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A Basic Homebrewing Collection for Your Library

In the last week I have been immersed in a writing project I am thoroughly enjoying, so I’ve had just enough personal time to exercise, fiddle around with homebrewing, and do a little reading (finally almost done with The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing — which is nothing less than astonishing).

But I keep meaning to update you with my homebrewing — the reading, in any event.

Homebrewing is a surprisingly bookish craft, and many of the books make wonderful reading.  But if you can’t read all of the homebrewing books (or watch all the videos) you could start with these two books (scandalously underrepresented in public library collections):

Papazian, Charlie. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.  Now in its third edition, this cheery, reassuring book has walked many a new homebrewer through that crucial first brew. The pictures and illustrations are hokey, but not in a bad way.

Palmer, John. How to Brew.  A thorough book that digs deep into the technical aspect of brewing.  Palmer is a metallurgist, and his love of science and technical precision combine with an engaging voice to make an absorbing read. A great second book after Papazian.

If your poor downturn-eviscerated book budget has even a nickel to spare, you could add these as well:

Mosher, Randy. Radical brewing : recipes, tales, and world-altering meditations in a glass. Go to the edge of brewing and back! Elegant and inspiring.

Hieronymus, Stan. Brew Like a Monk. Great for understanding those wonderful Belgian beers, and beautiful reading.  A book of style and history — not a how-to or recipe book.

Spencer, James. Introduction to extract home brewing. This is a DVD by the host of Basic Brewing podcasts and video casts. I listen to Spencer’s podcasts regularly and have watched his free online videos. Though I haven’t yet viewed his DVDs, I recommend anything he produces. His relaxed, reassuring style and his deep domain knowledge are a winnable combo, particularly when he pairs up with cohort Steve Wilkes and they nerd it up in their button-down shirts in an  average American kitchen (I love it when the dog wanders in and out).  Spencer has a number of other videos; his Stepping Into All-Grain is on my personal purchase wish list (since only 3 libraries carry it!).  I’m not sure I want to try all-grain brewing without Spencer holding my hand.

There are many more good brewing books, some broad and some quite specific (I’m seriously tempted to write Brewing for Little Old Librarians) and I may have left yours off. Make a pitch for the brewing books you love!

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