Editors’ Picks: Historical Hindsight and Helpful Haulers

From a trick new cooler to deep-dive books into gluten-free brewing and lambic history, here are some picks to kick off the new year.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Jan 1, 2023 - 4 min read

Editors’ Picks: Historical Hindsight and Helpful Haulers Primary Image

Gluten-Free Brewing

by Robert Keifer,
Resources are scant for brewers who want to explore gluten-free brewing, but this guide dives into the nitty-gritty of mash regimens, enzymes, and extensive recipes across a number of styles to demystify the process.

Pure Pitch Next Generation
It’s the convenience of White Labs’ old capped tubes with the performance and consistency of their flex-cell packaging. Available now for homebrewers in WLP001 and on the pro side across most of their line, it’s a promising next move in improving yeast viability and storage life span.

Yeti Roadie 60

No doubt, we have a cooler fetish. But when you haul as much beer as we do back and forth, in and out of vehicles, and up and down staircases—and it must remain cold—you tend to develop a finely tuned idea of what makes for a great cooler. This latest wheeled offering from Yeti solves a few pain points we’ve experienced in the past couple of years—handles not designed for leveraging up stairs, weaker handles that can’t withstand hard use full of heavy beer bottles—and it layers in expected Yeti quality in maintaining temperature, ease of cleaning, and overall reliability. It’s become our new go-to for shuttling cans and bottles to magazine review sessions in Denver, and while it’s large enough to fit a full review flight of standing 750 ml bottles, it’s also compact enough to fit in the back seat of a sedan or fastback, making it easy to maneuver no matter how you have to grab it. —Jamie Bogner

Lambic: The Untamed Brussels Beer—Origin, Evolution and Future

By Raf Meert, Self-Published, €40 ($39), paperback, 398 pages
The good news: This is the most authoritative history of lambic and gueuze that has yet been published—not just in English, but in any language. It’s a book that anyone who loves lambic—and loves knowing about lambic, which is so often part of the enthusiasm—will want to own and absorb.

An early chunk of this book is devoted to skewering myths, legends, and repeated tales, which seem to mutate as they pass from brewer to writer and back again, changed—as Meert writes, like a game of “Telephone.” The point isn’t to suck the joy out of the lore and mystique but rather to start fresh and consider—using primary sources and historical documents—what is known. This is a history book.

Meert reveals much more than we can share here, but for starters: Lambic, faro, and gueuze are not ancient drinks from the countryside; they are modern drinks invented in the city (Brussels) in the 18th century. They were products of fashion but also—like many beer styles, historically—of local tax policy. They were strong and expensive, growing out of a category called geelbier, or yellow beer, which itself grew out of brown beer, the product of a longer boil, fit for longer storage.

The bad news: This book is hard to get … for now. Meert sent us a copy to review, and some have been available to buy in the gift shops of the Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen breweries. However, as we go to press, there is nowhere online to reliably purchase the book. Our hope is that by giving it a nudge of publicity, some added demand might lead to wider availability. This book is worthy of that demand. —Joe Stange