Recommended Read: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.
When I was at a wine tasting recently, I noted that while some of the wine was good, I’d still rather have a beer. This elicited a laugh from the group of people I was with, though I was dead serious. Beer may be the most popular drink in the world, but it isn’t given the same respect as wine. It’s something you have with a burger and not something you savor. I think this is because when people think about beer, they associate it with a few large-scale breweries like Miller and Budweiser. Randy Mosher’s book could be called In Defense of Beer, because he shows that beer is capable as being just as complex and sophisticated as wine.
If you’ve never explored the beer world beyond the good old BMC (Budweiser, Miller, Coors), Tasting Beer is a great primer on the many different styles of beer. For instance, do you know the difference between a Pilsner and an India Pale Ale, or a Weissbier and a Bock? Mosher also introduces you to the many different craft and microbreweries; some of the best of which come from the Chicagoland area- Goose Island, Three Floyd’s and Two Brothers.
Even the most experienced beer drinker will enjoy comparing their own picks to the beers Mosher suggests in the books. I was sorely disappointed he didn’t list Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA as one of the best American India Pale Ales.
Find it in the catalog.
FYI: For hop heads and those inspiring to be, Emmett’s in West Dundee is an awarding winning local brewery and a great place to test out what you learned from Mosher. Additionally, if you are more ambitious, Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake offers beer tasting classes on the first Wednesday of every month.