Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food” as Want to Read:
The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Award for Best Cookbook in the Wine, Beer or Spirits category.

Garrett Oliver, award-winning Brewmaster and Vice President of Production of the Brooklyn Brewery, recognized by Gourmet Magazine as a “passionate epicure and talented alchemist”, reveals the full spectrum of flavors contained in the more than 50
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Ecco (first published 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Brewmaster's Table, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Brewmaster's Table

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  677 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
Some decent information in here on beer styles and pairing with food, but most of the content is overshadowed by the author being so full of himself and his opinions that it was hard to get to them through his arrogance. Newsflash: it's possible to appreciate both beer AND wine. Second newsflash: there is a difference between making a point and coming off as a complete jackass. Chances are I will never open the book again because the author's tone is so off-putting and full of condescension. I'd ...more
Aug 15, 2009 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
May 25, 2010 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 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.
Jim Razinha
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This was to add to the knowledge base, even though I'm not a fan of Oliver's Brooklyn Brewery and I dislike most of the styles he crows about. Even though this was published in 2003, it still has value with respect to suggestions. He does a good job with descriptions, and food pairings (something that always makes me laugh, whether wine or beer related), and isn't shy at all about recommending his own brewery's beers as "notable producers" of the various styles he covers...most of which I've tri ...more
Geoff Young
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Useful compendium on beer styles and food pairings. Author is very knowledgeable about subject, often augmenting information with good stories and beautiful photographs.


* Book was published in 2003, so some beer specifics are outdated. San Diego breweries are woefully underrepresented, although this makes sense given time frame.
* Foods presented tend to be very European-centric. Again, this is understandable given that much of what we think of as beer culture comes from Europe. Among As
Ian Hrabe
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Garrett Oliver is obviously very passionate about beer. He's also obviously very good at making beer if you've ever had anything from Brooklyn Brewery (their Monster Ale Barleywine is one of my all time favorites and their Brooklyn Lager is one of my go-tos if I can find it). However, this book needs to be about half the size because while it has some really useful information, it's a bit of a slog. It doesn't help that Oliver has about 8-10 descriptors he uses ad nauseum. Like, never in my life ...more
Jukka Kuva
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Brewmaster's Table is a beer encyclopedia type book by Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery. It lists all styles of beer, according to how Oliver sees them, along with food pairings for each and notable producers of each. It's a rather thorough investigation at the multitudes of beer and offers many useful tips in pairing beer with food. Oliver's enthusiasm for everything related to beer and good food really shines through from the text, as does his all American ability to market t ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this one. It starts off explaining what beer is and its history, and then it delves into most major beer styles and discusses how to pair them with food, including practical examples of specific dishes and actual beers down to the brand. The narration is engaging and full of interesting anecdotes, and for the most part avoids being too technical. I also liked that it includes some tables and annexes for easy reference, which makes attempting your own pairings much easier. I actually shar ...more
Matthew Janega
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I hadn’t gone into this book knowing what I know about beer, it would likely be revelationary. A fun read with great information for anyone looking to pull increased enjoyment out of their beer experiences. Cheers. 🍻
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! This book has really changed my appreciation for beer and food.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking-health, beer
An exhaustive exploration of pairing beer with food. A little preachy at times, but very thorough in scope. Includes a handy reference guide at the end!
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about beer. It goes into the history of many styles and even flavor pairings. It's also just a fun, compelling, and informative read, even if you're not into beer. ...more
Aug 01, 2008 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
Jan 30, 2012 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
Aug 05, 2012 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
Apr 15, 2015 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
Derek Wolfgram
Dec 12, 2013 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
Rajiv Chopra
Sep 06, 2015 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
Jan 28, 2013 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
Apr 16, 2011 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
Aug 04, 2008 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.
Jun 23, 2011 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. ...more
Oct 02, 2012 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. ...more
Mo Coghlan
Apr 06, 2016 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. ...more
Dec 15, 2007 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. ...more
Feb 19, 2008 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.) ...more
Jun 07, 2010 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.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 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 ...more
Bob Peru
Jul 21, 2013 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.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
  • Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
  • Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink
  • Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles
  • For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops
  • The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
  • Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers
  • Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass
  • Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition
  • Proof: The Science of Booze
  • Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
  • The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution
  • The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal, #3)
  • Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
  • The Seventh Sun (The Age of the Seventh Sun, #1)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
  • Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
26 likes · 7 comments
“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
More quotes…