Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver was given to me years ago by Garrett himself and has all the elements of a good beer book.  Oliver starts off with ingredients and moves on to history.  I find the discussion of these two topics very important.  All too often people forget the how and why of beer.  Refreshers on history and the brewing process put you back in the mindset of beer.  How is it made, where did it come from and what makes it taste this way are important attributes that we almost always forget.  No matter how many beer books I read I always find skimming these sections at a minimum results in learning something new.  Oliver’s discussion on ingredients and history help explain the traditional pairings many of us see everyday.

Oliver then goes on to discuss seven chapters of brewing traditions.  He first discussed Lambics.  I found this an interesting place to start, but somewhat logical at the same time.  On one hand Lambics can be one of  the most complex beers, but I feel they can be the easiest to pair with food.  Each chapter discusses the origination of the style, cultural background, and pairings.  The chapters finish off with representative beers of the style and best pairings for these particular beers.  I felt his pairing suggestions were pretty safe.  In a few spots I was looking for something more adventurous.  There was also one obscure pairing that really bothered me.  Oliver went on and on about Peluso Teleme and New Glarus Belgian Red.  According to my cheese guy Teleme is only available in California and New Glarus only in Wisconsin. The number of people who will be able to travel to make this pairing happen is very small.

After discussing these traditions, Oliver reiterates the importance of glassware, temperature and storage.  These topics are not to be overlooked.  I recently watched someone drink a $15 22 ounce bottle of beer from the bottle and cringed.  These three topics are as important to the quality of your beer as brewer ability.  Oliver finishes the book with a simple chart of pairings organized by ingredient.  Oliver did make sure to meet every taste in this section.  He has suggestions from the simple burger to calf’s liver.  Personally I would stick to the burger.  I do wish he would of worked some of the pairings in the back of the book a bit more into the earlier chapters.  He has some really great suggestions there

Overall Brewmasters Table is a great book, and worth a read.


Tags: , ,


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.