Book Reviews

Beery Books in the Wrangler’s Library: Fireside reading or campfire kindling?

Beers of British Columbia – by Leo Buijs


Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Whether you’re a fan of BC craft beer, live in BC or just visiting, then this is a book for your collection. It is a dossier of brewpubs and microbreweries and covers fundamental information of a brewery’s offerings and sometimes with a bit of history is thrown in.  If you can see past the clunky and inconsistent formatting, (this is a self published book) and get to the ‘meat and potatoes’, then you will really find a lot of great information from this guide.  If you’re planning any beer related trip in British Columbia, this guide will likely motivate you to check out what’s in the area of your visit.

From beer neophyte to established aficionado, there is information that everyone can use in this publication, and call upon it as a consistent reference.  Keep in mind that this book was published in 2010 and already many changes have occurred in the craft beer industry in “Beautiful BC”, but for the most part, it is still very relevant;  that being said, I wholeheartedly look forward to the 2nd edition in the future.


Homebrewing for Dummies – by Marty Nachel

230626 cover-rb.inddWrangler Rating:


Homebrewing for Dummies might not make it as a ‘classic’ homebrewing book, and there might well be guides with nicer covers and lots of photos inside, but do not underestimate the value of this one! The book starts with the basics, and everything is laid out very simply, keeping the more advanced information for later. Equipment, ingredients, sanitation and basic methods are well covered before you get to the stage where you actually brew. The brewing process is unbelievably simply put, so that even I could follow it with no mishaps when brewing my first batch. The book then goes on to intermediate brewing with speciality grains and then a step-by-step guide to the full mash. Other topics are discussed like reusing your yeast, clarifying your beer and how to keg your brew instead of bottling amongst many others. There is also a good selection of recipes covering many styles of ale and lager to get you going. This may not be the definitive homebrewing book, but if you are new, or making the step to a full mash brew, then this is an excellent and easy to follow manual, preparing you for what can be a complicated hobby.

Published by: Wiley

ISBN: 978-0-470-23062-6

The Brewmaster’s Table – by Garrett Oliver


Wrangler Rating

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

The Brewmaster’s Table by Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver is a journey around the world of beer as seen through the eyes of a food lover, or should that be the other way round? Either way this book covers all angles of food and beer and how they interact when served together. It is a very readable book, and I read it cover to cover fairly quickly. The conversational and personal style is enjoyable to read and tells of the author’s journey to Europe where he discovered the joys of quality beer as a young man. He goes on to write about the different styles of beer by visiting the various major brewing nations of the world, talking to brewers and tasting their beer. Food pairings are made throughout the book, as well as a ready reckoner of great combinations at the back for easy reference. The exquisite design and layout of the book are complemented by the photography of Denny Tillman, capturing the people, beers and breweries that Oliver visits and writes about. This is a lovely book, well laid out and a joy to read. This is not necessarily a book for all beer fanatics, but if you are a bit of a ‘foodie’, and love your beer, then this is a must. This is also a great book for someone who thinks that wine is the only drink to pair with the food they serve at dinner parties, as it shows just what beer can do with a variety of cuisines from across the globe.

*                                                                       Published by: ecco (Harper Collins)

*                                                                       ISBN: 978-0-06-000571-9

Beers of the World – by David Kenning

beersworldWrangler Rating

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Mediocre)

Beers of the World promises to be a journey around the world via 350 classic beers. ‘Classic or popular’ I ask myself. Any book that devotes a large one page spread to Fosters Lager, and also adds Tennent’s Super to the list (The choice of the discerning homeless man in the UK) is struggling to fulfill the promise of ‘Classic’. Sadly the photographs are not great, with some strange choices for glasses and head size. This has the feel of a book that was hastily and cheaply put together. But why the second tankard I hear you ask… Well it’s not all bad, there are some interesting beers from countries that don’t often get a mention elsewhere, and also some obscure beers which will pique your interest. Despite alot of mainstream lagers that get included, there are many wonderful brews, so it’s far from a complete loss. The other factor is that this is not an expensive book. For a fully colour, large format hardback book, I paid the same as a new release paperback, so I don’t feel cheated whatsoever. This would be a fine buy for someone who has taken their first step away from drab domestic lager and wants an easy book to browse and look at some other beer labels, not a serious book for a beer geek; there are much better ‘beer list’ reads out there, like ‘The Great Beer Guide’ by Michael Jackson for example.

*                                                                     Published by: Parragon

*                                                                     ISBN: 978-1405450508

The Beer Book – Editor-in-Chief: Tim Hampson


Wrangler Rating

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

The Beer Book is more than just a coffee table decoration, it’s a really enjoyable voyage through a world of ales, lagers, brewing traditions and beery nations!  It has a myriad of must try beers of all styles from around the globe. There are travel ideas for beer trails in some of the classic places making the brews that feature in the book, like Oregon, Brussels or Bamburg. There are also brewery features, from the big names like Guinness to great craft producers like Thornbridge in the UK. The book boasts over 1700 beer reviews so you won’t get bored browsing through, planning your next beer trip. A must buy for any beer aficionado’s library

Published by: Dorling Kindersley

ISBN: 978-0-7566-3982-2



Tasting Beer – by Randy Mosher


Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

‘Tasting Beer’ by Randy Mosher is tagged as ‘An insider’s guide to the world of beer’ and promises the reader to have a ‘portable beer expert’ at their fingertips. There is no doubt that Randy Mosher knows his stuff. As the author of the homebrewers’ favourite ‘Radical Brewing’  and ‘The Brewers Companion’, he comes from the angle of industry pro (he serves on the board of the Brewers Association) as well as enthusiastic consumer and homebrewer. Having previously worked in the wine industry, and studied for exams, I have always felt that there wasn’t a really informative book teaching the reader about beer as there is in the wine world.  Randy Mosher plugs that gap with style. This book is as informative as it is accessible, and doesn’t scare the novice off with too much chemistry. Having said that, even the most knowledgeable connoisseur will enjoy reading this book and find plenty to learn about, whether it’s the history  of  brewing, or modern American variants on traditional styles. This book contains a barrel load of information, from judging beer festivals to food pairing, from British and Belgian Ales to the craft brew movement around the world, it’s all here. This is a fantastic read and anyone who wants to                                                                               deepen their knowledge and respect for this wonderful drink, has to buy this book.

*                                                                   Published by: Storey Publishing

*                                                                   ISBN: 978-1-60342-089-1

More Book reviews coming soon!