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The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
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The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  460 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Traditional craft-brewed beer can transform a meal from everyday to extraordinary. It's an affordable, accessible luxury. Yet most people are only familiar with the mass-market variety. Have you tasted the real thing?

In The Brewmaster's Table, Garrett Oliver, America's foremost authority on beer and brewmaster of the acclaimed Brooklyn Brewery, reveals why real beer is the
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Ecco (first published 2003)
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Aug 15, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing
Finally a book with an author that agrees with me that wine is a bit overrated. Wine is seen as sophisticated and beer is thought of as blue-collar. Beer is more difficult to make and requires some thought when choosing the ingredients. A brewer can't blame a bad beer on a "bad season" the way a winemaker can. Good beers have much more complexity and depth of flavor than any wine can. You can find a beer that can pair well with any dish. The same can't be said of wine. This book does a great job ...more
Rajiv Chopra
Sep 06, 2015 Rajiv Chopra rated it really liked it
I love this book. As a beer drinker, I was never a great fan of wine, but never had the courage to admit it. I have always been a great fan of the beers in Germany. Sadly, I have never had the opportunity to travel much in Belgium but I have had some of their marvellous beers.

Garret brings beer to life in this book. However, I sometimes did wonder if he was being a bit unfair to wine at times. The wonderful range and complexity of beer shines through in this book, and I absolutely love the way t
May 25, 2010 Kevin rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic review of the history of different beer styles around the world, and how to best enjoy them with food. If you have any interest in bringing out the best in both your food and drink, I would highly recommend this book.

My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that Mr. Oliver is at times antagonistic towards wine, and paring wine with food. This strikes me as unnecessary ~ we should all agree that the goal should be elevating both food and drink, in all forms.
Andrew Bell
Mar 12, 2011 Andrew Bell rated it really liked it
Shelves: beer, food
Probably THE text to read on food and beer pairings. Great insight into pairings and a solid history of beer styles. Well laid out (logical progressions), and some insights that I have never heard before. Also compares and contrasts wine vs. beer pairings. Covers most everything you would want to know. It can get a bit dry at times. Overall a great read and a must for anyone who pairs alcoholic beverages with food.
Derek Hale
Nov 02, 2015 Derek Hale rated it it was amazing
There is no one in the world that I would rather listen to talk about the wide, wide world of beer than Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garret Oliver. Oliver is a fount of knowledge when it comes to the topic. Turns out he is also an accomplished author and raconteur, as is proven by The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food.

My biggest criticism of most beer books is that they attempt to do too many things in one book. Pick up almost any recent book on the subject
Aug 30, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
Although it took two attempts separated by over a year for me to read the entirety of The Brewmaster's Table, it was time very well spent. Garrett Oliver has written the best book I've read on beer and food pairing. In addition, it's a fantastic introduction to how beer is made, including in depth discussions of the most important styles.

