriem (among others).
It’s a thorough, information-dense journey through classic beers styles and has earned a spot on our brewing bookshelf. —Libby Murphy
By Patrick E. McGovern (with a foreword by Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Brewery), W.W. Norton & Company
Dr. Patrick E. McGovern (Dr. Pat), a biomolecular archeologist and storyteller extraordinaire, takes us on a journey through the history of our connection with alcohol. He explores how and why our ancestors around the world—from Turkey to China, Africa, Italy, Scandinavia, Central America, and South America—made their “extreme” beers and other fermented beverages. He details how high-tech chemical analysis combined with cultural and archeological research uncovered ingredients and ancient fermentation methods.
Then he regales us with tales of experimentation, in partnership with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery, to produce historically valid (and regulation-compliant) palatable drinks. At the end of each chapter, all the research, analysis, and experimentation come together into a “homebrew interpretation” of the brew and culinary recipes for pairing with the brew, making this book a treat for brewers and beer lovers alike. —Trish Faubion
By John J. Palmer, Brewers Publications
Normally, we’d cast a suspicious eye at any book subtitled “everything you need to know,” but in the case of this updated classic from one of brewing’s greatest educators, that hyperbole is actually an understatement. Palmer’s engineering mind is thorough to the point of overkill in spots, but that’s what makes this book so essential for the library of anyone serious about brewing.
Last updated in 2006, this 2017 edition incorporates the past decade of brewing knowledge, new brewing ingredients, and process iteration, in addition to a front-to-back redesign that presents the hundreds of informative charts in a clear and concise design. Palmer’s focus on the “why” in addition to the “how” is still the defining signature of the book, but his editor and designer have done yeoman’s work in corralling, focusing, and presenting the deep depths of information in a logical and understandable format. There’s no question—even if you own the 2006 edition, this upgrade is 100 percent worth the price of admission. —Jamie Bogner
By Randy Mosher (with a foreword by Ray Daniels), Storey Publishing
While not as ambitious in its update as John Palmer’s latest edition, this classic from Randy Mosher deserves a spot on every brewer and beer drinker’s shelf. Plenty has been written about brewing beer, but Mosher excels at the soft art of articulating sensory experience in language that’s understandable and relatable.
Part science primer, part history book, part style guide, and part service manual, Tasting Beer is by far the best book on the subjective skill of taste mastery ever written. Mosher’s visual bias is evident throughout—the beautifully illustrated charts and graphs could only have been visualized by someone with the graphic-design background he has.
Whether you’re studying to take the Cicerone exam or simply interested in growing your own beer lexicon, Tasting Beer is an entertaining, thought-provoking book that will deepen your appreciation for whichever beer is in your glass. —Jamie Bogner
From ingredients to equipment, process, and recipes—extract, partial-mash, and all-grain—The Illustrated Guide to Homebrewing is a vital resource for those who want to brew better beer. Order your copy today.