The Top 5 Beer Books to Give for Christmas

by Billy Broas

Beer books make a great gift for the beer drinker in your life. There are hundreds of great ones, but for this post I’ll focus on books that were released in the past couple of years because there’s a good chance the person you’re buying for hasn’t read them yet.

1. Bitter Brew


This is one of my top overall reads of 2012. William Knoedelseder’s Bitter Brew tells the story of the Busch family dynasty. It progresses from Adolphus Busch’s founding of the company, to AB’s great rise to top, and ends with the family’s devastating crash with its sale to InBev in 2008. You can learn a lot about the history of American beer through the lens of its biggest brewer. The Busch family is a colorful bunch, which makes this book hard to put down. Full review coming soon.

2. Beer for Dummies


Beer For Dummies is written by one of the country’s foremost beer experts, Marty Nachel. Believe it or not, there are still people who haven’t gone full-fledge beer geek. For those that have shown an interest in craft beer, this is the book to get them. My favorite part is the range of topics it covers. Cooking with beer, label laws, exploring beer in Ireland, homebrewing – it’s remarkable. Pick up the book, flip to a random chapter, and have fun.

3. IPA

As America’s most popular craft beer style, it was only a matter of time before a current profile was published. IPA is full of history (which most people get wrong, including me for a long time) and brewing techniques. It is good for both homebrewers and general beer lovers. Mitch Steele did his research for this one and knows and thing or two himself about brewing IPAs. Ruination anybody?

4. Brewed Awakening


Joshua Bernstein’s Brewed Awakening surveys the craft beer industry and highlights the things that brewers are doing that are better, different, and just plain weird. His “5 to Try” list in each chapter will keep you busy (in a good way) for a long time. It’s tone is fitting for the younger generation of people getting into craft beer, which is something I found refreshing. Read my full review on Brewed Awakening.

5. The Craft of Stone Brewing


Stone is now an iconic craft beer brand. The Craft of Stone Brewing tells the story of how they got there. Greg Koch, Steve Wagner, and Randy Clemens co-author this book which is part history, part education, and part recipes. I’ve made both the Old Guardian Barleywine clone and the Brussels Sprouts and they’re both legit. If you’re getting a gift for a Stone loyalist, and there are plenty of them out there, they will love this book.

Other Mentions

If your gift recipient is from the NorCal area or is planning a trip there soon, then the The Northern California Craft Beer Guide is the perfect beer survival guide. There are a couple newer books that will please the homebrewer in your life. The Brewer’s Apprentice delivers expert advice from the top brewers in the word. Finally, there is the just released Hops by Stan Hieronymus. I haven’t read it yet, but judging by Stan’s past books this one will be top notch.

Have you read any of these? Are there others you recommend?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

FedoraDave November 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I’ve ordered “Hops” via the AHA. I got email notification of a member-discounted pre-sale, and I jumped on it. Hops fascinates me, since it gives a beer so much of its character. But I know my education on it has barely begun. Having a reference book like this in my library will be invaluable. So I decided to give myself a “surprise” present from “Santa Kolsch.” LOL

So many hops, so little time.

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Billy Broas November 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

You will have to come back and let us know how the book is. I recommend IPA as a followup to continue your hops journey.

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FedoraDave November 28, 2012 at 3:33 am

I probably will, although IPAs are not my favorite style, as I prefer more balanced/malty brews. That’s not to say I won’t drink one or brew a batch, but it’s rarely the first thing I reach for.

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