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 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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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. sdbeerfest.org.