There’s beer in my book

There’s beer in my book

As fall sets in the nights are getting cooler and staying indoors is starting to sound more enticing. Some evenings there is nothing more relaxing than curling up with a book and popping open a beer. So why not select a book about beer? Here are two books that might keep you warm during the cool of night. But don’t forget, each one needs the right beer to accompany it.

First taste

Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher has quickly become the go-to guide for understanding the basics of beer. This book covers it all. Want to cook with beer? What is the right glass for a bock? But wait, what is a bock? Tasting Beer addresses everything from the brewing process to sensory evaluation and includes useful tips on an array of different topics, such as aging beer or even hosting an event. In this book Randy Mosher shows his versatility as a beer expert and the breadth of the subject he has clearly mastered. Each chapter hides its incredible depth behind a gentle, entertaining prose adorned with plenty of visuals to help guide you through the wealth of knowledge packed into this book. A must for any beer nerd.

Whenever I’m trying to instruct someone on the ingredients of beer, there is only one brew that I will serve, Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse. This unique hefeweizen perfectly exemplifies the major ingredients of beer by blending a traditional German wheat beer with American hops. This allows one to explore the character of water, different malted grains, the terroir of hops, and even the influence and flavors of yeast; all the major ingredients of beer. The beer blends citric, American Cascade hops with banana-flavored hefeweizen yeast to create a complex fruity character that matches the book’s deep but digestible (and tasty!) flavors. Tasting Beer is crammed with knowledge, but don’t worry, the brew’s smooth, creamy body (from the wheat and entrained yeast) will help soothe the book’s overwhelming wealth of information while the grassy, floral notes of German Hallertauer hops keep the mind refreshed.

Going beyond

For something a little less studious I would suggest reading Beyond the Pale, an autobiography by Ken Grossman, president and owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Ken is a pioneer of the craft beer movement and he has dedicated his life to building one of the most esteemed, successful breweries in the world. The book begins with his experiences as a child and takes the reader on a journey through the upbringing of both Ken and his fledgling brewery. Ken tells his tale in an honest, straightforward style that gives the reader insight into his life and the choices he has made rearing his brewery.

Cracking open a can of the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is absolutely appropriate, however to truly travel beyond the pale I would suggest reading this tale alongside a glass of Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal Imperial Stout. The narwhal whale lives in the arctic region. Its characteristic spiral horn makes the narwhal look like a mythical beast. This royal appearance has made these creatures the subject of many of the myths from the ocean. As you read the testament of the legendary, but down-to-earth, Ken Grossman, this beer is a good reminder that even fiction can be founded on facts. In many ways brewmasters are the ship’s captain, guiding their brewing vessel through the rough seas of barley and hops. The beer’s coffee-like flavors will keep you alert and its brisk, boozey chocolate tones will keep you warm as you follow Ken’s quest through the frigid, arctic-like seas of the early craft beer market and past the inspiring sights that legends are made of.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel, October 23, 2013

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