By David Nilsen
Craft beer has exploded in the last fifteen years in the United States. There are now over 3,000 craft breweries cranking out barley pop around the country, and hundreds more are opening every year. Coinciding with the rapid expansion of the artisan beer market has come the growth in popularity of homebrewing. A little bit of research and a couple hundred dollars of equipment and ingredients is all a person needs to brew their own ale or lager, though perfecting the process is a passionate pursuit that can take a lifetime. Many amateur brewers eventually even go pro, graduating from homebrewing to selling their beer locally and eventually opening their own full time brewery. But such aspirations aren’t necessary to enjoy brewing as a hobby.
If homebrewing is something you’re interested in checking out (or something you’re already doing), GPL has several books to help you along. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next great American beer. Of course, if you do, remember the librarian who helped you out!
Wisdom for Home Brewers: 500 Tips & Recipes for Making Great Beer by Ted Bruning and Nigel Sadler (641.873 Bruning). This brand new book is maybe the closest thing you’ll find to a homebrewing bible. Attractively laid out and illustrated, Wisdom walks through every single step of the brewing process. It also explains different malts and fermentable grains, various hops and seasonings, yeast options, maturation options, and methods of bottling and kegging the finished product. This is also the only book in the list that gives information for taking the next step into brewing professionally by starting a nano or micro brewery. It concludes will a large section of recipes to get started with. This is an all around excellent resource, and the first one here I would hand to a prospective homebrewer.
The Complete Guide to Brewing Your Own Beer at Home: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply by Richard Helweg (641.87 Helweg). This is also a very good book to get started with, though it is more streamlined than the above Wisdom. The book provides a helpful history of the brewing of beer, then provides an overview of the brewing process before getting into the basics of brewing at home. After that it’s turns into a standard brewing guide with plenty of helpful information. It should be noted that this book, as well as Wisdom, ends with a healthy list of resources for anyone seeking more and ongoing guidance in their homebrewing endeavors.
Big Book of Brewing: The Classic Guide to All-Grain Brewing by Dave Line (663.3 Line). This is the most streamlined of the books in this list, sparing few words and getting right down to business. Still, the book has all the basic information you need to brew your own beer for the first time laid out in a helpful format. It provides all the normal info and a good section of recipes, including an extensive list of advanced recipes for the homebrewer who wants a bigger challenge. This is also probably the most technical of the three, with a host of charts giving detailed cooking information. This one won’t hold your hand the way the other two will, but if you’re ready to jump in head first this one has all the information you’ll need.
You can find these book in the Nonfiction Room of the Greenville Public Library. Be sure to let us know how your beer turns out, and let us know which of these book helped you the most!