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Essential brewing books: new and old

Sadly, those who were hoping to find Randy Mosher’s new book, “Mastering Home Brew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer,” under the tree next month will have to wait — the release has been delayed until spring. Mosher showed off some of the pages earlier this year at the National Homebrew Conference and it is clear it will belong on any list of essential homebrewing books.

Here are some others, starting with the newest release in Brewers Publications “Brewers Elements Series”:

- “Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers”

- “Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation”

- “For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops”

- How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time

- “Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles”

- “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition”

- “Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass”

An IPA book for drinkers and brewers alike

 IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale AleWhat should “the authoritative guide to the brewing techniques and history behind” India pale ale include?

- A complete and accurate history of the style, one that addresses the various myths. Check.

- Plenty of historic recipes. Check.

- Lots of recipes for modern day versions, including many variations, and details about ingredients and process. Check.

- All the data beer and brewing geeks could ask for, packed into handy appendices. Check.

- An author who knows a little about brewing IPAs. Check.

The book is IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale and the author is Mitch Steele, head brewer at Stone Brewing Company.

For the love of honey

Ken Schram, author of The Compleat Meadmaker: Home Production of Honey Wine from Your First Batch to Award-Winning Fruit and Herb Variations, writes: “My goal … is to begin bringing to meadmakers the breadth and depth of knowledge and resources that are available to beer brewers and winemakers. I sought to cover the many aspects of meadmaking in a comprehensive but easy-to-read fashion, and to provide readers with an understanding of the role quality ingredients play in creating a really pleasing mead.”

Books, books and more books

Oxford Companion Guide to BeerBook publishers seem to have caught on to the fact that increasing sales of specialty beer reflect an overall growing interest in beer. There are plenty of new books for the season.

* The heavyweight — both in terms of its own weight (4 pounds) and the attention it has attracted — is the The Oxford Companion to Beer. Nine-hundred and sixty page, with more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 contributors.

* Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch has his name on the front of two books. The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. is the one fans of the brewery will prefer, with plenty of company history, presented Stone style (another words with the “Unabashed Arrogance” the sub title promises). The full lineup of Stone beers gets equal attention, with both beer recipes and food recipes included. The Brewer’s Apprentice is more of an around-the-world adventure, with 18 international (that includes the U.S., of course) brewers sharing philosophies and brewing tips.

* Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest. Lisa Morrison (@Beer_Goddess) leads a tour through breweries and brew pubs in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. She suggests using the book as a compass, and in this case the compass comes with great maps and engaging commentary.

* The Book of Beer Knowledge. A little book with a lot of beer facts. Just the right size for a Christmas stocking.

* Let Me Tell You About Beer. Simon Johnson calls it “the best book about beer since Michael Jackson’s ‘Great Beer Guide.’ And then some.”

* What the Hell am I Drinking? Don Russell provides checklists for more than 1,500 brands and 50 essays on beer styles.

* Brewed Awakening. Previously reviewed here.

* Brewing Better Beer: Master Lessons for Advanced Homebrewers. Technical, practical and creative homebrewing advice from Gordon Strong, three-time winner of the National Homebrew Competition Ninkasi Award.

* The Great American Ale Trail. A guide to the best places to drink craft beer in America. Hundreds of entries, including top-ten lists for “Best Dive Bars for Craft Beer Lovers,” “Best Beer Festivals,” and “Best Beer Cities.”

Joe Sixpack’s shopping list

Joe Sixpack, otherwise known as Don Russell, has assembled quite the list, with suggestions from books to beer. Plus some unusual items.

“FOR THE WALL FLOWER: The Lagunitas Brewing Butterfly Bottle Opener. Guaranteed to turn the recipient into the life of the party. Either that or he’ll poke his eye out.”

Russell modestly waits until the end to mention his own new release for the holidays, “What the Hell am I Drinking?” It’s a major guide, with checklists for more than 1,500 brands. But it’s also fun. Russell provides 50 essays on beer styles, along the way probing the questions you really want answers to. Such as:

* The beers of Chaucer and Charlie Sheen.
* What Guinness tasted like 100 years ago.
* The real Champagne of beers.
* The medicinal value of Scotch Ale.
* How American beat the Brits in the IPA war.