I’ll admit, I am not much of a home brewer. There was a time that I was an avid home brewer, but as my tastes have changed, I tend to find myself drawn to beers that are often beyond the ability of most home brewers. As such, my interest in brewing my own beer has dropped off considerably. However, I still have the first book I ever used in home brewing, Charlie Papazian’s “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing,” which at the time that I began home brewing, was the definitive guide for home brewers.
While my personal beverage library spans close to 2000 volumes on everything from tea to wine to cocktails to home distillation (a very bad idea and highly illegal in the United States), I still own only one home brewing book, Papazian’s. At least I did until “The Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing, Tips, Tricks & Rule Breaking Recipes” arrived at my door. Authors Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune (aka the Beer Chicks) have been involved in the craft beer industry and home brewing in some form or other for most of their adult lives. Beer sommeliers, consultants, and avid home brewers, Perozzi and Beaune have written a book that is both entertaining and eminently useful.
One of the most helpful features of the book is how the book is set up. As a lapsed home brewer, the beer refresher course section and the “Become the Brewer” section are just what I needed to get me back up to speed. Even better, a rank amateur could pick this book up and begin brewing quality home brew in no time flat. Also, Perozzi and Beaune offer what to brew during what months (for October, they recommend a Controversial Pumpkin Ale among others); in addition, they offer one complementary food recipe to pair with the beers. It’s helpful to see beer paired with food and to understand why, which will make it that much easier to pair beer with food at home and in restaurants.
Another useful aspect of the book is the many sidebars with interesting and fun information. Who knew that you could use the spent grain from brewing to make dog treats? They also go in-depth into what dry hopping is and how to understand it. “The Naked Brewer” is a fun and approachable read, one that imparts a lot of important information on some very technical matters in a way that will keep you going back to this book as your first source of reference for your home brewing recipes and techniques.
While I have yet to brew any of the beers listed in “The Naked Brewer,” I’ve already made plans with a neighbor to do a little bit of brewing as the holiday season approaches. The recipe for Christmas Spiced Porter sounds too good to resist. At $16.95 at better bookstores, “The Naked Brewer” has been a very pleasant and entertaining read. Ultimately, what higher recommendation can you give a book on home brewing than that it makes me want to home brew again? And “The Naked Brewer” has done just that, and I, for one, want to thank Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune for such a fun and enticing read.