Eschewing hops in your beer is not the best money-making business model in American craft beer in 2018, but if you’re brewing it for yourself, who cares? Actually, those last two words form a sort of unofficial mantra for Jereme Zimmerman’s attitude toward accepted homebrewing guidelines in his new book. Learn the rules, then break them.
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.
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.
For beer writer and historian Stan Hieronymus, brewing local means more than just using attention-grabbing, wild ingredients like dandelions and tree bark; it means looking at the complete agricultural picture of a region as it relates to beer. That certainly includes those aforementioned esoteric additions but also encompasses workhorse fermentables like corn and rice, which were looked down upon in craft circles until recently.
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 …
50 Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio by Rick Armon (Ohio University Press, 2017)
I sincerely believe Ohio is among the most exciting beer states in the country right now, though I am undoubtedly biased. I’ve lived in the Buckeye state for all fifteen years of my legal drinking life, and I’ve watched Ohio’s craft scene explode along with the rest of the country’s. While many of our breweries have gained national recognition, many more truly excellent breweries remain largely unheralded outside of our state borders. To be honest, it’s one of the things I love about our beer scene here; visitors don’t expect the incredible Belgian beers of Rockmill Brewery, or the farmhouse prowess of Little Fish, or the world-class lambics of Rivertown, or the all-around brilliance of Jackie O’s.
My Beer Year: Adventures with Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Sommeliers, & Fanatical Drinkers as a Beer Master in Training by Lucy Burningham (Roost Books, 2016)
In her book My Beer Year, Portland-based journalist Lucy Burningham chronicles her time preparing for the Certified Cicerone exam. She presents herself as a novice early on (though she clearly knew more even then than the average beer drinker), and the book covers the year or so she spent gaining more knowledge and experience.
If you’ve attended any Colorado beer festival over the past four years, chances are, you’ve at some point encountered photojournalist Dustin Hall, who shoots under the moniker, The Brewtography Project. Sporting his traditional short trimmed beard, signature Brewtography Project Dickies work shirt, flat-brimmed brewery cap turned backward, with his trusty Canon 5D Mark IV draped around his neck, Hall is both iconic and unassuming at the same time.
Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State (Wayne State University Press, 2017) by William Rapai
It is possible in 2017 to find good beer and exciting breweries in every state in the union. Gone are the days of large beer deserts in this country; you might just have to look at little more diligently in some states than others. Still, a few states rise above the rest with an embarrassing wealth of great breweries both old and new. Michigan is one of those states, and if you need any persuading, a new book by William Rapai aims to quiet your objections.
Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer (National Geographic, 2017) by Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark W. Patterson, with foreword and tasting tips by Garrett Oliver
For well over a century, National Geographic has been bringing the world’s wildlife, landscapes, and cultures to our homes in the form of an iconic magazine, incredible photography, and television programming. Now, the esteemed publication is broadening our perspective on an unexpected but welcome topic: beer.
Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink, Second Edition (Storey Publishing, 2017) by Randy Mosher
If you’ve put much serious time into learning about beer, you’ve probably already dog-eared your copy of Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer. The book is the foundational text for studying for the Cicerone exam, and is usually the first book recommended when someone wants to go beyond the basics of beer and understand our favorite beverage better.
The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch (Countryman Press, 2016) by Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon and Ryan Tockstein
The folks at Scratch Brewing Co. are connected to the land around their brewery in ways few other brewers can boast. Secluded in the woods near Ava in southern Illinois, the Scratch gang doesn’t just use local malt and hops, they pull the ingredients that make their beers so unique from the terrain of the surrounding forest. Tree bark, leaves, mushrooms, berries, nuts, flowers, even plants many of us have been trained to think of as weeds—it’s all fair game for brewers Aaron Kleidon and Marika Josephson. Consequently, their beers have a quality of place—terroir, to use the fancy parlance—few other brews have.
Trappist Beer Travels: Inside the Breweries of the Monasteries (Schiffer Publishing, 2017) by Caroline Wallace, Sarah Wood & Jessica Deahl
The world’s 11 Trappist breweries hold a mystique for beer drinkers that few other breweries can generate. Not only is the beer that is produced at these monasteries consistently excellent, but the remote and cloistered nature of these breweries blankets them in an air of mystery. Few of us will ever step inside the hallowed walls of these monastic breweries; the three authors of Trappist Beer Travels have been inside all of them.