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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

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  376 ratings  ·  43 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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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.
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
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.
Andrew Bell
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.
Andrew Frueh
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Feb 27, 2013 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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.
Quite a bit of good information in this volume and parts of it were quite enjoyable to read.

Distracting elements of this work that lowered its rating include the following:

1) The gigantic chip the author has on his shoulder about wine. Shaadap already. You do not need to plead your case at the expense of wine.

2) Jingoism. Those of us who are unfortunate enough not to be Americans are quite aware of all your great qualities that we humble non-Americans do not possess. We'll try harder. We promise
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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.
Catherine Woodman
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.)
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 5 of 5 stars
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.
Bob Peru
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.
Matthew Philips
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 5 of 5 stars
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.
Jack Perdue
This is the go-to book for people interested in learning more and understanding the complexities of enjoying food with beer and vice-versa. It is a study as much as a read. Chew it slowly, savoring each bite, chew on it (pun intended) to get the full enjoyment and experience.
An interesting book that goes well beyond just explaining how to pair food and beer. Garrett Oliver goes into the history of all the major beer styles from across Europe and the US and gives some very vivid tasting notes on many notable beers in each of the categories.
I'm still reading through The Basics section of the book but it's great so far, provides a very good introduction into the ingredients and processes involved in brewing beer while not going over the head of reader's who may be novices.
Feb 28, 2008 Nick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: beer
I have cracked through the first five chapters, and Garrett has done an amazing job describing beer styles and food pairings.

A must read for finer restaurateurs looking to serve finer beer.
Oliver's summary of different beer styles' tastes and pairing beer with foods is a fun read, especially when you see his strong opinions about beer's superiority over wine as a food companion.
Jeremy Bruner
Great book, extraordinarily comprehensive look at every prominent beer style. Expect to use this is a reference for a long, long time.
While a decent look at the various kinds of brewing traditions, I don't think I'd read it again. The book is a fabulous resource for finding what beer to have with dinner though.
Amanda Schaefer
Not just a delightful book about beer with food, but a great education in beer styles and history. Funny, smart, readable, with a great quick reference in the back.
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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.” 0 likes
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