March 1, 2012

Book Review: The Brewmasters Table

In preparing for the cicerone exam I have been doing some reading on food and beer pairings. Recently I read The Brewmasters Table by Garrett Oliver, it's the best book I have found yet on food and beer pairings.
The book is arranged into three parts; The basics (includes a definition of beer, a brief history of beer and the principals of matching beer with food), Brewing traditions (covers everything from lambic to british ales to the american craft beers), and the last word (covers glassware, temperature, storage and service as well as a reference chart). The second part of the book makes up most of the reading going in depth into every beer styles history, flavors and how to pair the beer.
This book took me awhile to read, it seems like more of a reference book. It follows the same format for each beer and it took me a long time to get through because I kept putting it down and not coming back to it. Still, it gave me a really good base on which to start experimenting with my own pairings and be pretty successful right away. Unlike Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher The Brewmasters Table does not cover how to taste and judge beer but rather tells you the facts you need to know (i.e. flavors) you need to know to pair just about any beer you may come across making it a great for quick reference.
I would recommend it for a book to keep handy for research on specific styles and/or pairings but nor for a book to sit down and read every night. Additionally it's a good study guide for the cicerone exam for the pairing information (the part I'm having the most trouble with) and a good guide for the BJCP exam for all the style information and history.

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