Saturday, October 15, 2016

Octoberfest at Boswell

If you like the seasons changing and the days getting a bit colder, then you might also be excited about all the beers that get produced this time of year, like me. The dark porters and the Octoberfest beers definitely get me in the holiday mood. While, we are not into selling the alcoholic drinks (or any drinks really) we do have many fabulous books here about this fantastic drink. This is something I am calling Booktoberfest!
Beer FAQ by Jeff Cioletti answers all the questions you have about beer. Well, most of them at least.
He will give you the lowdown on Beer History, styles, and the explosion of the world of craft beer. We know a bit about that stuff here in Milwaukee. So does Jeff Cioletti, he has been an editor-in chief of Beverage World magazine and has written for both Draft and All About Beer magazines, which are both great for the beer lover in your midst. There is just a plethora of information from the different styles (using sweet potatoes or different flowers) to a detailed picture of regional brewing history throughout the world.

If you want a more detailed look at a Brewing history, then new this season is Beer of Broadway Fame by Alfred W. McCoy. He looks at the Brooklyn brewery Piel Bros., as they grow from a small production of 850 kegs a year, into the 16th largest brewery by 1952, when they were brewing over a million barrels a year. As you can figure out, the breweries history travels through Prohibition, which is amazing to think about now, we have no reference for this in our lives, but the fact that Piel Bros. sustained and expanded through and after Prohibition is a remarkable achievement. The story that McCoy unfolds through this period makes for fascinating and scandalous history of the brewery and the beer.

Enough of history, let's look at places where you can go to imbibe. Chris Santella's book, Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die does just that.   The book is set up in alphabetically order by state, country or province that the beer destination lies in. He takes you Alabama to Melbourne to Denver and then over to Berlin, to name just a few. His destinations are pretty much all recommendations given to him by friends. For the Milwaukee section, he recommends going to Lakefront Brewery, Sprecher, Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery, Romans' Pub, Sugar Maple, and Burnhearts. This seems like a good book to grab if you are planning a vacation that takes you to one of these areas.

Lucy Burningham did go on such a trip for beer imbibing in her new beer memoir, My Beer Year. The start of the description of this book captures the essence perfectly, 'A love note to beer--appreciating the hstory, craftsmanship, and tast of craft beer as told by a woman striving for beer-expert status.'  And I would say, she knows a whole lot more than myself. She visits hop farmers, craft brewers, rare beer tasting parties, as well as going to all the usual places that we would find ourselves (beer festivals, taprooms...) A brilliantly engrossing book that I can't wait to finish!

If you decide, after reading Lucy's beer memoir that you would like to host or attend a beer tasting party, then you should bring along a Craft Beer Tasting Kit (even if it is just a party of two!). It contains 200 tasting notes to fill in, a flavor wheel, beer mats, and a nifty bottle opener. The book included gives you a quick rundown on how to taste beer and all the different styles that you could possibly run into. Perfect for the party!

That's it! That's all I got. Happy Octoberfest to everyone and be safe!