Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wild Brews

On my recent trip to USA, I picked up a collection of books published by the Brewers Association. The set of three books is sub titled "Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition". Although the books are directed at the home and craft Brewer there is much within for the general beer enthusiast.

My first read is Wild Brews - Beer Beyond the Influence of Brewers Yeast by Jeff Sparrow. Although I have always enjoyed drinking the sour beers of Lambic, Gueuze and Flemish Red and Brown, I knew very little about them apart from a basic knowledge of wild yeasts imparting a sour characteristic.

My enjoyment of the beers is much improved now that I have a more detailed knowledge of the micro bacterial influences on the different beers. Although the book does get a bit technical in parts for the enthusiastic consumer, I generally found it an easy and most informative read.

If you are interested by these beer styles which are really out on the fringe of mainstream beer drinking then I can recommend this book absolutely. It gives everything one would want to know about the brewing methods and fermentation procedures as well as information on barrel aging, the use of fruit and a general history of the beer styles.

I have never seen a book on Belgian brewing that is so detailed but I am now on the hunt for Lambikland by Tim Webb, Chris Pollard and Jorys Pattyn which is not already on my bookshelf and which I hope will also bring more knowledge and enjoyment.

The other two books, making up this collection are Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus and Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski which I have yet to read. All three are available in this country through Amazon.


Mark said...

Wild yeasts seem to be the next big thing in US brewing. Sour is the new bitter! I don't know much about the style, struggling to get into it, so maybe knowing more would help - it sounds like a good read.

Larry Normal said...

The Wild Yeasts?

Wasn't that a film starring Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Roger Moore, et al?

Rudolph said...

Bought this book on the strength of this review and am most impressed with the content. Only read parts of it so far but very good information even for someone like me who likes Lambic beers and have been to breweries and blenders in Belgium.