To the uninitiated, the craft beer world can be a disorienting maze of styles and contradictions and a dizzying array of flavors and aromas. And instead of having to explain each detail and having to Google beer vocabulary, it can be a lot easier to just someone a book and say. Read this. It will explain everything.
Drinkology a Book about Beer by James Waller with additional material from Tony Moore could be that “Craft Beer 101” book.
It is an odd shaped and heavy hardcover book broken up into essentially five sections. History of beer and how it is brewed, a beer dictionary, an essay about the misadventures of a first time home brewer, how beer and culture collide and finally beer cocktails.
This is the third in the Drinkology series that started with cocktails, moved on to wine and is now covering craft beer. The tone throughout the book is very. Waller admits that he is not a beer expert but rather a late to the game beer enthusiast. This writing style should put the good beer novice at ease. Uber beer geeks will probably get annoyed however at the constant reminders that the author isn’t an authority on the topic. Especially when the third person voice gets overused.
What I found most interesting were the side bars and historical asides that popped up throughout the book. I gleaned some new information about hops and some history on craft beer and cans. So there is plenty of information to keep the pages turning.
The only other quibbles that I have with the book are that the section on beer and cocktails seems a bit tacked on to me. A few recipes and that’s about it. I would have preferred an expanded section on beer and food pairing. Also, to my mind, there is no need for any mention of beer drinking games. Especially if we are talking about the good stuff.
The two additional pieces by Tony Moore have the same lighthearted “let’s see where this beer adventure takes us” attitude which is good for the overall book and really highlights the beginning stages of craft beer love.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I again recommend two beers. But these two are the inaugural offerings from the brand spanking new Golden Road Brewing. They debuted over the weekend and I had the opportunity to sample them on Monday night at 38 Degrees. The Point the Way IPA pours a dark orange and off the top hits you with a big pine aroma. That carries through into the flavor which is strong but not overpowering. It tastes bigger than the ABV of +5% and if you let it warm up some tangerine notes creep in as well. The Hefeweizen is hazy and yellow and what I expect when I order this style. Big banana aroma followed by that familiar clove spice. And if you let this warm a bit some candied orange peel flavors come to the front. This is a strong start for our newest brewery.
Your Homework this week is get your tickets for events you want to really, really attend during L.A. Beer Week . The beer dinners for sure, should be purchased before hand but there are other events like the Golden Road opening and the Naja’s Kick-Off party that also require tickets. Not that there won’t be plenty of other beer options on each day but you don’t want to be the regret filled person saying, “I wish I could have been at…”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.