Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass
All About Beer Magazine - Volume 25, Issue 5November 1, 2004
Brewers, both pro and home, are a passionate, enthusiastic bunch. Homebrewers are notorious experimenteurs and almost feel an entitlement and obligation to do so. Many brewmeisters are in fact former homebrewers and have given much to the modern craft beer scene. Renowned homebrewer Randy Mosher, a name familiar to anyone who regularly reads brewing and beer publications, could be described as unconventional, but to leave it at that would be a gross understatement. Technically, he is on par with anyone who has fired up a burner. Mosher's real, and unique, contribution to the skill is his cunning manner of pushing the envelope. By combining his insight with a true reverence for beer, Mosher sits on a lofty perch that is shared with few other homebrewing experts. The fruits of his lust are compiled in his new book Radical Brewing. It is evident in his introduction that Mosher does things with purpose and feeling. His goal is to help anyone make delectable beer, but his approach to brewing is as an artist, and he, without sounding presumptuous, reminds the artist that this is a noble endeavor. It is a situation that any decent homebrewer is familiar with. A keg or bottle of noteworthy homebrew is always greeted with anticipation, raised eyebrows, and then the astonishment that a homemade product can be this tasty. Homebrewers, do not underestimate your contribution to the merriment of the world! In the aptly named Radical Brewing, Mosher dedicates the bulk of his discourse to ingredients that would normally be used tentatively, if at all. He does present the requisite information in the first few chapters with an overview, foolproof techniques, and basic ingredients, but leaves exhaustive accounts of those things to other authors. After that, he plunges into a parallel universe of brewing that might make some traditionalists cringe. The gist of his treatise is a series of cleverly written chapters that weave history, classic beer style recipe formulation, and, of course, his own wild-eyed take on the brews. Any conceivable ingredient is investigated for both its contribution and implementation in a brew. Virtually any kind of classic beer style, whimsically and functionally twisted, can be found in this book. Hardly daunting, he caters to every level of brewing proficiency with an uncountable number of recipes. Mosher's bright and jocular presentations make his text all the more enjoyable. Among the subjects covered are unusual grains, herbs, fruit, honey, and exotic sugars. Lagers, Belgian beers, big beers, and historical brews all get individual attention too, with Mosher's creative, yet pragmatic touch. Snippets, sidebars, and turn of the century graphics are sprinkled liberally throughout, creating a brew book bacchanalia. Radical Brewing rivals many other homebrew books for simple nuts and bolts brewing. But for sheer offbeat enjoyment and entertainment, this one stands alone. Mosher knows well the nature of the beast, and can't resist tickling his belly. Far from Frankenbrewing, his chicanery is tempered by sound methodology. Surely jaggery, mint, quinoa, smoked malt, and tangerine can be used in a brew, but how? Let Yin and Yang Brew Master Mosher show you how. Radically, of course.