Ah, beer and books—a match made in hoppy heaven. Or should I say malty? Or yeasty? Or watery? If you’re unsure which adjective to use, then perhaps it’s time to nestle into an armchair with a frothy pint and a good read. And not just any read, but a read that delves into the complex, beautiful universe of beer.
Just like beer itself, not all beer books are created equal. There's the odd one that leaves you with a mental hangover, and then there are those that go down as smoothly as a well-crafted Belgian Dubbel. So, if you want to raise your beer IQ while enjoying the perfect pint, here are the three books we think you should pick up.
1. Miracle Brew: Hops, Barley, Water, Yeast by Pete Brown
Suggested Reading Time: About a weekend
Best Beer Pairing: An English Pale Ale
Best Learning: The science and magic behind the four key ingredients of beer.
Let’s start with a book that, well, makes us all feel like alchemists turning basic elements into gold. Pete Brown's "Miracle Brew" is a romantic escapade into the four ingredients that make beer what it is. As Brown eloquently puts it, "The finest beer is an orchestra of flavours conducted by a maverick director.”
What makes "Miracle Brew" special is its ability to convey complex science with an almost poetic elegance. You’ll find yourself caught up in Pete Brown’s awe for the mystical melding of hops, barley, water, and yeast.
"We drink water every day, we consume cereal in many different forms, and yeast is all around us, yet combine them in one specific way and you create something that has captivated and stimulated humanity for thousands of years."
2. Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros by Gwen Conley and Julia Herz
Suggested Reading Time: A week
Best Beer Pairing: Saison
Best Learning: Mastering the art of pairing beer with food.
If you're one of those souls who believes a pint is best enjoyed with a hearty meal, then Gwen Conley and Julia Herz have penned your bible. "Beer Pairing" takes you on a gastronomical adventure, delving into the nuances of matching the flavours of beer with a multitude of foods. Their meticulous exploration is grounded in scientific research and hands-on experimentation, but it's the authors' palpable excitement about the topic that makes the book so engaging.
"Beer pairing is a full-on marriage of two things that were absolutely meant to be together."
3. Beer: A Tasting Course by Mark Dredge
Suggested Reading Time: 2-3 days
Best Beer Pairing: An assorted beer tasting flight
Best Learning: Developing your own palate for different beer styles.
Mark Dredge’s "Beer: A Tasting Course" is an exhilarating exercise in beer education. Unlike the previous two books, which serve as narratives or guides, this one is set up as a structured course. Each chapter walks you through tasting notes, helping you to refine your own palate, and come away with a better appreciation of the broad world of brews.
"There are well over a hundred styles of beer. Don't be monogamous—play the field."
So there you have it. Three brilliant books, each serving a different pint of knowledge. Whether you’re an aspiring Brewmaster, a seasoned sipper, or someone who can't tell a lager from a stout, these reads will transform your understanding and appreciation of that magnificent elixir we call beer. Cheers! 🍻