Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour
By Lonely Planet Contributors – Lonely Planet Food, 2017 – Hardcover, $19.95
Those familiar with Lonely Planet’s guidebooks will be comfortable with this general reader on the subject of “craft” beer. How to ask for a beer in the local language, how to say “cheers,” and the best local bar snack are themes for each country and may or may not make you points when you visit an unfamiliar country seeking beer.
Given that the United States has over 5,300 breweries, listing one to three per major city barely scrapes the foam off the mug. The selections are, however, well curated, with few exceptions. The book’s strength is in foreign travel, including sections on Africa, the Americas (including a larger area than most listings of USA breweries), Asia, Europe (10 pages on Belgium barely gets it done) and Oceania for drinking Down Under.
This can be a handy resource for a thirsty beer geek who travels. Twelve pages on Italy suggests the contributors have spent some time there. The selections of the “Top 5 Beers” are for the most part sound and on point — especially for the section on Italy.
Great color photography throughout and a fun read, but the weight of the hardcover book might make it optional for the backpacker.
How To Brew
Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time, Fourth Edition
By John J. Palmer – Brewers Publications, 2017 – Quality paperback, $24.95
The House that Charlie Built continues to revise and update its extensive catalog of homebrewing books, and this newly released and significantly revised fourth edition might just be your go-to resource on the subject. The book remains not too technical for the beginner while offering the more advanced brewer specifics, charts and graphs useful to the detail-oriented and more experienced brewer.
No color pages, but lots of photos and graphic technical information that will appeal to many levels of beer geeks. This work began in the late 1990s and was an immediate hit online. The self-published print version was a best seller. The latest version includes updates on rapidly expanding resources such as malt, hops and yeast strains. Recent developments in brewing equipment are included as well. A “must have” for the cutting-edge brewer.
Rediscovered and Re-Created
By Patrick E. McGovern – W. W. Norton & Co., 2017 – Hardcover, $26.95
Professor McGovern (Dr. Pat to those who know him) is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an adjunct professor of anthropology. His passion is ancient fermentables. He partnered many years ago with an equally passionate but somewhat less credentialed fermentation explorer by the name of Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware and a well-known envelope pusher.
Together, Sam and Dr. Pat published results of their research and brewing attempts in various journals, including the Smithsonian magazine. Homebrew interpretations of various ancient beverages are included in the book, along with matching meal recipes to give the curious and clever a chance to reproduce the anthropological interpretations along with appropriate cuisine of the period. A richly researched and well-produced volume, if a bit esoteric.
Cocktails on Tap
The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer
By Jacob Grier – Abrams Books, 2015 – Hardcover, $24.95
This handsomely illustrated and richly researched tome has a cover design that speaks to the turn of the last century, where cocktails, after all, got their start. Mr. Grier is a veteran bartender and researcher who is no stranger to spirits and fermentables of all flavors. He is based in the Portland, Ore., area.
The Celebrator’s own Stephen Beaumont, coauthor of The World Atlas of Beer and The Pocket Beer Guide, pens the foreword and confesses his own lengthy history with the beer cocktail. “Rather than being a mere affectation of modern mixology, drinks made with beer as an ingredient have a long and storied history, spanning centuries and continents,” observes Beaumont.
Examples of various cocktails include a Mai Ta-IPA, offering a hoppy twist on the well-known tiki cocktail, while The Green Devil features Duvel and juniper-forward London Dry gin with a splash of absinthe. These and many more are included, along with compelling illustrations and exquisite color photography by David L. Reamer. Cheers!