The most recommended brewing books

Who picked these books? Meet our 5 experts.

5 authors created a book list connected to brewing, and here are their favorite brewing books.
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Book cover of American Sour Beers

John J. Palmer Author Of How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

From my list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was that child who always took things apart to see how they worked. I was always interested in new gizmos and technology, but found myself most drawn to raw materials – how does this make that, and how can I make that better? Eventually, this led me to engineering school and the aerospace industry. Along the way, I got interested in beer and asked, “why didn’t this work?” That question, vehemently directed at my first batch of homebrew, lead to the first edition of How to Brew. Thirty-something years later, I'm the Chief Editor for the Master Brewers Association – an international professional organization for brewers founded in Chicago in 1887.

John's book list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization

John J. Palmer Why did John love this book?

This book was a difficult choice because there are a plethora of great books on various beer styles and ingredients that make for engaging reading. But this book is notable for pulling back the veil of mystery around a whole class of beers that most people are not familiar with, and those are sour beers. These beers are produced by fermentation with both yeast and bacteria, instead of yeast alone. Sour beers are not new, they have, without doubt, been around as long as beer itself, with many different techniques for producing them. These techniques often took years to produce a consistent and palatable product. This book documents the renaissance of sour beer production in American craft brewing and teaches you how to brew delicious sour beers yourself. 

By Michael Tonsmeire,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Sour Beers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most exciting and dynamic segments of today's craft brewing scene , American-brewed sour beers are designed intentionally to be tart and may be inoculated with souring bacteria, fermented with wild yeast or fruit, aged in barrels or blended with younger beer. Craft brewers and homebrewers have adapted traditional European techniques to create some of the world's most distinctive and experimental styles. This book details the wide array of processes and ingredients in American sour beer production, with actionable advice for each stage of the process. Inspiration, education and practical applications for brewers of all levels are provided…


Book cover of The Professional Barista's Handbook: An Expert Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee, and Tea

James Hoffmann Author Of How To Make The Best Coffee At Home

From my list on coffee lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been working in coffee for nearly 20 years, and teaching people about coffee for most of that. I love sharing how interesting, diverse, and fun the world of coffee is, and I want people to enjoy and value the coffee they drink a little more. It is a passion and a career that’s taken me around the world, and continues to reinforce the idea that just a little effort or interest in your morning coffee has surprisingly large rewards. The books on this list inspired my own passion for coffee and I hope they do the same for you.

James' book list on coffee lovers

James Hoffmann Why did James love this book?

It is hard to pick just one of Scott Rao’s books as they have become the industry standard. If you want to learn more about how the best cafes approach coffee brewing, to steal the best bits for your home brewing, then this is a really great place to start.

By Scott Rao,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Professional Barista's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FROM THE AUTHOR: When I began in the coffee business fourteen years ago, I read every book I could find about coffee. After reading all of those books, however, I felt as if I hadn’t learned much about how to make great coffee. My coffee library was chock-full of colorful descriptions of brewing styles, growing regions, and recipes, with a few almost-unreadable scientific books mixed in. I would have traded in all of those books for one serious, practical book with relevant information about making great coffee in a café. Fourteen years later, I still haven’t found that book. I…


Book cover of Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink

Ruthie Robinson Author Of Games We Play

From my list on learning about beer.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Ruthie Robinson, and I write romance because I love romance. I also love to research and learn new things, so if I can find a topic I know nothing about, study it enough to throw it into a love story, then life is golden. Games We Play is a love story first, but there’s also beer and bingo. I wrote it just after the start of the craft-beer craze. Games We Play is also a book about bingo halls, which I also enjoyed attending and learning about. So many of the interesting characters who find a home in my stories can be found at both beer joints and bingo halls.

Ruthie's book list on learning about beer

Ruthie Robinson Why did Ruthie love this book?