If you're not a huge fan of beer, I recommend initially reading it quickly. The parts to skim quickly are the stories about the breweries that produce exemplars
Aug 02, 2015 A-ron rated it really liked it
My feelings for this book are a bit mixed. It was a lively read and Garrent Oliver's passion for beer propels this book forward on every page. It's that same passion that keeps this book from being great. He's almost too in love with beer. Seemingly, every combination is amazing. From his constant defensiveness of beer's food- friendliness, it seems that Garret has spent many hours of his life arguing with wine lovers over the merits of beer, which is fine, but I don't need him to claim that bee ...more
Andrew Frueh
Dec 15, 2013 Andrew Frueh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
A review on the jacket describes this as a "delightfully erudite tome". Erudite is really the perfect adjective to encapsulate the spirit of this book. Garrett Oliver has a passion for beer that borders on hedonistic. If your are able to stick with him, it's a passion that quickly becomes infectious. But be warned, this is not a book to be taken lightly. It is not simply a guide to beer and food as the name might imply, it is an encyclopedia of beer, a veritable beer appreciation course in a boo ...more
Oct 17, 2008 Aldean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all beer aficionados
Oh, what a glorious thing it is to find a guide as knowledgedable and enthusiastic as this to a subject so vital and potentially confusing! For serious beer lovers of all ages this book is a treasure of information and inspiration: a brief history of beer and descripton of the brewing process, a well-thought-out primer to the various taste elements that combine to make the beer experience without getting too snobby, and then the bulk of the book: a style-by-style guide to a sizeable number of th ...more
Derek Wolfgram
Dec 26, 2013 Derek Wolfgram rated it really liked it
Given that this was published 10 years ago before the craft beer phenomenon really took off in the US to the degree it has now, the book is quite insightful and chock full of excellent tips on pairing food with as wide variety of beer styles. I like the emphasis on both complementary and contrasting flavor profiles that make for good pairings. And the historical context for the evolution of styles in different parts of the world is quite interesting. For that reason, I highly recommend it for ei ...more
John G.
May 02, 2016 John G. rated it really liked it
Shelves: beerituality
Very good, very detailed and beautifully written book about beer primarily, but food as well. This book is for the more advanced beer fans. It's a rich, thick almost encyclopedia of knowledge. The author is a longtime head Brewer at Brooklyn Brewery.
Apr 27, 2016 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cicerone-study
This book is fantastic! The material is dense, but the presentation makes you feel like you are reading a journal of the author's travels. Oliver describes the pubs where he enjoyed the different beers and the foods that tasted amazing with them. The stories about the cast of characters met along the way is fantastic. And, the trash talk about wines not being able to compete with any of the beer pairings is very entertaining.
Feb 27, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: beer
This was a good starter in quest for a greater understanding of beer in general and specifically in its use with food. The anecdotes and history of some of the breweries were interesting but not terribly helpful in my goal of understanding pairing better. And some of the beer descriptions were similarly steeped in history rather than descriptions and processes. I also didn't care for his structure of going beer by beer within each style and telling me what they would pair well with. I need somet ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
This book help me rethink my work in education, showing me a different path. Great book about beer and food. Garrett Oliver is an outstanding writer and brew master.
Andrew Vernon
Jan 20, 2016 Andrew Vernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent overview of beer styles - it really opened my eyes to the world of beer.
May 17, 2011 Eric rated it liked it
I skimmed through a lot of the portions telling me about "the pleasures of real beer with real food," both because there's an index in the back and because it seemed like he only referenced like 10 different dishes in the entire book (probably 4-5 of which I don't ever see myself eating). There is so much good information about different brewing traditions, beer styles, and top breweries, though, and that makes this totally worth the read. I'll also probably always keep it handy to reference one ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Phil rated it it was ok
Solidly written and sure to make you think over the types of beers you drink, their history, and their complementing of what you're eating. Garret Oliver is the Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and his knowledge and expertise shows from the start. I would have preferred more of his opinion on beers and food pairings in separate sections, but in retrospect I think it was probably more natural the way he laid it out. Some of the cuisine choices literally run the gamut but not entirely a bad thing.
Sep 16, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Beer lovers, cooks, homebrewers
Recommended to Eric by: Lisa Kelly
A helpful, though not spectacular, guide to beer and pairing it with food. I did not read it cover to cover, and don't believe it is meant to be read that way -- it is one part encyclopedia and one part cook book.

