While there’s no real substitute for an evening with friends curled up in a cozy taproom, a side benefit of the current social distancing guidelines is that they provide the perfect excuse to learn a thing or two. And while some people are out there Instagram-flexing their sourdough loaves or attempting to become fluent in Mandarin, we’d really rather be thinking about beer. It’s an awesome time to learn to homebrew, but even if you lack the equipment or motivation, it’s still a great moment to level up your beer expertise. Whether you’re seeking trivia tidbits to impress your friends once you return to the bars or just an entertaining break from bingeing Tiger King, these books and podcasts should hit the spot.
The Bucket List: Beer: 1000 Adventures Pubs Breweries Festivals, by Justin Kennedy
Travel may not be in the cards for a while, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming of future journeys. From drinking Guinness at James Joyce’s favorite pub in Dublin to celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich without making any cringe-worthy touristy faux-pas, this book is chockablock with excellent ideas for the fernweh-struck beer-lover.
Viking Age Brew: The Craft of Brewing Sahti Farmhouse Ale, by Mika Laitinen
History buffs should pick up a copy of this deep-dive into the production methods and lore behind sahti, a Nordic ale that still tastes about the same as when Erik the Red might have drunk it. It’s both a highly informative look at farmhouse ales and an entertaining read. It helps that the Finnish author is something of a homebrewing wizard who has been crafting his own sahti for roughly two decades.
Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing: Easy Homemade Wines, Beers, Meads and Ciders, by Amber Shehan
Packed with easy-to-follow, unpretentious instructions for everything from mugwort beer to a warming rosemary and clementine mead, this book is ideal for anyone who’s ever felt intimidated to start homebrewing. Amber Shehan is an expert herbalist and her farm-to-glass approach will have you turning to your own garden for inspiration.
Homebrew World: Discover the Secrets of the World’s Leading Homebrewers, by Joshua M. Bernstein
As with all of this beer writer’s (and October contributor’s) work, this book is an exhaustively researched and insightful examination of its subject matter. From mavericks harvesting wild yeast for spontaneously fermented brews to all-stars who have lovingly perfected specific regional styles, some of the top experts in the field weigh in. If you’re considering trying your own hand at homebrewing, this is a terrific place to start.
Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink, by Randy Mosher
Plenty of beer books have come out in the decade since this one was released, but Randy Mosher’s remains a justly revered classic. Whether you’re a full-on craft beer geek or a novice, this informative tome will help you train your palate and move beyond your comfort zone.
The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution, by Jonathan Hennessey & Mike Smith Art with art by Aaron McConnell
Gorgeous illustrations ranging in style to cartoonish caricatures to hyper-detailed, historically accurate renderings bring the history of this civilization-defining beverage to life in a whole new way. It’s a delight to read and fully loaded with fun trivia facts that may surprise even die-hard beer nerds.
Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer, edited by Nathaniel G. Chapman, J. Slade Lellock, and Cameron D. Lippard
In 12 thought-provoking, previously unpublished essays, this book delves into craft beer’s meteoric rise through cultural and sociological lenses. If you’ve ever wanted to deepen your knowledge and consider what the industry says about class, race, gender, and our rapidly changing society, this makes for a highly compelling read.
Beer Sessions Radio
A part of the award-winning Heritage Radio Network, this weekly podcast hosted by Jimmy Carbone features all manner of brewers, authors, and beer experts. Since the show is produced in New York, local breweries such as Torch & Crown and Grimm Artisanal Ales make regular appearances, but the show also covers broader topics.
Master Brewers Podcast
Long admired and listened to by industry insiders, this weekly podcast recorded in Minnesota is for people who know their stuff. If you’re a professional, an avid homebrewer, or have a few thousand Untappd reviews under your belt, this is the no-nonsense stream of historical tidbits, technical wisdom, and up-to-the-minute scientific research for you.
Better on Draft Podcast
Coming at you from Detroit, this entertaining podcast hosts a wide range of guests and broadcasts every Friday evening. Right now, the team has switched to recording from home and sharing tips on how to best support breweries and restaurants during these tough times. That’s a message we can all get behind.
The Beerists | For the love of Craft Beer
If social distancing has you missing your buddies down at your local taproom, John Rubio, Grant Davis, Laura Christie, and Mike Lambert are here to help. Topics of discussion range from blind tasting beers to diving into the deeper themes in the industry. As of late, the crew in Austin, Texas has been addressing what quarantine means and how brewers are coping.