The Homebrewer’s Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem, Answers to Every Question
Homebrewers are an innately inquisitive lot. That is, after all, what led them to exploration of beer in the first place, and, secondarily, to a realization that they could brew their own. But, like many pursuits that blend skill and art, there is a pragmatic side that invites debate and creates inestimable questions. Thankfully, with the boon of homebrewing there is no shortage of information and fellow brewers willing to share the wisdom.
But to whom does one listen? That problem has been largely solved with the publication of The Homebrewer’s Answer Book by Ashton Lewis. As Mr. Wizard of Brew Your Own magazine, Lewis has unraveled hundreds of alchemic mysteries inherent to the art and rewarding craft of brewing.
The Answer Book is essentially a compilation of all things germane to homebrewing, arranged in a simple question/answer format. Lewis’ book is organized in a logical and progressive fashion that sorts things deftly. No question is too trite, advanced or esoteric, and he seemingly covers everything in 10 well-defined chapters.
In chapter one, The Basics of the Brewing Process, question number one is “Is it difficult to make beer at home?” Lewis needs just four pages to present his resounding “no” and concisely explain the process, perfectly setting the tone for this user-friendly book. The remaining 400 pages cover somewhere around 250 topics by my estimation, and all are equally to the point, informative and, most importantly, useful. Yeast management, troubleshooting, ingredients, equipment and gadgetry, and every other topic imaginable all get roughly equal treatment for extract, all-grain and hybrid brewers. The tome is sprinkled with sage boxed guidance for the sticky stuff, and is punctuated by a tidy and snappy glossary.
The Answer Book is a unique take on the issues that dog homebrewers to no end. Without being too cumbersome,it offers the astuteness needed to take their creative skills up a wrung for any level of brewer. You’ve got questions; Lewis has answers. My only question is, why hasn’t something like this been done sooner? Imbibing minds want to know.