Title: Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution
Author: Joshua M. Bernstein
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Sterling Epicure
Genre: Non-Fiction, Foodie
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In this book, Joshua Bernstein discusses the new trends and revolutions in craft brewing, as well as reviewing favorite beer styles and delivering profiles of leaders in the craft brewing movement.
Though I don’t discuss it often on my blog, craft beer is something of a hobby of mine. I enjoy discussing it, trying new varieties, and finding new breweries to rave about; from Dogfish Head to Oskar Blues to new local favorite Port City Brewing Company, I am just a huge fan of microbreweries. Therefore, when I found Brewed Awakening, I was incredibly excited to mix two of my favorite hobbies – reading and craft beer.
Joshua Bernstein does an excellent job providing a coherent overview of the craft beer scene. Though most seasoned fans of craft brews won’t find a lot of new information within its pages, if you are curious about anything from the new canning trend to beer styles, this is a great resource. One of the most valuable parts of this guide for a beginner is Bernstein’s “suggested brews” list for every variety he discusses. His choices are excellent, and I would recommend most of them to a friend.
Bernstein also profiles innovative breweries in Brewed Awakening, and I was pleased to see a few of my favorites among those chosen. This solidified my opinion that the author really knows his craft beer and that we have similar likes and dislikes. I especially appreciated his defense of session beers, or beers with an alcohol content of 4.5% or lower. Though many craft beer lovers would disdain such a low alcohol percentage, Bernstein points out that someone who refuses to try a beer based on a low ABV is likely a fan of getting drunk more than they are of microbrews. I also found Bernstein’s discussion of different types of hops very thorough and loved his double page spread on individual types of hops and their characteristics.
I also have to say a few words about how beautifully designed Brewed Awakening is. It has a thick dust jacket, and when it’s removed and unfolded, it becomes a poster with Joshua’s craft beer suggestions. The pages are made of high quality, thick paper and the colors are bright and vivid. This is a beautiful book to just keep on your shelves, and it’s impressive to look at. I love how much thought and care clearly went into putting it together.
The bottom line is that, whether you’re a seasoned craft beer lover or a newbie to the world, this is a great resource to have on your shelf. While those very familiar with brewing trends and microbreweries might not get as much out of it as a newcomer, it’s still a joy to flip through the thoughtfully designed pages. If you have a craft beer lover in your life, this might make the perfect gift to give them (along with their favorite bomber, four, or six-pack) for the holiday season.