I signed up for my first pub crawl and I purchased this book in preparation. Minus my one trip to Ireland where we received a complimentary beer after touring the Guinness plant, my beer drinking had been limited to the occasional drink with dinner. This book introduced me to what to look for when choosing a beer. What ingredients give each beer its taste and color? The difference between lagers, ales, stouts, and porters, to name a few beer types. Ales, I have found, are my favorite. Golden ales make my palate sing. I now know the reason I like what I like, and this book helped me gain that knowledge.

By Randy Mosher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tasting Beer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This completely updated second edition of the best-selling beer resource features the most current information on beer styles, flavour profiles, sensory evaluation guidelines, craft beer trends, food and beer pairings, and draft beer systems. You'll learn to identify the scents, colours, flavours, mouth-feel, and vocabulary of the major beer styles -- including ales, lagers, weissbeirs, and Belgian beers -- and develop a more nuanced understanding of your favourite brews with in- depth sections on recent developments in the science of taste. Spirited drinkers will also enjoy the new section on beer cocktails that round out this comprehensive volume.


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

John J. Palmer Author Of How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

From my list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was that child who always took things apart to see how they worked. I was always interested in new gizmos and technology, but found myself most drawn to raw materials – how does this make that, and how can I make that better? Eventually, this led me to engineering school and the aerospace industry. Along the way, I got interested in beer and asked, “why didn’t this work?” That question, vehemently directed at my first batch of homebrew, lead to the first edition of How to Brew. Thirty-something years later, I'm the Chief Editor for the Master Brewers Association – an international professional organization for brewers founded in Chicago in 1887.

John's book list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization

John J. Palmer Why did John love this book?

Garrett’s book takes a deeper dive into the world of brewing and beer pairing. He takes you with him as he explores some of the great brewing cities, the breweries, the brewers, and their beloved beers. He gives detailed descriptions of specific beers and the foods that they are typically paired with and why. Knowledge makes things interesting, but getting to know the people behind the beers is even more interesting. Be prepared to get thirsty and hungry as you virtually share these joys of the table and tap.

By Garrett Oliver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Brewmaster's Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Award for Best Cookbook in the Wine, Beer or Spirits category.

Garrett Oliver, award-winning Brewmaster and Vice President of Production of the Brooklyn Brewery, recognized by Gourmet Magazine as a “passionate epicure and talented alchemist”, reveals the full spectrum of flavors contained in the more than 50 distinct styles of beer from around the world.

Most importantly, he shows how beer, which is far more versatile than wine, intensifies flavors when it’s appropriately paired with foods to create a dining experience most people have never imagined. Garrett, along with photographer Denton Tillman,…


Book cover of Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing

John J. Palmer Author Of How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

From my list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was that child who always took things apart to see how they worked. I was always interested in new gizmos and technology, but found myself most drawn to raw materials – how does this make that, and how can I make that better? Eventually, this led me to engineering school and the aerospace industry. Along the way, I got interested in beer and asked, “why didn’t this work?” That question, vehemently directed at my first batch of homebrew, lead to the first edition of How to Brew. Thirty-something years later, I'm the Chief Editor for the Master Brewers Association – an international professional organization for brewers founded in Chicago in 1887.

John's book list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization

John J. Palmer Why did John love this book?

I met Lars at a brewing conference in Norway several years ago when he was researching and writing his blog on the history of beers in the region. He had spent years visiting farms across northern Europe, tasting the farmhouse beers, talking with the brewers, and learning the techniques that had been passed down through the generations. That blog eventually became this book, and along the way, he “re-discovered” and introduced a new class of brewing yeast to the world. This book is an incredible journey back in time to places that continue to exist in the present day. In fact, I bet if you ask 100 professional brewers for their top five reading list, this book would be on every one. 

