• Book Review: Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches [Kindle Edition]

    Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches [Kindle Edition]

    You've got to hand it to some people for spotting a gap!

    Beer brewing for me was for a long time inaccessible.. or at least I thought so. Visions of having to boil big pots of water with some sticky mess associated with it, or those big plastic buckets and other paraphernalia getting in the way.

    Then one wet and miserable April Day, someone sent me a link to what was for me an epiphany - the ability to brew beer in small batches, like 1 gallon, and make good beer too! That link was to a local supplier of kits put together by Brooklyn Brew Shop. Started by a young couple, Erica and Stephen, in a somewhat cramped New York, their philosophy was simple. Good all-grain beer in your kitchen using as little space as possible or, "to get everyone brewing by simplifying the beer making process without dumbing it down..". I was hooked and dashed out to pick up a kit, including a mix of Bourbon Dubbel.

    I was having fun, and bought a couple more of their kits, a second Bourbon Dubbel, an IPA and a Chestnut Brown (for which I had to go on the hunt for chestnuts).

    But the clever people at BBS had another ace up their sleeve.. a book containing a whole whack of beer recipes, specifically designed for their 1 Gallon carboy kits. Probably the final hook for me and my exasperated wife knew she was in for the long haul!

    The Beer Making Book starts off describing the equipment in their kits, and what equipment you need to raid from your kitchen (or buy). They don't spend much time on the ins-and-outs of the science of brewing.. and that is a good thing, instead briefly describing the process, the ingredients in their recipes, and the beer styles their recipes fall into.

    The basis of the book is 52 seasonal beer recipes, appropriately arranged according to the four seasons, such as an Everyday IPA or Rose Cheeked and Blonde for spring (not forgetting the World's Greatest Dad Brown), a Grapefruit Honey Ale or Jalapeno Saison for summer, a Pumpkin Dubbel (my personal favourite) or Apple Crisp Ale for autumn, and finally a Coffee and Donut Stout (which reminds me of American cops) or the Bourbon Dubbel for winter. There are also suggested food pairings for those who like to be a bit more sophisticated in their beer brewing, although their BBQ Beer (that's "Braai Beer" for us Saffers), I must say is best quaffed when supervising sausages and bacon on the coals, with fried eggs and mushrooms, while observing Fish eagles on the Breede River.

    I have personally brewed a number of these recipes and they're all bang on drinkable - Erica and Stephen certainly did their homework. Many of the recipes do however, use somewhat esoteric ingredients, such as lavender (Lady Lavender), rose petals (Rose Cheeked and Blonde), cardamom (Cardamom Ale), coconut (Coffee and Donut Stout), grapes (Grapes and Grains Ale). The US is known for its freedom regarding beer so some of these recipes might not be to the taste of us slightly more conservative South Africans. Also some of these ingredients are slightly more difficult for us to find, but they are will worth the effort. When I started with these recipes many of the hops were not yet available, but the explosion in home brew suppliers should mean you'll probably find most ingredients.

    For those who wish to brew the standard 5 Gallon (19 liter) batches, these is no need to fret trying to scale the recipes, because this has been done for you.

    Unusually, some of the recipes are gluten-free, a great idea for those who avoid beer because of gluten intolerance.

    I also really enjoy the fact that Erica and Steve busy themselves in the kitchen using the by-products (mash or fruit) or even the final product (beer) in food recipes also included in the book, such as such as Malted Apple Ice Cream, or Beer and Sage Fondue.

    I think this book is an essential addition to the library of the small batch All Grain brewer, especially those who like to experiment and need some ideas. Not only that even the big batch brewers will gain much inspiration. Erica and Stephen have done much to make beer-making accessible, not only in the US, but here in South Africa, where a local supplier is now also selling 1 gallon kits.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. AtronSeige's Avatar
      AtronSeige -
      This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review.

      I will add it to my wishlist for Hogswatch. Maybe I will be finished with "How To Brew" and "The Joy Of Homebrewing" by then!
    1. AtronSeige's Avatar
      AtronSeige -
      As a side note, the physical book is cheaper than the kindle version. Not sure why...