Five Great Books on Beer

Posted on June 9th, 2010

When I’m not drinking beer one of my favorite things to do is read about beer. In the last ten years or so a number of outstanding books have been published on the subject of beer and brewing. Here’s five great ones to add to your library.

1. The Brewmaster’s Table – This tome by Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garret Oliver is at first glance a guide to pairing beer and food, but really it’s so much more than that. Oliver presents a thorough history and profile of many of the most popular and well loved beer styles along with well written stories and anecdotes of his many travels and visits to some of the world’s best breweries.  It’s a must for any lover of beer, food or both.

2. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing – This is the book that started it all.  Charlie Papazian is the godfather of the modern homebrewing movement and by extension the craft beer movement as well.  This book, now in its 3rd edition, remains all you really need to learn how to make beer yourself. Papazian breaks down every aspect of brewing to simple, easy to understand steps while keeping first time brewing jitters away with his motto – “Relax, Don’t Worry About It, Have a Homebrew.”

3. Designing Great Beer – Once you’ve learned the basics of homebrewing this book is a must. Ray Daniels takes a detailed look at a variety of styles, breaking down how they’re brewed and what ingredients they call for to make it easy for you to start creating your own recipes. The history of each style is also presented in amazing detail, which makes for a great read even if you’re not brewing.

4. Brewing Up a Business – In this book Dogfish Head founder Sam Caligone tells the tale of how Dogfish Head went from the smallest commercial brewery in the US to one of the most renowned breweries in the world. It’s inspiring stuff for anyone who’s daydreamed about making beer more than just a hobby.

5. Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium – This is the book that first got the craft beer world interested in Belgium and Belgian-style beers. Jackson was championing the brews from this tiny country long before they were popular, but thanks to his tireless efforts and books like this one, you can now find Chimay and other Belgian beer almost anywhere in the world.

What are your favorite beer books? Let us know in the comments.

  • AndrewN

    I got #4 and Mr. Oliver's 'Beer School' on the way, actually. 🙂

  • David Astor

    Hello, I have a small bookstore bar, just wanted permission to use the image above for a facebook event (less than 30 people, one time use). All the best, your copywrite respecting friend, David.