Harper Resource, 2005
Soft Cover, $15.95, 304 Pages
The microbrew revolution has been fueled by many, but the core conclave of original zymurgists were few in number. They were essentially a group of visionaries and tinkerers who shared a common love for great beer.
Preceding the microbrew movement was the American Homebrewers Association, the brainchild of Charlie Papazian. It could be argued that Papazian and Anchor Brewing’s Fritz Maytag are truly the founding fathers of America’s craft beer scene. Charlie’s homebrewing books are biblical to the legions of practitioners of the craft, many of whom went on to become professional brewers. His impact in this regard is immeasurable.
In Microbrewed Adventures, Charlie offers much more than his usual entertaining nuts and bolts treatise on homebrewing. In Section One, he invites us along on an adventure that takes us through the essence of the American micro panorama, and introduces us to the characters that feed the flames and passion of the craft. He has seen every facet of the revolution, and was there from the beginning, observing history firsthand. The truly seminal moments in American brewing, like the introduction of styles such as the distinct American pale ales and wheat beers, the transformation of small breweries from sheds to legitimate digs, and the evolution and explosion of brewpubs are deftly presented. Especially intriguing are the chapters profiling the innovative, skilled, and otherwise cutting-edge brewers that made it all happen.
Even as brewing has reached a zenith in America, we are quickly reminded by Charlie that we are babes in the grand scheme of things. In Section Two, he shepherds the readers around the world, and through both the venerable and upstart breweries along the way. Each segment is a personal story, a heartfelt experience in every nook, some famous, some obscure. From cask ales in England to sorghum brews in Africa, Charlie links the great indigenous beers of the world that are as diverse as the people that make them and the cultures that live by them. For a true beer aficionado, the sojourn is mouth-watering.
No Papazian book would be complete without his signature homebrew recipes. Over 50 are detailed in Section Three, and all are inspired by the brewers that the book itself is dedicated to. This is the Charlie we all know: the conjurer, the artist, the one-man cheering section.
The cliché says that life is a journey, but it is much more fulfilling when the traveler is also an ambassador, as Papazian is. As great brewing has come to the US from around the world, so has a reciprocal fascination with beers of other nations. Take a trip with Charlie both home and abroad, as some of us have been doing for twenty-odd years, in this intriguing new tome. Relax, don’t worry, he has everything under control.