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The Well-Read Beer Geek

From The Iron Horse Brewery Blog

The Well-Read Beer Geek


Hello again, y’all!

My goal blog has yet again evaded me. I have been trying to write basically a book report on “American Women and Repeal of Prohibition” by Kenneth D. Rose. But, yet again, summarizing such a momentous effort and cultural revolution leading up to the enactment and repeal of Prohibition evaded me. Do you like history, culture, kick ass ladies, or legally being able to drink beer? Give it a read.

On a similar note, do you want to learn more about beer? Do you have a friend or family member who is all about the sudsy goodness who may stand to learn a thing or two while imbibing? Here’s a list of books from my library that I suggest to you. All links are to Amazon since I am a millennial who loves 1-click buying to my Kindle, but you are also encouraged by IHB check your local bookshop and homebrew store whenever you can! Also, have you heard of Amazon Smile?   

For the new to beer enthusiast:
“Tasting Beer” by Randy Mosher.
If there is just one book on beer I could recommend to anyone, it is this. Moser breaks down the process of brewing, the ingredients of brewing, and brewing styles in a clear and concise manner. He even dabbles into beer and food pairing, off flavors, as well as commercial examples of beer to be placed on your To Drink list. Every new server we get at the pub, the first thing I tell them to do is buy this book, it will do you right. Hell, even my husband has been tasked to read this book! Read this book.Seriously. Just do it.

For the Graphic Novel and Beer Enthusiast:
“The Comic Book Story of Beer” by Jonathan Hennessey.
Ok, I lied, this one isn’t technically in my library. It is on loan to me from our brewmaster Tyson. But, packed with history and information of beer all around the world, this is a great book for all. I recommend storing this one on the coffee table for friends to flip through as well.

For the sesquipedalian/hard core foodie:
“The Brewmaster’s Table” by Garrett Oliver.
Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery, and a well respected educator on beer and food pairings for the masses. He has even been on Martha Stewart! *excuse me as I swoon* Oliver’s writing is neatly organized, with a level of detail in his descriptions that I have not yet found a match to. If you are struggling with putting words to what you are experiencing, Oliver can help you extract and make sense of those sensations, while telling lovely tales of beer gardens and cheese. Also, I learned the term bowdlerize from him. I will forever be indebted to him.    

For the beer geek who wants to level up to beer master:
Two recommendations,
“The Oxford Companion to Beer” edited by Garrett Oliver, as well as “The Beer Bible” by Jeff Alworth.
The Oxford Companion to Beer is really the dictionary of beer. Have a word or a process you want to learn more about? Chances are, Oliver curated a definition. I heavily relied on the Oxford Companion to Beer while serving at [ the pub ], allowing me to look up any questions from a curious customer on my personal iPad propped up on the counter, helping to foster the enthusiastic environment of craft beer we have at the pub.

The Beer Bible was released in August of 2015, and quickly has garnered attention throughout the beer world with Alworth’s in depth analysis of beer styles; from the origins to specific ingredients, from field to glass, to where to go now to get the best version. I relied heavily on this one while on vacation this fall, helping our group to get intimate with the ales and lagers of Germany, Belgium, and a bit of the Czech Republic. Side note, if you are ever in Bruge, go to De Garre. It was supremely magical.

For the no nonsense cook who hates the persnickety foodie culture:
“Beer Pairing” by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley.
This is definitely my favorite beer and food pairing book I have read so far. These ladies kick so much ass in the beer world, first of all. Secondly, they have put together a pairing book that is applicable meal after meal, day after day. They take different beers and different foods and break down flavor, sensation, and a few “rules” in the process. It is a very clearly written book considering the depth of knowledge covered, making it a must have for many kitchens. For those gals who have joined in for the Beers for Broads dinner “Savory Sistas,” the main source of information for the flavor lesson was this book. Use it as a reference, I certainly do!

For the brewer in your midst:
“Wood and Beer” by Dick Cantwell and Peter Bouckaert
As a non-brewer who also doesn’t drink a lot of wood aged beer, I really wanted to know everything about wood and it’s effect on beer. Holy cow, does this book contain an enormous amount of information. From securing cooperage to medullary rays to the flavors of the various Brettanomyces strains, this is by the brewers for the brewers. And with by the brewers, I mean Dick Cantwell (formerly of Elysian) and Peter Bouckaert (first at Rodenbach, now at New Belgium) are both industry experts for craft beer, and Peter’s knowledge and experience in Belgian brewing is definitely *swoonable* in my opinion.

For those who couldn’t give two shits about beer:
“Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer.
One of the few non beer books I read this year. Foer documents his experiences as he transitioned from an interested journalist to a competitive memory athlete. It was an enjoyable memoir to read both with his hilarious self reflection and with his explanation of the mechanics behind such feats.

Happy trails and happy ales to you!

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