Randy Mosher’s book Tasting Beer is a fantastic primer on good beer, craft and historical, and everything that goes into or tangentially relates to good beer. He covers everything in great detail, touching on the history of various styles, regional brewing, and the craft beer explosion in the US over the last thirty years, he goes into judging and tasting parameters, proper glassware, and food pairing. All of this information is presented exhaustively, but never in such a dreary way as to fatigue an enthusiast.
But that’s the caveat. If you aren’t a beer enthusiast, this book isn’t for you. It’s 256 pages (and it’s a large-format book) of details. These details are extremely exciting if you’re the kind of person who wants to tour Belgium with your taste buds, but will drag seriously for anybody who just likes a decent IPA or something, nothing special.
Like most specialty books, Tasting Beer is written with a specific audience in mind. I love craft beer and homebrewing, and I really enjoyed the read. Mosher is a great designer and an obsessive researcher -both great qualities for writers of this kind of informational non-fiction. And this is the kind of book I love to read alongside heavier things -it was a welcome break from Next Door Lived a Girl and Heart of Darkness. If this sort of thing is your bag and you’re either a homebrewer or interested in the idea, check out his excellent book Radical Brewing for more in that vein.
Recommendation: I think you’ve got this figured out by now -buy it if you’re a beer geek, OK? Also, it’s only two bucks for the Kindle version at pres time, so…