By Lars Marius Garshol,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Historical Brewing Techniques as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ancient brewing traditions and techniques have been passed generation to generation on farms throughout remote areas of northern Europe. With these traditions facing near extinction, author Lars Marius Garshol set out to explore and document the lost art of brewing using traditional local methods. Equal parts history, cultural anthropology, social science, and travelogue, this book describes brewing and fermentation techniques that are vastly different from modern craft brewing and preserves them for posterity and exploration. Learn about uncovering an unusual strain of yeast, called kveik, which can ferment a batch to completion in just 36 hours. Discover how to make…


Book cover of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol

Ian Tattersall Author Of A Natural History of Wine

From my list on the joys of alcoholic beverages.

Why are we passionate about this?

Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle are both curators at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Rob is a molecular systematist who has done research on everything from fruit fly diversity to human language, and Ian is a specialist in the study of human evolution and primates. They have collaborated on several exhibition projects, including the American Museum’s Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, and have written several books together, including the trilogy we are featuring here.

Ian's book list on the joys of alcoholic beverages

Ian Tattersall Why did Ian love this book?

People have been making and drinking alcoholic beverages for as long as the technology has been around that allows them to do so – some 8,000 years, as it turns out. In this glorious gallop through the long and varied history – or, rather, multifarious histories – of beer, wine, and spirits around the world, packed with odd facts that will make you a champ at any booze trivia quiz, Iain Gately entertainingly shows how tightly intertwined the various forms of alcoholic beverages have been over the centuries with the societies that produce them, and how our western love/hate relationship with the demon alcohol has evolved.

By Iain Gately,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spirited look at the history of alcohol, from the dawn of civilization to the modern day

Alcohol is a fundamental part of Western culture. We have been drinking as long as we have been human, and for better or worse, alcohol has shaped our civilization. Drink investigates the history of this Jekyll and Hyde of fluids, tracing mankind's love/hate relationship with alcohol from ancient Egypt to the present day.

Drink further documents the contribution of alcohol to the birth and growth of the United States, taking in the War of Independence, the Pennsylvania Whiskey revolt, the slave trade, and…


Book cover of Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-Created

Ian Tattersall Author Of A Natural History of Wine

From my list on the joys of alcoholic beverages.

Why are we passionate about this?

Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle are both curators at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Rob is a molecular systematist who has done research on everything from fruit fly diversity to human language, and Ian is a specialist in the study of human evolution and primates. They have collaborated on several exhibition projects, including the American Museum’s Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, and have written several books together, including the trilogy we are featuring here.

Ian's book list on the joys of alcoholic beverages

Ian Tattersall Why did Ian love this book?

Patrick (Dr. Pat) McGovern, the Indiana Jones of ancient alcoholic beverages, takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through the nine extreme brewed beverages of history. On these journeys, McGovern is at once an archaeologist, a chemist, and a homebrewer.  His book is an amazing compilation of the mechanics of brewing both ancient and modern, and a wonderful comment on the human propensity for drinking and enjoying fermented and brewed beverages. It includes some recipes and food pairings for the ancient brews it describes. This book is a must-have for any beer aficionado, brewer, homebrewer, or even your everyday barstool cowboy.

By Patrick E. McGovern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Brews as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick E. McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time to the dawn of brewing when our ancestors might well have made a Palaeo-Brew of fruits, honey, cereals and botanicals. Early beverage-makers must have marvelled at the process of fermentation, their amazement growing as they drank the mind-altering drinks which were to become the medicines, religious symbols and social lubricants of later cultures.

McGovern circles the globe-to China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, Honduras, Peru and Mexico-interweaving archaeology and science to tell stories of making liquid time capsules. Accompanying homebrew interpretations and matching meal recipes help bring the past alive,…


Book cover of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing

Ruthie Robinson Author Of Games We Play

From my list on learning about beer.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Ruthie Robinson, and I write romance because I love romance. I also love to research and learn new things, so if I can find a topic I know nothing about, study it enough to throw it into a love story, then life is golden. Games We Play is a love story first, but there’s also beer and bingo. I wrote it just after the start of the craft-beer craze. Games We Play is also a book about bingo halls, which I also enjoyed attending and learning about. So many of the interesting characters who find a home in my stories can be found at both beer joints and bingo halls.

