Book Review & Interview
Esteemed beer writer Beth Demmon has written a book for beer lovers who are curious about the growing craft cider movement. The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider: American Ciders for Craft Beer Fans to Explore (Mango Publishing, September 12) demystifies the potentially overwhelming variety of the modern cider scene through the lens of beer, relating cider varieties to major flavor groupings familiar to craft beer fans.
Mandy Naglich has written a book that explores how our senses interact with food and beverage, and how understanding our senses can help us better enjoy our favorite indulgences. How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life (Citadel) combines science and whimsy to teach us more about our sensory world and bring our favorite flavors to life. David Nilsen talked recently with Mandy about some of the amazing things she experienced and learned while writing the book, how they both approach the tasting process, and why tasting with other people can be so impactful.
The revised and expanded edition of Josh Bernstein’s The Complete Beer Course: From Novice to Expert in 12 Tastings Classes comes out June 6 from Union Square & Co., and is less an updated edition than an entirely new vision of the original concept. The title was first published in 2013, and a lot has changed in craft beer in the last decade. From the explosion of brewery openings between 2012 to 2014, to the emergence and subsequent dominance of Hazy IPAs, to long-needed (and ongoing…slowly) internal culture changes, craft beer in 2023 is hardly recognizable from the industry Bernstein covered ten years ago.
Disclaimer: The author of this zine, David Nilsen, writes for PorchDrinking.
Becoming incredibly good at something takes a lot of time, effort and patience. In our constant need for instant gratification and expectation to be perfect at something the first time you do it, it becomes more and more rare to find a true expert. Do you think that a master woodworker was making a canoe during their first time using an oscillating saw? Or an Advanced sommelier knew how to tell what region of France a grape was from when they were 21? No. That’s why when someone shares their expertise and encourages others to learn from the time and effort they have put in, it’s a gift.
Indianapolis, Indiana, is often overlooked among the great beer cities of the Midwest, but a brand new book by an Indianapolis author with an auspicious last name aims to change that. Amy Beers is a Certified Cicerone® and leads walking beer tours around Indianapolis with her company Drinking With Beers. She’s the author of the new book Indianapolis Beer Stories: History to Modern Craft in Circle City Brewing, a guide to the Indy beer scene both past and present. The book takes us behind the scenes of the personalities and breweries that have shaped this underrated beer city.
Jaega Wise has been brewing unusual and funky beers since her homebrewing days, long before she became the head brewer of Wild Card Brewery in East London ten years ago. While she loves (and brews) standard fermentation beers like IPAs and Lagers, her heart belongs to the more esoteric corners of the brewing world — sour and mixed-fermentation beers of all kinds. In her new book, Wild Brews: The Craft of Home Brewing, from Sour and Fruits Beers to Farmhouse Ales, Wise shares her collected knowledge of alternative fermentation in a thorough but easy to understand volume.
Hooray for Craft Beer!, the new book of educational beer cartoons from Em Sauter of Pints & Panels, celebrates learning about beer in an inclusive and non-intimidating way. The follow-up to 2017’s Beer Is For Everyone (of Drinking Age)!, this new title from Brewers Publications issues an invitation to people of all levels of beer knowledge to enjoy and understand our favorite beverage.
Craft beer in Hawaii didn’t have much of a presence, arguably, until a decade or so ago. Being located so far off from the mainland creates a longer and more costly process in getting brewery equipment and ingredients to the island. While it seems that in the more recent years, many craft breweries have been popping up. However, it doesn’t mean that craft beer didn’t have a presence in the Aloha State until then. Paul Kan dives into Hawaii’s rich history in beer and brewing in his soon-to-be-released book, “Hawai’i Beer: A History of Brewing in Paradise.”
Most people of color living in majority-white countries regularly encounter racism, be it violent, cruel and open prejudice or nasty little microaggressions. Sadly, this is a fact. But what do you do when your job, your hobby or both are imbued with structural racism? When it stops being about individual attitudes and becomes about organizational and institutional frameworks and hierarchies that, in their very nature, are skewed to exclude people of color?
