It’s only nine days until Christmas, and you’re still searching for the perfect gift for the beer lover in your life? Sure, you can take the easy way out and hit the local beer or liquor store, searching — possibly in vain — for a gift set of an interesting brew he or she has yet to try. Or you can add to their knowledge so they can spout off even more interesting and useful facts about beer.
Here are five books that any beer geek would be happy to find stuffed in a stocking:
1. The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn Dodd
Packed with 100 recipes that require at least one beer, Jacquelyn Dodd’s The Craft Beer Cookbook is a great reference for cooking with beer. Dodd presents the recipes in an easy-to-use way that doesn’t dictate what craft beer you should use, but instead offers suggestions regarding what characteristics to look for in a particular style of beer used in any given recipe. So far, I’ve used one recipe out of The Craft Beer Cookbook, and even my beer-hating girlfriend was delightfully impressed with the flavours and aroma present in the recipe. A full review is coming soon, but for now, consider getting your beer geek this brilliant tome.
2. Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher
If you think tasting wine is complicated, just think what goes into properly tasting and evaluating beer, which uses more than just two ingredients. The varieties of malted barley, hops and yeast that are used in the vast array of beer styles makes beer tricky to really understand. Enter beer expert Randy Mosher and his book, Tasting Beer. Colourfully laid out and filled with not only details on individual beer styles, but also historical facts, Mosher’s book is a must-have for the beer geek who really wants to dive deeper into the world of beer.
3. Beer For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Marty Nachel
Maybe your beer geek is just starting along his path in the world of beer and could use a simpler introduction to beer, its history and the proper way to serve and enjoy beer. Marty Nachel, who is also the author of Homebrewing For Dummies, is a great place for the budding beer lover to begin building a beer library. As with all For Dummies books, Beer For Dummies takes a simple and easy-to-understand approach to explaining what can feel like a complicated topic. Don’t get scared off by the For Dummies label; the books are actually quite deep, well-written and act as spectacular references.
4. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, 3rd Edition by Charlie Papazian
If you don’t know who Charlie Papazian is, then you’re clearly not a homebrewer. If the beer geek in your love is looking to make that fateful plunge into the homebrewing hobby, though, this book will soon have him shouting the praises of Papazian to the beer gods. Although it’s not the book I started with (that would be the previously mentioned Homebrewing For Dummies), Papazian’s book is considered the homebrewing bible by many and is a fine addition to any beer library. Papazian offers readers an excellent introduction to the hobby without making it seem esoteric and complicated. As Papazian would say, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.”
5. The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver
Good pairing is no longer limited to the winos. And nor should it be. In the last few years, beer and food pairing events have become extraordinarily popular, and the reason for that is partly due to a man by the name of Garrett Oliver, the head honcho at Brooklyn Brewery out of New York. Oliver has hosted countless beer and food pairing events, including at least a handful in the Great White North (I sadly had to miss the man’s Toronto appearance a few years ago). For those who don’t have the ability to see Oliver in person, or who might want some additional information about beer and food pairing, there’s this last book on our list. The Brewmaster’s Table offers tips for an affordable way to pair craft beer with food, and it’s chock full of images and details on how versatile beer is when paired with appropriate grub.
All of the books on this list are readily available from both online and brick-and-mortar bookstores. And it’s not yet too late to order to get them before Christmas.
Let us know in the comments if you have any favourite beer books.