Mmmmm … books on beer

Want to learn more about beer? There’s a world of knowledge out there for you

Published on August 15, 2014
Books on beer

My guess is that a fair number of the people who are reading this newspaper and reading this column are people who like to read. To extend upon that I would also gather that it would come as no surprise that there are as many books out there on the topic of beer as there are styles of beer.

I, too, am a reader at various levels of voraciousness depending on my circumstances of work and life in general that seem to offer me a lot of time to read or almost none at all.

I mix up what I read from fiction, including mysteries, fantasy and espionage, to non-fiction ranging from biographies to history, beer to technical and travel, modern to classic.

It’s a big world out there that you could never see it all. Writers’ imaginations are endless, so what better way to take in so much at such convenience than reading books?

Not to forget it’s the quickest way I know to put the trials of everyday life aside for the time spent between the covers.

I travel a lot for work and play and my baggage always had numerous books packed inside until my mother gave me a Kindle one year for my birthday.

I would never have bought one as I love the feel of a book in my hands.

But I have to admit it has changed my life for the better.

Now I can literally carry hundreds of books in my pocket and I can keep all of my reference books within easy reach at any time.

Enough about me, here is an introduction of books to look out for whether you’re brand new to the beer game and just want to learn a little more or you’re a self-described beer geek who wants to cram every last shred of beer-related information you can find into your brain.

A man named Michael Jackson — not the musician — fell under the spell of beer and went in search of more long before it was fashionable.

He was a British guy who dedicated much of his life to searching out styles of beer around the world then putting it all down on paper for the rest of us to follow, essentially writing the lexicon of beer as we now know it.

Sadly, the Beer Hunter passed away in August of 2007. I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet him.

He wrote what most consider the first serious study of beer, “The New World Guide to Beer” in 1977, which is still an interesting book almost 40 years later.

His “Great Beers of Belgium” is a great guide, and all of the photos in the early editions were shot at a little bar called Kulminator.

I’ve had the good fortune to sip beers in his memory at his table in Kulminator on quite a few occasions.

He was also an acknowledged expert in whisky with books on that subject, too. You can buy your own copies by going to

For a well-written and well laid out overall knowledge book that covers most topics (at least in passing) you won’t go wrong with Randy Mosher’s “Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink.”

This is almost a textbook to many and is the base of the study guide for the cicerone certification program.

For anyone afraid of painfully dry books reminiscent of high school, don’t be, this is nice easy reading and a great way to spend some quiet time while sipping on a nice beer from your cellar or your nearest NLC.

Try your local bookseller or Amazon.

This is the barest beginning, this world of books is large; there will be more.

Go find your favourite libation and give yourself some quality time with a new book.


Mike Buhler is a certified cicerone. Email him at, or check out for

information on beer club offerings.