When craft beer fans hear the term “farmhouse ale,” we usually think of Belgian Saison and French Bière de Garde. A new book by Norwegian author Lars Marius Garshol expands our understanding of farmhouse brewing traditions. Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing (Brewers Publications, 2020) digs into the history and variety of farmhouse ales throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic region.
Lori Rice is here to save us from lackluster beer bread.
In many beer bread recipes, the brew itself is an afterthought. The recipe will recommend adding “beer”—type unspecified—in place of water, and since most people will reach for a light lager in these moments, they might as well have just used water in the first place.
Rice’s new book Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Breads, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and More (Countryman Press) tears down the tyranny of mediocre beer bread recipes and offers over 60 exciting alternatives in which beer plays a significant role in the finished flavor.
Most of the time when we see Farmhouse Ale on a beer label in this country, the beer in question is a Saison or Bière de Garde. A new book about northern European rural brewing traditions expands the world of farmhouse ales and opens readers’ eyes to a thriving Nordic subculture of farmhouse brewing and expands our understanding of farmhouse ales beyond popular Belgian and French traditions.
“I didn’t write it for people who are into beer. I wrote it for a specific demographic of people who didn’t know anything about beer.”
That’s Dom “Doochie” Cook, founder of Beer Kulture, talking about his new book, This Ain’t the Beer that You’re Used To: A Beginner’s Guide to Good Beer. The book is intended to be an introduction not just for newcomers to craft beer, but for racial and ethnic demographics that for the most part haven’t had good beer marketed to them. The book is finding an audience with established beer fans as well though, providing a new perspective on an industry that has too long been dominated by white voices.
A new chapbook by Scratch Brewing co-founder and brewer Marika Josephson lays out a blueprint for what it means to run a true farmhouse brewery in the 21st century.
“There is an ironic disconnect in craft beer in which drinkers care a lot about beer being made locally but don’t know or don’t care about where the ingredients themselves are from,” said Josephson when I interviewed her for a story for Civil Eats in November 2017.
The quote could serve as a thesis statement for her new chapbook Keeping the “Farm” in “Farmhouse Beer”, published by Good Beer Hunting in 2018.
Five years ago, most craft beer fans had never heard of Gose, the sour German wheat ale seasoned with salt and coriander. Now, it’s tough to find a brewery that hasn’t made one and many breweries offer multiple Goses with various fruit additions. How did the style go from obscurity to ubiquity in just half a decade?
While India Pale Ale has more sub-styles than perhaps any other family of beers, most of them are minor deviations from a central theme. When we order an IPA, we usually expect a lot of hops (though how that presents on the palate has morphed somewhat in recent years), not a whole lot of malt, unobtrusive yeast and not much else. Industry vet Dick Cantwell thinks the style has plenty more room for creativity than that simple formula, however. In Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing the Boundaries of India Pale Ale, the Magnolia Brewing chief and former Elysian Brewing brewmaster opens up a world of possibilities for craft beer’s most popular style.
If you’re reading PorchDrinking, chances are you have a list in your head of breweries you really want to visit, distant cities rich in brewing tradition you want to travel to, and rare beers you have to taste before you die. British beer writer Mark Dredge started writing down his own such list a few years ago, and then decided to tick as many items off that list as he could and write a book about it.
It may come as a surprise to many people that beer pairs beautifully with cheese. Wine has long held a stranglehold on cheese pairing, and while excellent wine and cheese combinations abound, cheese might actually find its ideal companion in the nectar of malt and hops rather than grapes. Janet Fletcher has written a book to help beer lovers get the most of this match made in heaven.
When Goose Island was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2011, the craft beer industry was a sliver of what it is today. Just a handful of breweries were operating in the city and the idea of a hazy beer would have been blasphemous.
To those of us who love and know beer, it’s no secret that our favorite drink is awesome with food. Beer kills it with cheese; it crushes it with chocolate, and it’s never met a meat or vegetable it didn’t like. But while we’re all aware beer can pair beautifully with just about any dish, fine-tuning those pairings can prove an elusive feat, especially since everyone’s vocabulary for food and beer pairing seems to be different.