Beer Craft, by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill, is “your guide to drinking the best beer you’ve ever tasted—by making it yourself. This kitchen manual has everything you need to turn your stove into a small-batch, artisanal brewery”.
- Simple, illustrated recipes for all your favorite styles
- Instructions for customizing your beer with everything from herbs and spices to fruits and specialty grains
- A tour through beer history
- A gallery of vintage label design inspiration, and tips for branding, naming, and labeling your home-made beer
- Expert advice from our favorite brewers at Rogue, Stone, Sierra Nevada, and more of America’s greatest craft breweries
The book is peppered with fantastic infographics, including one that was selected by Co.Design as their Infographic of the Day, about the Golden Age of American Beer, which tracks the number of breweries in America, along with the amount of beer produced, from 1800-2010:
As the authors put it, “We haven’t drank this much beer from this many breweries for a hundred years.”
Last year, 204 million barrels of beer were made in America, and while most came from two monstrous brewing conglomerates, Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, 97% of the breweries in operation are small, independently owned craft breweries.
Put another way: The big are at their biggest, but the underdogs are gaining steam.
As the infographic shows, “beer took a hit in the early 1800s when rum flooded the ports and whisky the frontier. In those days, America had 200 breweries and 14,000 distilleries. Americans drank almost three pints of liquor a week. Then, the Germans arrived with a new beer: lager. During the wave of German immigration in the 1840s, 40 lager breweries opened in Philadelphia alone. The only problem was, nobody drank much anymore. The German tendency to drink during the day, outside, in noisy beer gardens with–mein Gott!–women and children freaked out the xenophobes, and a dark curtain of temperance dimmed drinking to a national per-capita low in 1850 of less than a bottle a week.
So most breweries closed, or consolidated. Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Pabst dominated the flagging market with fancy new technology like refrigerated railway cars. The few small breweries still around finally succumbed in 1919. Prohibition took no prisoners. Big breweries scraped by selling low-alcohol “near beer,” soda, and ice cream (what else to do with those expensive train cars?). Beer took a long time to recover. By 1978 there were only 89 breweries, owned by 41 companies. Meanwhile, though, craft beer was born.
In the 1970s, three tiny California breweries fired their kettles: New Albion, Anchor, and Sierra Nevada. New Albion closed in 1983, but Anchor and Sierra exploded. Boston Beer Company followed in 1984, and the rush was on. Between 1993 and 1994, 200 breweries opened. Craft beer boomed fast, and suffered for it–many small breweries, started on a whim, shut down in the late ’90s–but it’s since found its legs. Today craft beer is growing in volume and dollars while the rest of the beer industry stagnates. Homebrewing is booming too, bringing American beer history full circle. Only, with fewer parsnips.”
For more information about the book, check out BeerCraftBook.com, or purchase your own copy from Amazon below: