Library Essentials


Library Essentials

Over the past few years I’ve consumed a lot of information from a variety of sources but there are select materials I’ll come back to time and time again. Below are some of the key resources that have transformed me from philistine to a significantly more educated beer consumer.

Tasting Beer – Randy Mosher

My first few months foraying into the world of craft beer were probably no different to a lot of other people’s experiences. I nonchalantly tried a whole variety of beers paying very little attention what I was actually imbibing. I remember picking up a Stone Ruination IPA but comprehending very little about what a Double IPA was. What fascinated me the most was the fact it had 100+ IBU on the label. More must be better, right?

After that initial experimentation phase subsided I decided it was time to start getting serious about understanding how a beer is made, what a beer style means and just generally being a more informed consumer.

This book is great choice for anybody looking to get a solid primer on beer. It covers a variety of topics not in the greatest depth but enough to more than cover the basics. I finished the book with an understanding of the fundamental ingredients that go into a beer, how to taste and appreciate the whole sensory experience plus a general comprehension of beer styles.

It’s still a book a regularly revisit and is an invaluable resource to me. I’m really looking forward to Randy’s new book on mastering homebrew coming out next month.

How to Brew – John Palmer

Probably considered the (if not one of the) seminal book(s) on homebrewing. I picked up this book as a relative newcomer to homebrewing after getting my feet wet via the Brooklyn Brew Shop. I wanted to get more of an in depth understanding of the science behind the brewing process and from testimonials/reviews I had read Palmer’s book would be a good place to start.

The early chapters in the book do a great job of going over the fundamentals with robust information on extract and all grain brewing, if you want to go the all grain route.

The mid chapters then move on to some the science behind the brewing process which I found initially intimating without a science background but when the curiosity strikes it’s a great resource. For example, a few months ago I wanted to understand the different mash temperatures and why they vary from recipe to recipe.

The last few chapters focus on recipes and diagnosing off flavors, which I wouldn’t call essential as there are so many free resources on the web but the sum of the book as a whole makes this an essential item in my library.

The Oxford Companion to Beer – Garrett Oliver

I had the chance to meet Garrett Oliver at a beer dinner back in 2012. It was clear from the few moments he spoke that he was both eloquent and passionate about craft beer. He is clearly a well respected individual within the craft beer community and this only reaffirmed for me what an important resource this would be.

I’ll admit that some sticker shock set in when I saw the price of this book but after numerous references to it across multiple blogs or websites I regularly read, I decided that this should be an essential addition to my library.

This is my go-to reference guide when I need any validation, cross-referencing or encounter a new term. It’s comprehensive, well researched and a trustworthy source of beer knowledge.

Brewing Classic Styles – John Palmer and Zainasheff

This is the most addition to my collection but I can already tell that I’ll be regularly referencing it.

When I taste a beer my mind goes though the process of trying to identify the flavors and the ingredients used. I usually visit the brewery’s website to see if I can get any further information about the brewing process. The information out there can sometimes be limited so I’ll use this book as a rough guide as to how that style could be brewed.

Honorable Mentions

BeerAdvocate—Issue #96
BeerAdvocate—Issue #96
BeerAdvocate Magazine

BeerAdvocate was one of the first few websites I frequented to try and educate myself about beer. For me, subscription to this magazine is a no brainer. It’s tremendous value for money, $10 a year gives you access to such great beer related content. The magazine include a bit of everything ranging from industry news, homebrew tips and great features.

Cicerone Beer Styles Profile Cards

This is my quick reference guide when I have simple query about a beer style I’m not 100% familiar with. These cards provide a good overview of Alcohol, SRM and IBU ranges and brief tasting notes for the more prominent beer styles.

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