These are the books most often recommended by members of FTH to those wishing to learn more about beer in general, or about homebrewing. And if you like one enough to buy it, if you use these links you'll also be supporting Free The Hops!
General GuidesThese are great as introductions, learning about the history and the styles, or just as general reference while you sip your craft beers.
- Michael Jackson's Great Beer Guide by Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson, aka The Beer Hunter, was a world-renowned writer and journalist who brought different styles of beer into the limelight. He was influential in the definition of certain beer styles, and during his 30 years as a beer critic, he not only wrote columns for a large number of newspapers and magazines, but also hosted his own show (The Beer Hunter) which aired on the Discovery Channel and Channel 4 (UK).
- Ultimate Beer by Michael Jackson.
This book concentrates more on the specifics of beer - which beer, when to drink it, and with what - and is ordered by situation, enabling you to easily find beers for a summer's afternoon, for certain types of meal, or aperitifs. There's even a section on cooking with beer!
- The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food by Garrett Oliver.
This book contains everything you wanted to know about pairing food with beer, and then some. It covers the various brewing traditions, the principles of food/beer pairing, and information about storage, pouring and glassware.
- The Ultimate Beer Lovers Cookbook: More Than 400 Recipes That All Use Beer by John Schlimm.
If you want to move beyond using a splash of beer in a stew or creating beer batter in your cooking, this is the book for you. It contains hundreds of recipes using beer as an ingredient, covering every type of food from breads and soups to pasta and desserts.
- Drinking With Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church by Rev Jim West.
Recommended by a minister, and written by one, this book is a history of alcohol in Protestant Christianity. The author sets the record straight about the permitted use of alcohol, and reminds us that moderation should be practiced in all things.
Books About Homebrewing
This section is for all homebrewers, whether complete beginners or experienced brewmasters wishing to experiment with other styles.
- How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time by John Palmer.
Most often recommended as The Book to get when you first try homebrewing, the main criticism is that it's sometimes too technical for a complete novice. This, however, makes it ideal for those continuing to brew, and useful for years as an ongoing reference.
- The Brewmaster's Bible by Stephen Snyder.
Very thorough, without getting too complicated. If there's a reference book you need, this is probably it.
- Wild Brews: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by Jeff Sparrow.
Essential if you want to make sour beers, this book also covers brewing in the traditional Lambic tradition using wild yeast.
- Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass by Randy Mosher.
Michael Jackson (The Beer Hunter) once called Mosher "some kind of homebrewing genius", and you will soon see why: this author focuses on more creative ways of homebrewing, turning it into a form of high art rather than a science.
- Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them by Stan Hieronymus.
If you're a seasoned homebrewer and want to try some of the Trappist or other specialist beer styles, this is the book for you.