It is easy to think that independent beer is currently making history and to forget the long timeline prior to 2018, but two books are currently available that shed light on the events in brewing that led to today’s scene.
First up is Trappist Beer Travels by Caroline Wallace, Sarah Wood and Jessica Deahl. Follow this intrepid trio as they visit each and every official Trappist brewery from Belgium to the U.S. and countries in-between where they learn the back story on each monastery and learn about the how and why each one brew beer. More importantly, what they want their beers to stand for.
The heavy book is chock full of photos of monastery grounds, religious artifacts, and the near religious shiny copper brew kettles that are used to make such famous beers as Orval and Westvleteren as well as, gasp, IPA at Spencer Brewery in Massachusetts.
Next is Beeronomics: How Beer Explains the World. Authors Devin Briski and Johan Swinnen go the route of tracing the economic impact of beer throughout time. Starting way back with the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Just four chapters in and there is mention of Pliny the Elder, the Hanseatic League, The Glorious Revolution and more as politics and economics mingle and meet with beer, wine and spirits. You also get a little back story about a small little company that bought Anheuser-Busch.
Stay on that beer learning curve.
The BEER OF THE WEEK is hard to miss. Los Angeles has some really great can designs and that includes the new DIPA from Boomtown Brewery. The same artist who adorned the brewery’s large outside wall also designed the label for Ignorant, a hazy DIPA with a melange of tropical fruit notes. Look for cans now because they may be gone by the time Boomtown’s third anniversary rolls around on February 3.
Your HOMEWORK is to pre-order a third book, Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out. Josh Noel’s story promises to be a doozy, recounting the selling of Goose Island to ABInBev and the ramifications of that sale for not only Chicago’s famous brewery, but for craft beer and for the breweries that sold themselves after Goose, including a certain brewery in Los Angeles. The only bummer is that the book won’t come out until June.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.