Brew Like a Monk
Michael Jackson’s World Guide to Beer infected me with the Belgian beer bug in the late 1980’s and award winning beer writer Stan Hieronymus’s book Brew Like a Monk is one of the best books on the topic in long time. His writing style is engaging and informative, coming across like someone you would like to spend an afternoon in a bar with listening to him talk about beer. He divides the book into three parts: Brewing in Belgium, Brewing in America and Brewing in Your Own. His Belgian beer section covers the monastic brewing tradition, Trappist Ales, Abbey Ales (commercial beers inspired by Trappist Ales), and independent breweries. This section expands the understanding of the craft beer fan and provides a lot of useful information for the home brewer interested in these styles. Hieronymus’s discussion of brewing in America describes how American craft brewers has adapted and extended to style to American conditions. Two important chapters cover process issues such as ingredients and how to handle them and important process issues such as coaxing esters and higher alcohols out of the wort. In his section on Brewing Your Own, Hieronymous, gives the home brewer enough information to understand and brew these styles along with a series of recipes to use as guides. Highly recommended for both the home brewer and fan of Belgian Trappist and Abbey Ales. This book is recommended for those studying for the Beer Judge Certification Program Quarterly Written Proficiency Exam.