The Secrets of Master Brewers

Shelf Talker by | Oct 2017 | Issue #129

The Secrets of Master Brewers: Techniques, Traditions, and Homebrew Recipes for 26 of the World’s Classic Beer Styles, from Czech Pilsner to English Ale
by Jeff Alworth
Storey Publishing | March 2017, $24.95

Homebrewers clone foreign beer styles all the time. But Jeff Alworth argues that the real substance of a beer goes deeper than the instructions on the page—the secrets are in the ingredients and techniques that came out of a specific time and place. In his latest book, Alworth taps the brewers of some of Europe and America’s most iconic beers for insights on what makes their ales and lagers special. Divulgences range from the conceptual (take Duvel brewer Hedwig Neven’s emphasis on “subtle but insistent hopping”) to the concrete (although Schneider & Sohn’s seven temperature rests might be a bit labor intensive). Alworth also explores what he calls “the invisible hand of culture” that shapes these styles—in other words, why everyone drinks Kölsch in Cologne and Altbier just 27 miles away in Düsseldorf. Amid a glut of homebrew books out there, Alworth’s brings something new to the table.