Editors' Pick: Historical Brewing Techniques

Here is our review of the new book by Lars Marius Garshol, whose research on traditional kveik, raw beer, and other traditional techniques has shifted the paradigm on farmhouse brewing.

Joe Stange May 27, 2020 - 2 min read

Editors' Pick: Historical Brewing Techniques Primary Image

Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing
By Lars Marius Garshol
Brewers Publications

Not-so-bold prediction: This book will be a game-changer.

Kveik is no secret anymore, thanks largely to the man who wrote this book, to be released in April. Already, brewers around the world are playing with those heirloom yeast varieties from Norway that don’t seem to behave like other yeasts. If our experiments with this strange creature have been mixed, maybe it’s because we have all been trying to rear it without the instructions.

Farmhouse-ale geeks, historical-beer geeks, yeast whisperers—we have long known this book is coming. We can now say with confidence: It delivers the goods.

From the protein-rich kaimiskas raw beers of Lithuania to the strong, orange-peel-barleywine-like ales of Norway’s Voss valley—via sahti, Gotlandstricka, kvass, and other styles far more obscure—Garshol explains in clear, readable, follow-me-to-the-farm-shed fashion much of what he has learned about these beers, their unusual methods, and their often idiosyncratic yeast strains.

And yes, there are plenty of recipes in here, too. There are details. There are instructions. But there is also plenty of context: While reading, I find myself shaking my head at how a whole swath of European brewing history was overlooked, nearly forgotten, and is now reappearing to challenge much of what we thought we knew about brewing.