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Hitting the (beer) books

Five bubbly texts and events for your beer education.

Like great beers, great beer books leave you refreshed, stimulated and eager for more. Five volumes to enhance your education and enjoyment:

Great Beer Guide (2000), by Michael Jackson

Like the musician of the same name, Jackson was a colossus in his field, more or less inventing modern beer writing with The World Guide to Beer (1977). His more recent book, Great Beer Guide, ranges across 500 classic brews, all given the Jackson treatment: prose that is poetic, smart and concise. 

The Great Beer Guide. (K.C. Alfred/Union-Tribune)

The Beer Bible (2015), by Jeff Alworth

If I were exiled to a desert island and had to choose just one beer book, this would be it. This “Bible” has something for every beer fan: travelogue (the chapter on Belgium is worth the $19.95 price alone); explanations of beer styles; reviews of notable beers. 

The Beer Bible (K.C. Alfred/Union-Tribune)

Beer Sommelier (2015), Fabio Petroni, Pietro Fontana and Giovanni Ruggieri

This coffee table book is beer porn at its most salacious and satisfying. Fontana’s text explores beer history and beer styles; Ruggieri seasons the book with beer-infused recipes. Neither, though, can match Petroni’s lush, sensual photos. An Irish stout’s cascading, mocha-colored head! A chalice of Italian lager, beaded with condensation! 

Beer Sommelier. (K.C. Alfred/Union-Tribune)

IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of the India Pale Ale (2012), Mitch Steele

San Diego’s most popular beer style and its complicated past are explored by Steele, Stone’s former brewmaster and current brewmaster and COO for Atlanta’s New Realm. This is beer history as written by a beer detective, tracking IPA’s origins across continents and centuries.

IPA: Brewing techniques, recipes and the evolution of India Pale Ale. (K.C. Alfred/Union-Tribune)

The Brew Your Own Big Book of Homebrewing (2017), Betsy Parks, ed.

Writing for homebrewers, Parks and her staff at Brew Your Own magazine are clear enough to entice non-homebrewers. This n-h especially enjoyed the 50-odd “clone recipes,” directions for DIY versions of The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, AleSmith’s Old Numbskull, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and other faves. Who knew that a dash of gypsum in the brew kettle will accentuate a beer’s hop character?

The Big Book of Homebrewing. (K.C. Alfred/Union-Tribune)

Let’s Go To The Hops

September beer events

Our mugs overfloweth with two stellar beer events beckoning on the same September evening.

Sept. 22: The monthly beer dinner at O’Toole’s, the University of San Diego’s pub, is awash in ales. The tab: $40. The time: 6 p.m. For reservations, call 619.849.8205.

O’Toole’s. (Courtesy photo)

Sept. 22: The area’s oldest organized beer bash, the San Diego Festival of Beer returns for its 23rd annual edition. Tickets: $50. 6-10 p.m. on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr.

Friends sharing beers at a festival. (Stock photo)



Course work: Diving into SDSU’s craft beer program

Study break: Tracking down a good pint on campus

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