Session # 95 – The Next Great Beer Book


A Good Beer Blog is at the reins of the first blogging session of 2015 and has posed a very thought provoking topic for one, such as myself, that thinks bookstore gift cards are the best.

What beer book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?

“What is the book you would want to write about good beer? What book would you want to read? Is there a dream team of authors your would want to see gathered to make that “World Encyclopedia of Beer and Brewing”? Or is there one person you would like to see on a life long generous pension to assure that the volumes flow from his or her pen? Let us know. ”

There are times when it would be easier to make a list of often used and over used beer topics.

Be it invoking Ninkasi or Alewives in beer history, short summations of the brewing process, the 10-50-100 or 1,000 Beers you MUST try or how to start a brewery by an irreverent brewer.  Worthy topics all.  But they have been done and covered both badly and well.

Instead of broad histories or an inventory of a beer style, I would like to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, of the Humulus Lupulin.

I can hear the howls of hypocrite.  How dare you call some books re-hashes and then propose a book about the most hyped beer ingredient that fuels a hop boom that shows no sign of abating and crowds out other styles on tap and in bottles.

But I propose something more focused.  Specifically on the both the science and art of designing and growing a new hop from start to finish.  We hear code designations bandied about.  Then a fancy name gets attached like Mosaic or Mandarina.  But I want to know (in laymans terms) how the cross of Hop Parent # 1 with Hop Parent # 2, creates Equinox.  I want to see a hop family tree.  I want to hear from the farmers from Washington to New York states and the scientists at UC-Davis and Oregon State.

Since hops in brewing has been covered by Mitch Steele and hops in history and practice extensively covered by For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus, with Pete Brown hitting the history of IPA angle, the narrative should hone in on one single hop.  The tension coming from will it be successful both from an agricultural standpoint and successful in a beer.  Akin to focusing on a bill becoming a law and then analyzing the impact of that law.

Side by side with this narrative could be digressions to see how some hops became name brands like Citra and why other hops labor in obscurity or become workhorses and not stars. Or a discussion of buying hop futures and how that affects the brewing schedules.  Maybe get a look into the world of HopUnion and finish off with plunge into tasting the winner of an Alpha King competition of the Great American Beer Festival.

The journey of hop from drawing board to pint glass.  It could be called, The Bitterness Project.