I love a great beer. I’m about to depart on a beer tasting tour of Belgium—known for its lambics, Flemish reds, and Trappist monasteries. So, as any good nerd would do (and I know we all are), I’m downing books on beer in preparation.
There is a serious lack of diversity in books published about beer and in the craft beer industry in general. NPR has covered the lack of people of color in brewing over the years (here and here), and a leading industry site Hop Culture has covered the issue of gender diversity. With festivals like Fresh Fest and organizations like The Pink Boots Society fighting for industry change, I think there’s promise for the future. Here’s hoping someone like @blackbrewculture or @isbeeracarb creates a great new beer book soon! I would read it!
Until then, here’s my Beer Lovers Big Book List.
Just Starting Out
The Complete Beer Course by Josh Bernstein
Josh Bernstein is one of the foremost beer experts and journalists, and this book is a crash course in tasting beer and its various styles. It’s a great place to start to get more familiar with all things beer, covered in 12 digestible lessons.
Passionate About Craft Beer
Brewing Revolution: Pioneering the Craft Beer Movement by Frank Appleton
This is a memoir by the man known as the founder of the Canadian craft beer movement. In the 1970s, English-trained brewmaster Frank Appleton got fed up with the gigantic Canadian macrobrew companies and went off-grid to homestead and brew his own better craft beer—he’s awesome. This book is his history with beer over the past 50 years, and it chronicles the way his innovative and creative experimenting paved the way for craft beer to rise in Canada.
For The Beer-Loving Foodie
Garret Oliver is an award-winning brewer and a long-time brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, but the really special thing about this beer book is how he discusses beer pairing with food. He interviewed chefs and brewmasters alike to come up with beer pairings for all kinds of different beer styles from all over the world. So if you’re a foodie, or you love hosting, this is the beer book for you.
On Beer and Culture
Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi
Hear me out. I know there isn’t beer in the title, but there is a chapter in here about beer and beer brewing! Sethi’s book is about the cultural importance of certain foods and the emotional connections we have to the things we eat. In this exploration of food around the world, she warns that the food industry is steadily eroding and homogenizing, which poses a threat, not only to our health but to our traditions and culture.
Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer edited by Nathaniel G. Chapman, J. Slade Lellock, and Cameron D. Lippard
Untapped is a collection of 12 essays on craft beer and culture. It links the rise in craft beer to changes in consumer culture, discusses how beer trends play into larger food trends, and asks important questions about gentrification, gender, class, and race that the craft beer industry should consider.
The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey (Author), Mike Smith (Author), Aaron McConnell (Author, Illustrator)
This is a full color graphic novel on the history of beer that takes readers through all the key events of beer history with really cool illustration.
The Little Book of Craft Beer: A Guide to Over 100 of the World’s Finest Brews by by Melissa Cole (Author), Stuart Hardie (Illustrator)
This is a great gifting book. It covers 100 of the best beers in the world, complete with illustrations, information about the styles, and pairing information.
Goodnight Brew: A Parody for Beer People by Karla Oceanak (Author), Allie Ogg (Illustrator)
Just like it sounds, Goodnight Brew is a Goodnight Moon parody that takes place at a brewery at closing time! It’s really cute, and surprisingly informative. This would be a great gift.
For The Beer Lover Who Travels (My Favorite!)
The Bucket List: Beer: 1000 Adventures • Pubs • Breweries • Festivals by Justin Kennedy (Author)
The Beer Bucket List is a huge book covering the best bars, breweries, beer festivals, pub crawls, and beer museums in the world. As a person who loves beer and travel myself, I flipped right to the sections on the Czech Republic’s pilsners and Munich’s beer gardens, and I loved the selections they chose!
Will Travel for Beer: 101 Remarkable Journeys Every Beer Lover Should Experience by Stephen Beaumont
This is another beer travel book laid out by location. It has recommendations on everything from Bruges to Bangkok, and even includes some really unique suggestions like an Oktoberfest in Brazil and some of new craft breweries popping up in China.