Thursday, April 17, 2014
Craft Beer for the Homebrewer: Recipes From America's Top Brewmasters
I'm not a homebrewer. Never even tried it. I always credit my disinterest in trying to brew my own beer with my zillions of hours of college organic chemistry lab followed by my employment post graduation. However, I do like to drink your homebrew!
When asked if I'd like to check out Craft Beer for the Homebrewer: Recipes From America's Top Brewmasters by Michael Agnew (Amazon affiliate link), I said yes as it might provide some additional appreciation. This is a book designed to give homebrewers the opportunity to brew "clones" of some of the top beers from the best breweries in the country.
The commercial beer industry owes a lot to homebrewers and regularly pays it back. They offer their expertise, time, equipment and facilities to local homebrewers. Heck, as this book shows, they even offer the recipes of some of the top beers they make so you can try your hand at brewing some Hop Stoopid or Nugget Nectar! There are no other industries I can think of that help the competition and reward each other like craft brewers do.
Michael Agnew along with a few others (including Billy Broas, who I have personally seen offer brewing expertise on Twitter for years) wrote this book for established homebrewers. I don't see someone who decided to brew for the first time having an easy time accomplishing the recipes here, but if you've brewed before and know the terms and general procedures, this is a kick-ass book.
Craft Beer for the Homebrewer is organized by beer styles and features 38 beer recipes from 23 breweries. And we're not talking about no-name beers or brewers. From Avery Maharaja to Allagash Curieux to Cigar City El Lector to Stone Leviathan, you will certainly have a difficult time picking one to start with.
The book offers several "Extra Tips" as well for the burgeoning homebrewer. Basically, this is a GREAT reference for the homebrewer that is looking to ratchet things up a notch. If you're done brewing your buddy's lemon zest pale ale with almonds type recipes and ready to see what it takes to mimic pro brewers and pro recipes, this is the book for you. It offers extract and all-grain methods for each recipe, carefully calculating for a standard 5 gallon batch size.
Of the 38 recipes, if you were my friend and you shared your homebrew, I'd ask you to brew these weekly (since 5 gallons isn't really enough): Hop Stoopid, Maharaja, Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA, Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin', Rugbrod, El Lector, Hazelnut Ale, Leviathan, Nugget Nectar, and those are just from the list of ones I've tried!
Nice book. Nice pictures and stories. And great perspective from a community angle that really does exist in the brewing world! Grab a copy of this book, especially if you are a homebrewer that is interested in trying your hand at making some of the top beers out there!