Books on Beer

by Kate Heyhoe

Recently, a number of books have been published on beer, ranging from brewpub guides to cookbooks.

Here are the ones we found most useful:

Beer Mug

Cooking with Beer
by Lucy Saunders

Our favorite of the beer cookbooks for newbies, this tome is down to earth, very readable and gives the proper amount of information without being overwhelming. Direct and concise, this book covers all the basics, using common-sense and thankfully avoiding too many do's and don'ts. Saunders' recipes are right on target as well. She avoids overtaxing the palate, keeping flavors and ingredients manageable yet creatively refreshing. The right book to have when you want to go into the kitchen and just whip something up. A valuable cook's resource, we refer to it often. (Time-Life Books, 1996, $12.95, paperback)

Beer Mug

Famous Chefs and Other Characters Cook with Beer
by W. Scott Griffiths and Christopher Finch
Loretta Hwong, Food Editor

W. Scott Griffiths owns Rhino Chasers ales and beers. Christopher Finch is a beer expert, columnist and author. Together they gathered beer recipes from chefs, cookbook writers, a few celebrities and a handful of "others" and published them in Famous Chefs. Loretta-Hwong Griffiths adds the culinary know-how. While the recipes mostly favor the Rhino Chasers products, the book includes one of its most useful and very best features: a Substitution Chart, listing styles, brands and cooking properties. This chart takes the confusion out of buying beer as an ingredient. The recipes are generally more exotic than those of Cooking with Beer. However, star chefs like Andre Soltner, Michael Roberts, and Nobu Matsuhisa reflect their greatness by keeping the elements simple and dignified, balancing flavors rather than creating competition. (Doubleday, 1996, $25 hardcover)

Beer Mug

Real Beer and Good Eats
Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

Sausage maker Aidells and food writer Kelly team up in their second book together, taking an historic look at beer in America. I am reminded of the commercial in which football players chant "Eat football, live football, drink Coca-Cola!" This is a tome for total immersion into beer as a way of life. with chapters on Early America, the Lager Revolution, Old-Time Saloons, and sections tackling beer by US region, this book is a detailed, illustrated account of beer and beer lore in this nation. The 175 recipes supplement each chapter accordingly. While it is indeed thorough on the overall topic of beer, and it does contain a chapter on cooking with beer, this book is less useful to the newbie looking for easy to assimilate, practical lessons in cooking with beer. But it's great for those who like an entertaining read. (Knopf, 1996, $18, paperback)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Cooking with Ale


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