When I was contacted by Shire Publications for a book review, I was looking up in the likes of the previous one I had reviewed – Making Craft Cider . And I was not disappointed!
This book by Gretchen Schmidhausler is a guide to making craft beer at home.Craft beer is gaining popularity in the US and Canada and drinkers are gravitating towards handcrafted beers.
The author has been making beer at home for more than 20 years and is now a professional craft brewer.She is the owner / brewer of the Little Dog Brewing Co,New Jersey.So the book is a definitive guide from an expert in this field.
This book showcases the authors knowledge on the subject,her passion for the the art of brewing and also her love for craft beer.
The book starts with an Introduction .The author shares details on how she started brewing beer and how this book was born.
The next chapter is The Art and History of Brewing – The first mention of a beverage similar to beer has been traced back to the ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian regions. From there the chapter traces out the details of this drink through various ages and how it was refined in the process through the years. It is a very interesting read especially because of the vintage photos of the early breweries which progress to pics of the the modern day brewery / craft brewing.
The chapter –Further background tells you that when you talk craft beer you are literally speaking another language! So this chapter explains various brewing nomenclatures, the various terminology used, what tastes to look for while tasting beer,beer styles etc.
Next comes the Brewing ingredients where the four basic ingredients -water,brewing grains, Hops, yeast are explained in detail. There is also a small segment on fruits,spices and herbs.
Brewing equipment – This chapter outlines the equipments needed be it a basic kit or the equipments that cost thousands for a large scale brewing.The chapter is very detailed with photographs of the equipments as well.
The next chapter is Brewing process that actually decides the quality and consistency of the brew ,both of which are very vital.By the time you reach the end of this chapter, you will have an idea of what really happens in the process and what you need to do to achieve a good quality beer at home.
From fermenter to Bottle explains the further steps in the process till it is stored in the bottle.
The Recipe formulation helps learn the fundamentals of recipe formulation.It tends to be a commonsense approach rather than going too technical on the topic which is good for those who are new to brewing.
Enjoying Beer – There will be no reasons not to find someone [or a whole gang] to share the fruits of labor!This also leads to joining clubs, competition and festivals. And this chapter also has a segment talking about pairing beer and food
Tasting Notes and Trouble Shooting is a chapter on tips,simple guidelines to show
case the beer at its best.It also deals with off flavors and other common problems that one may encounter while brewing.
The last chapter is the glossary and some references for further reading.
What I really like is that this book provides a real insight to Craft beer brewing.It is a step by step guide with clear explanation and in an easy to follow language.
The photos and sketches on almost all the pages make it even more useful and interesting.
This book definitely demystifies the art of Craft Beer making!
Book – Making Craft Beer At Home
Author – Gretchen Schmidhausler
Publishers – Shire Publications
No. Of Pages -112