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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Spotlight: Classic Beer Style Series

By Doug Dorda

I recall fondly the day I declared that I had brewed my last “kit” beer. Not yet an employee, I strode proudly into Siciliano's with a staunch resolve that I was finally going to make the beer that I wanted to make. However, as I took to looking at the ingredients in bulk and their raw form, I was overcome with the realization that I had no idea what I was doing. I desired to make a Scotch ale, but I was woefully unprepared. My heart lifted as Kati (still an employee today, and the reason I began to brew my own in the first place) asked me if I needed any help.

When I finished explaining my predicament, she simply smiled and told me it was going to be okay. She then explained that we could either make a recipe together using the ProMash recipe software on the store's computer, or I could research the style for a time and come back when I knew what I was up to. I opted for plan B (a curious college student does like to read into things after all). Kati pointed me to the Classic Beer Style Series of books that is released by the Brewers Publications, a division of Brewers Association itself.

Imagine my delight as I came to discover that each of the books in the series focuses on one particular style of beer, its historical roots, its significance in culture, and of course the information necessary to accurately and definitively brew each of the styles in question. Each of the titles, from pale ale to Vienna, Marzen, Oktoberfest are authored by experts of not only their prospective style, but also their brewing technique and practice. After reading the book dedicated to scotch ales, I felt as though I had become a scholar on the subject, and as such I was able to work with the employees of Siciliano's to bring my recipe to fruition.

I owe much of what I know about recipe formulation to these books. The information contained within them serves as a constant resource to all of us here at the store, and to countless professional brewers the world over. I have taken the calling these books the Encyclopedia Brew-tanica.

If you are a new brewer that is considering learning to write your own recipes, an experienced brewer who would like to learn holistically about new beer brewing practices, or someone who simly enjoys beer and would like to learn the history of your favorite style, these are books for you. I can not credit them enough for having helped shape the brewer I am today, and it is my hope that they help to bring out the best brewer/connoisseur in you. The books are available in Siciliano's and range in price from $11.95 to $14.95. For a full listing of the style series, with descriptions, please visit the Browse Books page at brewerspublication.com. Or just stop into Siciliano's and spend some time in our ever-growing book department.

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