We Make Beer

We Make Beer

The craft beer movement keeps growing and new stories emerge daily about brewers and their beers. Sean Lewis relates several of those stories in his new book We Make Beer. Lewis brings a reporter’s perspective and also shares personal viewpoints. This is Lewis’ first book but he has written for Beer Advocate magazine and is a skilled writer.

The craft brewers Lewis visits and writes about range from small operations just starting out to the two biggest craft brewers, Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. He finds that some are rather casual about their brewing while others exercise strict control of their beer making. Is it okay if particular brew varies in taste from batch to batch? Depends.

Because Lewis lived in Massachusetts when he began the book and in California when he finished it, those two states’ brewers get the bulk of his attention. But he also writes about breweries in Birmingham, Nashville, Austin, Lancaster/Ephrata (Pennsylvania) and Papillion (Nebraska). The craft beer scene in Portland, anchored by Deschutes, gets its due, too.

Sean Lewis author photo_ Credit Victoria Knowles

(Sean Lewis photo by Victoria Knowles.)

Lewis offers inside looks at the brewing process and the brewery business. There’s enough detail about what goes in and what comes out of a brewing tank to satisfy most serious beer geeks. Those of us who may not care so much for the technical stuff can enjoy meeting the individuals who make beer and learning about their motivations and passions.

He spends a few pages of the book addressing the 2011 sale of Chicago’s successful craft brewer Goose Island to AB/InBev. The sale “felt like a betrayal because Anheuser-Busch had long served as the face of the enemy,” he writes.

(I’ve spoken to Goose Island and A-B folks who defend the purchase, saying the main differences are stricter safety standards, better consistency in product and wider distribution. A-B also has the power to aid in sourcing raw materials plus capacity to handle demand in other locations that can’t be met in Chicago, they say.)

Lewis mentions in a footnote that naming a favorite beer is “an impossible question to answer.” But, he writes, “If I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, it would be Firestone Walker’s Pale 31.” I’ll be checking this weekend to find out if anybody in St. Louis has it!

Click HERE to purchase We Make Beer from Amazon.

Shop Like A Chef—Get This Book!

Clara Moore and Matt Sorrell (pictured below) have delivered an excellent book with great information about where to buy food in metro St. Louis. As a contributor to their Kickstarter fund which helped get the book published, I am happy to report that the book has tons of useful content.

Shop Like A Chef: A Food Lover’s Guide To St. Louis Neighborhoods assembles retail food sources first by neighborhood, then (in greater detail) by the food they offer.

Clara and Matt

And it includes recipes!  They include a variety of dishes ranging from gumbo to asparagus Milanese to Mexican wedding cookies to Sopska salata to buttermilk fried chicken to roasted eggplant “meatloaf.”

The book gives suburbanites who rarely enter St. Louis city (except for Cardinals games) numerous ideas for places to score food items not carried by the major chains. Or, if the items are available at chain grocers, the smaller shops may offer fresher versions or ethnic variations.

Likewise, for those city dwellers who have heard of places like Ballwin but never ventured there, SLAC:AFLGTSLN mentions stores like The Smokehouse Market (Chesterfield), Jalisco Market (Overland) and Piccolino’s (Ferguson).

SLAC cover

Shop Like A Chef can help you plan for entertaining whether it’s a gourmet dinner or a sports-watching party. By suggesting new possibilities or rekindling a memory of something you read about in Bon Appetit ten years ago, SLAC:AFLGTSLN is a good resource for people who like to eat and especially for those who like to cook.

Like a huge plate of baba ghanoush (recipe on page 175), Shop Like A Chef can be savored in small bites or gobbled up in one sitting. If you love shopping for food and then preparing that food, get this book. And use it.

List price is 15.95. Click HERE for a list of bookstores and grocery stores that carry Shop Like A Chef. It is also available from Amazon.

Liquid Vacation

P Moss is the owner of Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas (“the world’s only 24/7 tiki bar”), as well as the Double Down Saloon is Vegas and NYC. P Moss is also the inventor of the Bacon Martini!

And coming soon for summertime Tiki parties, he has a new book on the way called Liquid Vacation, about those tasty drinks that are sometimes served with little paper umbrellas.

cover - liquid vacation

Along with drink recipes, the book also shares some Tiki background. According to the release, “The historical narrative behind these exotic elixirs, as told by the author, is a nostalgic romp through the origins of the Las Vegas tiki bar culture, showing direct links from gone but not forgotten iconic 1960s treasures Aku Aku and Don The Beachcomber to Frankie’s Tiki Room today.”

You can pre-order Liquid Vacation now on Amazon for 21.64 (+shipping).

Drink up!