There’s an old saying that says, “Quarantine time means a betterment me time”. Okay, I just made that up, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Instead of binge-watching Netflix, why not use this time to gain some knowledge about the best drink in the world? (Beer, obviously.) Here are my top six beer eBooks that you can read over the coming weeks.
The Brewmaster’s Table – Garrett Oliver
This was the first beer book that I bought a couple of years ago when I was working on the idea for our TV show, Beer Country. It’s the book that first got me interested in food-and-beer pairing and it is packed – and I mean packed – with an incredible amount of knowledge. It covers everything from beer history and how it’s made to beer styles from around the world with an in-depth look at food pairing and why it works so well. It’s written by Garret Oliver, the charismatic brewmaster at the renowned Brooklyn Brewery in the USA.
Beer Safari – Lucy Corne
Lucy Corne is a travelling Brit who fell in love with South Africa and decided to make it her home. She’s been involved in the local craft beer scene since the beginning and Beer Safari is her second beer book, which picks up where the first one left off. It takes the reader on a journey across the length and breadth of South Africa, stopping at over 100 craft breweries along the way. It features interviews with brewers and inspiring origin stories, providing readers with the means to plan their own beer adventure road trip.
Tasting Beer – Randy Mosher
If you’re serious about learning the art of beer tasting in all its glory, then this is the book for you. I’ve learnt more about beer and how to appreciate the finer flavour points from this book than any other source. Randy is a beer Jedi and he breaks down all the complicated stuff into digestible bites. He covers tons of beer history, beer ingredients, how flavours are created, what to look for, beer styles and a whole lot more. It’s on its second edition at the moment, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
Beer Food Fire – Karl Tessendorf & Greg Gilowey
Okay, this may sound like a selfless promotional punt because I wrote this book, but hear me out: If you’re looking for a great introduction to beer, what makes it awesome, how to use beer ingredients like malt and hops in your kitchen, how to pair the perfect braai with beer, plus over 80 original recipes, look no further. Beer Food Fire also features Brew Master recipes with five of South Africa’s best craft breweries that were created during the filming of our TV show, Beer Country.
Miracle Brew – Pete Brown
Miracle Brew is a deep dive into the four ingredients of beer that span all the way back to when beer began over 10,000 years ago. It’s written by well-known British author Pete Brown, and he tackles mountains of information with plenty of humour and wit. He explores many of Europe’s oldest beer traditions, uncovers the magic of fermentation, delves into the lost art of hallucinogenic gruit beers, and introduces the reader to the wonder of modern-day hops with their massive range of fruity flavours. It’s a wild ride and well worth the time.
How to Brew – John Palmer
If you’re thinking about trying your hand at home-brewing, this book is your road map to success. It covers everything from equipment and recipes to beer styles and water treatment, plus a massive amount of invaluable brewing information. John breaks down the process into manageable chunks that include sanitation, fermentation, temperature control, proper yeast management, the boil and recipe development. He’s the godfather of home-brewing, so do as John says and all will work out smoothly.