If you learn one skill in 2013, make it a mastery of the home brew. A host of books offer advice from the experts. Get reading, then hop to it.
“The Complete Joy of Home Brewing,” by Charles Papazian
Charles Papazian’s “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition” has all the information you need to start. The founder and president of the American Homebrewer’s Association and Association of Brewers gives instructions, charts, recipes, and guidelines. The only thing his book doesn’t do is brew the beer for the reader.
“Designing Great Beers,” by Ray Daniels
So many styles, so little time. Help, Ray Daniels. “Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles” is a technical take on the science of homebrewing. Even though he goes three chapters deep on hops, he also includes enough images and tips to keep the pace light.
“The Brewmaster’s Bible,” by Stephen Snyder
Stephen Snyder doesn’t mince words in his “The Brewmaster’s Bible: The Gold Standard for Home Brewers.” This large book serves as a go-to guide for all things home brew, including a long discussion of liquid yeasts, a couple dozen classic recipes, and water analysis for cities around the country. In other words, it’s a bunch of stuff you need, and a bunch you didn’t know you needed if you’re home-brewing bound.
“Radical Brewing,” by Randy Mosher
Two heroes of the home-brewing world, author Randy Mosher and Michael Jackson (who writes the foreword), team up in “Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales, and World-Altering Mediations in a Glass.” Mosher spends pages railing against the mega-breweries of the world, championing the little guy, and arguing that craft beer and home brews are the only ways to go.
“Extreme Brewing,” by Sam Calagione
“Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home” offers advice from Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione, one of the men responsible for the explosion of unusually ambitious alcoholic beverages over the past 10 years. He provides a brief overview of the basic science, then launches into the nitty-gritty details to create concoctions your friends won’t believe. (As a bonus, pick up Calagione’s “Brewing Up a Business,” which details how he built Dogfish Head into the money-making behemoth it is today.)
“Mini Farming Guide to Fermenting,” by Brett L. Markham
“Mini Farming Guide to Fermenting: Self-Sufficiency from Beer and Cheese to Wine and Vinegar” provides tips on the art of fermenting. Mini farming star Brett Markham runs the gamut from sourdough to vinegar, throwing in some beer and winemaking tips for good measure.
“Beer School,” by Tom Potter
Brooklyn Brewery rose up from a small space in Williamsburg to find a place in the new world order of craft beers. Co-founders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter explain their strategy in “Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of all people, brews up the foreword.