Book Review & Interview
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.
Beer Is for Everyone! (of Drinking Age) by Em Sauter (One Peace Books, 2017)
Em Sauter’s book Beer Is for Everyone—and the web comic Pints and Panels on which it is based—is a simple concept brilliantly executed. Em is a …