Microbrewed Adventures is an intriguing read for the casual beer drinker. For the enthusiast, it’s a joy.
Burning through the pages, one finds him or herself envious of Charlie Papzian as the protagonist of this On The Road inspired world-tour of craft beer. Papazian takes us on a whirlwind, “lupulin-filled” journey through craft beer’s rise in the United States, giving us an insider’s look at the individuals who helped fuel the fire with their beer-making passion. But even the 50 states aren’t enough to satiate the curiousity and adventure seeking, as we follow Papazian to beer cultures across the world.
For the uninitiated, Charlie Papazian is a well-known advocate for homebrewing and great-tasting craft beer. Some of his accomplishments include the American Homebrewer’s Assocation, The Great American Beer Festival, the magazine Zymurgy , and selling over a million beer-related books.
Papazian’s writing feels inclusive. You’re not an outsider getting a glimpse of a fantastic world; you’re right there in the moment, practically tasting the brews and meeting the folks that populate the story. I found myself thinking of Steinbeck’s Travels With Charlie, or Kerouac’s On The Road, only fueled by beer.
Seeing the birth of craft beer in the United States was fascinating. Among the cast of characters (and breweries with character) were some of my personal favorites such as Sierra Nevada, Vermont’s Otter Creek, and the Brooklyn Brewery. And the journey wouldn’t be complete without a detour through the mysteries of mead as well.
While the writing helps make this book a success, so does the format. Over 50 homebrew recipes are included in the back, comprising about a third of the entire book. As you read about Papazian’s adventures, he references different brews pertinent to the story, and provides the recipe so you can try it yourself. Both all-grain and extract versions are provided. Even though I might not attempt making all of the recipes, I still found them interesting to peruse, and they provided a unique context.
Disclosure: Some of the above links lead to Amazon pages where you may purchase the referenced material, including Microbrewed Adventures: A Lupulin-Filled Journey to the Heart and Flavor of the World’s Great Craft Beers. Yes, I receive a small pittance if you purchase the book through the links. I’ll also probably direct that pittance back into buying more books to read. I personally use Amazon to buy stuff, and feel comfortable suggesting others do the same.