October 2, 2011

Book Review: Tasting Beer- Randy Mosher

In an effort to advance my tasting skills in order to take the cicerone exam I picked up a few books that I figured could help me.
Tasting Beer was an enjoyable read The beginning follows the same pattern any beer book does it follows the history of beer in 20 or so pages going from the ancient Sumerians & ancient Egyptians to the modern brewing industry, stopping to talk about porters in England along the way. Still Tasting Beer is more than just a general beer book.
The second chapter starts the tasting portion sensory evaluation, judging tips, presentation of beer, pairing beer with food. This is the portion of the book thats most useful. Tasting beer can be a difficult subject to broach in print but The book gives you a method to efficiently communicate whats going on in your glass and mouth. The book discusses some of the common flavors found in beers (intentional and off flavors) mouthfeel, carbonation, and how the brewing ingredients and process effect the final product. The book has several charts showing the differences in color, alcohol, and bitterness relative to styles.
The last half of the book is a discussion of styles. They are separated by country of origin and go briefly into the history of the given styles. This part was a bit tedious at times (reading about 15 styles and their original gravities/ IBU's can be boring at times) as it reads somewhat like a list.
Randy Mosher is part of the faculty at the sibel institute, he teaches courses in sensory panel management among otheres. He is a well respected author and lecturer in the beer world.
Overall i really enjoyed the book. I feel it started me on the road to really tasting and evaluating beer rather than just drinking it, however, reading a book is no substitute for experience when it comes to tasting and judging beer but thats the fun part. This book comes highly recommended

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