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Book Review – ‘The Brewmaster’s Table’

I like beer, and I like food. On occasion, I enjoy the two simultaneously. In my opinion, beer and food seem to fit together like mortared bricks. Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, seems to feel the same way.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up Oliver’s recent book ‘The Brewmaster’s Table’ and today I am here to inform you that I am glad that I did. This book has redirected my vision of beer and food.

Oliver paints mouth watering portraits of beer at the dinner table. His writing style is pleasant and at times even humorous (Imagine! Laughing at a beer book!). He points the reader away from many common misconceptions about beer and wine’s places with meals.

‘The Brewmaster’s Table’ starts out strong. Oliver explains a little about himself and his history with beer, and then he directs his attention to the history of beer itself. The third chapter of the book delves into the ‘meat’ of the subject, “Principles of Matching Beer With Food”. Oliver’s words on this subject are truly drool inducing.

The bulk of the book is devoted to “Brewing Traditions”. Oliver breaks down many popular styles, and addresses the flavor and aroma characteristics that should be associated with them. Then he pairs the expected flavors from each style with an appropriate food, dish or cuisine. This portion of the book will be excellent for perusing while getting together the grocery list for tonight’s dinner.

Oliver’s debunking of the myth, that wine is better at the table than beer, is very successful with this reader (whether the wine drinker audience is impressed is not known). Throughout my reading, I found myself motivated to go out on the street and quiz wine sommeliers on which wine should be paired with eggs, or asparagus. I wanted to try many of the combinations of beer and cuisine that Oliver writes about. I found myself snacking, just a little bit more while reading this book.

If you consider yourself a beer lover, or if you’re trying to learn more about great craft beer, you simply cannot skip this book. I am tempted to buy this as christmas presents for many of my ale-challenged friends and family members. This book sits upon my beer bookshelf as one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read about a subject very dear to me.

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