Ruthie's book list on learning about beer

Ruthie Robinson Why did Ruthie love this book?

The natural next step was, of course, brewing my own beer. I took myself to the local beer, home-brewing store and purchased a starter kit. The process wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, nor was the beer I produced as bad as I thought it would be. This book was helpful in making both processes easier. Everything you need is inside, from the history of beer to how to do it yourself, plus loads and loads of recipes for more serious beer brewing.

By Charlie Papazian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Joy of Homebrewing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is the essential guide to understanding and making beer, from stouts, ales, lagers, and bitters, to specialty beers and meads. Everything to get started is here: the basics of building a home brewery, world-class proven recipes, easy-to-follow instruction, and the latest advancements in brewing. Master brewer Charlie Papazian also includes the history and loreof beer, the science behind brewing, and tips on how to create your own original ale. The fully updated edition of the book expands on various styles of beer using easy to follow charts, different varieties of hops and their uses, and…


Book cover of Reckless Memories

Willow Aster Author Of True Love Story

From my list on to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night.

Why am I passionate about this?

As well as being an author of romance and an upcoming thriller, I am an avid reader. I’ve been passionate about books since I was a little girl, and I read a ton every year…often reading several at any given time. Books are my favorite pastime and my favorite subject to talk about, hands down. I did a podcast for several years—Living in the Pages—where I talked to authors from all over the world about their books and their process in writing. My TBR (to-be-read) list is never-ending.

Willow's book list on to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night

Willow Aster Why did Willow love this book?

Reckless Memories is the first book in the standalone Wrecked series. Ford and Bell will capture your heart with their second chance at love. There’s angst and tension and a swoon-worthy love story brewing amidst suspenseful moments. If you love a good romance with Nora Roberts’ feels, you’ll enjoy this story!

By Catherine Cowles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reckless Memories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I loved him before I knew what the word meant. From skinned knees to first dates and everything in between. But he was never mine to love.I settled for friendship, even though I always wanted more.That was before. Before he ripped my world apart and didn’t bother sticking around to help me pick up the pieces. I knit every last shred back together all on my own. And I’ve all but forgotten his name.Now, he’s back, and everything is torn apart once more. But he’s not the only one doing the tearing this time. And there might be no stopping…


Book cover of Ambitious Brew : The Story of American Beer

John J. Palmer Author Of How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

From my list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was that child who always took things apart to see how they worked. I was always interested in new gizmos and technology, but found myself most drawn to raw materials – how does this make that, and how can I make that better? Eventually, this led me to engineering school and the aerospace industry. Along the way, I got interested in beer and asked, “why didn’t this work?” That question, vehemently directed at my first batch of homebrew, lead to the first edition of How to Brew. Thirty-something years later, I'm the Chief Editor for the Master Brewers Association – an international professional organization for brewers founded in Chicago in 1887.

John's book list on understanding beer, brewing, and civilization

John J. Palmer Why did John love this book?

Now that you better understand what beer is and where (and who) it comes from, it is interesting to learn more about how beer shaped the growth of the United States of America. Ambitious Brew is the story of beer in America: from the early days of the German Beer Gardens in the mid-1800’s to the rise to dominance of American Adjunct Lager beer and brewing prowess by 1900, to the dark days of Prohibition, and afterward; Maureen unveils the people and events that shaped this country. This book has long been one of my favorites, it helped me understand that people are the key – that behind every great beer are great people who often overcame great struggles to make it so. 

By Maureen Ogle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ambitious Brew as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it.  Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been true: Rum and whiskey were the drinks of choice in the 1840s, with only a few breweries making heavy, yeasty English ale. When a wave of German immigrants arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, they promptly set about re-creating the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind.

 Just fifty years later, the American-style lager beer they invented was…