The author, the master brewer at Brooklyn Brewery, certainly knows his stuff. His prose is easy to read, which certainly doesn't hurt. He also has a sense of humor, which is at its finest when he gently mocks wine snobs and the pairing of certain food with wine.
Oct 02, 2012 Charlotte rated it liked it
The information provided in this book regarding the history of beer and bewing is fascinating and highly entertaining to read. One can learn a great deal about the various styles of beer and the cultures from which they came. It is also a good resource for pairing various styles of beer with food. That being said, the content of Garrett Oiver's prose is rather pompus. He spends more time discussing his excellent taste and cullinary skills than is really necessary.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Spertus gave us this book, and I have to sya that after going to the Great American Cheese meeting and tasting beer with cheese that I became more interested in what foods you might pair with what styles of beer--until Joel gets more into beer brewing again we probably won't do much of this, but I do like the idea and this is a good book to start thinking about it with
Feb 02, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bber drinkers, food eaters, history people
Oh Garrett Oliver your passion for beer is inspiring. Read this book if you are at all interested in beer. History, beer and food pairing adventures, romance, monks, intrigue, class relations, politics, seriously, beer is all this and more. If you ever thought that food pairing was for wine alone, read this book and it will change the way you think about beer for the better.
Dec 15, 2007 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-drink
This book really stepped up my appreciation for beer and proper pairings with food. Not to give short shrift to the stories and information in the primary text, but the appendix of food and beer pairings is probably worth the price of the book. I've consulted it regularly to see which beer in my fridge would go best with a dish. The results have been excellent.
Feb 19, 2008 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love beer and bad writing
Shelves: randomness
as an encyclopedia of beer styles, brewing traditions, and history, this book is very good, very informative. unfortunately, this comes along with reading the prose of the most pretentious, ridiculous, dorky, "bon vivant" asshole you'll encounter for a while. hold your nose. (on the other hand, the unintentional comedy embedded in his anecdotes is pretty priceless.)
Nov 27, 2013 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really a beer person so this seemed like a great guide to learning a bit more about it and it is. This would make a great reference book to have around whether you know a lot about beer or not.

My only issue with it was the non-stop digs at wine and pairing wine with food. After the first couple, he made his POV clear. The rest were distracting.
Jun 07, 2010 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beer
This book by Garrett Oliver is one of the most used books in my collection. His take on beer and pairing it with food will really enhance your dining experience. It is superb to read cover to cover, and it also makes an excellent reference. Great beer and great food have become passions of mine. This book hits on both of those and combines them wonderfully.
Feb 13, 2016 Jon rated it it was amazing
GarrettOliver is a true master of pairing foods with beer. Thoughthis book was written in 2003 it covers beer style that only now becoming popular;in 2003 Iwould have wondeeredwhat the hell a Berliner weisse was, and now this style is fairly common and I already know what to pair it with. This book is a must have for anyserious beer geek.
Bob Peru
Jul 21, 2013 Bob Peru rated it it was amazing
this dude loves him some beer. for real. and meat! lord have mercy on this man's heart! if he eats a third of what he says? well god love him, but he ain't long for this world!

that bein' said. i learned a lot about beer from this ode to suds. thirsty work readin' it!

no foolin'. a great book for serious beer folk.
Marília Hamada
Apr 05, 2016 Marília Hamada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seja como leitura ou para referência, este livro é incrível para quem quer saber mais sobre os estilos de cerveja e harmonização. Mesmo com alguns dados desatualizados, é ainda sim bibliografia obrigatória para os interessados. O único problema é que ele dá muita vontade de comer e beber todas as sugestões indicadas.
Matthew Philips
Nov 03, 2014 Matthew Philips rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely loved this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good beer or good eats. I can't wait to start my journey thru the styles covered. Cheers!
May 29, 2011 Kat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
If you want to know anything about beer, this is the book to read. It covers all of the even remotely common styles of beer from history through to what to pair it with for food. It even talks about some of the better brewers for each style. It is a phenomenal book. Definite must read.
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Garrett Oliver is the Brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery in New York City and one of the foremost authorities in the world on the subject of beer. A host of more than 700 tasting and pairing events in 12 countries over the past two decades, he is perhaps best known as the author of the award-winning book The Brewmaster’s Table. He has made many appearances on television and in other media, writes ...more
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“Do you bake bread at home? Try to make a loaf of Wonder Bread. Just try. Believe me, you can't do it. No home baker can. You'd need a laboratory and millions of dollars of equipment to achieve such a remarkably bland creation. American mass-market beer is exactly the same thing. It's undead.” 1 likes
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