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The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

Traditional craft-brewed beer can transform a meal from everyday to extraordinary. It’s an affordable, accessible luxury. Yet most people are only familiar with the mass-market variety. Have you tasted the real thing? In The Brewmaster’s Table, Garrett Oliver, America’s foremost authority on beer and brewmaster of the acclaimed Brooklyn Brewery, reveals why real beer is the perfect partner to any dining experience. He explains how beer is made, relays its fascinating history, and, accompanied by

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  1. 63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Dispelling the Image of Beer as “Cheap Fizz”, March 16, 2004
    By A Customer

    Before Garrett Oliver visited our wine/beer shop, I hadn’t read a word of this book. Now, I can’t put it down.

    It was obvious, during his hour-and-a-half visit/tasting that he was a wizard. Grabbing various cheeses and beers from our shelves, seemingly on a whim, I wondered what he was up to. But tasting Ommegang’s Three Philosophers Quadrupel alongside the ubiquitous Humboldt Fog; tasting Dupont’s Miel with a sheepsmilk beauty; tasting Garrett’s own Brooklyn Monster Barleywine alongside a stinky Stilton, it made us all realize that this guy was the brew master.

    After that, I opened his book, and my world was changed forever. Food, which I had always tried to pair with wine, was transformed into a whole new experience. And the rows of weird-looking bottles that I used to simply stare at for hours during a slow shift at the store, now made sense. Who knew that the $5.50 Le Coq Imperial Double Stout was a “world classic”? Garrett did. Who knew that the $3.79 Schneider Wiess was a “tour de force”? Garrett did.

    His book is at once a recipe for a culinary celebration, and an encylopedia of beer styles and producers. The simple organization of the book is perfect! He starts with the chapter: Wheat Beer, for example. Then, within that chapter, he addresses different styles and regions-for example, German weissbeer. That section is then divided into 3 parts: a history of the style and an explanation of the beer itself; pairing that beer with food; and, notable producers of that style. This simple yet intelligent organization lends to a broad base of interest and knowledge within each chapter.

    Garrett doesn’t get too technical, but he doesn’t dumb it down either. There always seems to be a real passion flowing over the pages, and he is not shy about letting this passion show like a neon sign. Of course, he harbors a bit of arrogance over wine when it comes to pairing beer with food. However, the more I test out his suggested pairings, the more I realize that his arrogance is pure genius. The extent to which he has “researched” food pairings (groaning work, to be sure…) is simply amazing. With any given beer style, he will list ten or twenty different dishes or styles with which to pair that beer. I also enjoy his ability to invoke the essence of “place”, as it relates to the beer experience. He writes of an experience in amsterdam, watching the barges, drinking beer with his salmon, and enjoying the moment. He recalls the homely atmosphere of London beerpubs with fondness. He describes the musty, cobweb-filled Belgium lambic houses in great detail.

    And somehow, he manages to never drift too far on a tangent, and always pulls whatever experiences he has had back to history and the beer itself. The amount of knowledge in this book is astounding. His food pairings are exquisite (though sometimes, I think he is a bit too generous). The historical information is both interesting and helpful in understanding the beer and its roots. And his introduction and description of each style is impeccable. If you walk into a store like ours, and the sheer selection of beer scares you, just thumb to the index of The Brewmaster’s Table, and you’ll probably see a reference to whatever bottle you’re holding in your hands.

    Warning: this book will drastically change your culinary world! It will consume you, and turn every meal into a new opportunity to turn a good beer into a magical experience. As you pore over each chapter, you’ll want to run down to the store and hunt down that particular style, just to see what Garrett’s making such a racket about. The pages, with the absolutely beautiful photography and descriptions, will consume you to the point that you’ve just gotta have that Imperial Stout, right now! And if it hasn’t happened already, this book will certainly make sure that you will never again let the likes of Budweiser fizzy water pass your lips.

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  2. 43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Serious writing about beer, May 15, 2003
    By 
    Michael Johnson (Livonia, MI United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    As a fan of beer it is disappointing to go into a book store and see dozens of intelligent books about wine and then look at the beer books. There are several good books on homebrewing, recipes, and styles. However, this book looks seriously at beer and food. Sure there is some background information and history of beer. Mostly it lists many of the beers and what they pair well with. It is the kind of book needed to take beer more seriously.

    Part One: The Basics
    1. What is Beer?
    2. A Brief History of Beer
    3. Principles of Matching Beer with Food

    Part Two: Brewing Traditions
    4. Lambic
    5. Wheat Beer
    6. The British Ale Tradition
    7. The Belgian Ale Tradition
    8. The Czech-German Lager Tradition
    9. New Traditions – American Craft Brewing
    10. Unique Specialties

    Part Three: The Last Word
    Glassware, Temperature, Storage, and Service
    Beer with Food: A Reference Chart
    Index

    Typically each style is talked about in general then a bunch of brewers are covered including food pairings. Garrett mentions in his foreward that a bunch of recipes from a who’s who listing of chefs were left out of this edition. I look forward to another book with recipes. There are nice color pictures in this book too.

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