Future Publishing, best known for producing magazines about computers and music, has just published a chunky one-off ‘bookazine’ about home brewing.
It caught our interest largely because of the signal it sends about the status of beer: this must surely be the first time since the eighties that a guide to brewing at home has been available in WH Smith. It is also, we hear, on sale in many supermarkets.
It is notable, too, that the cover boasts ‘50 craft beer recipes’, and has the subtitle ‘How to make the craft beer you love at home!’ Had it been published ten years ago, would it not probably have used the buzz-phrase ‘real ale’ instead?
We also have an inkling that there are more ‘craft beer’ related publications on their way from Future — perhaps a more general guide to appreciating beer based on hints dropped here and there. An interesting development if we’re right.
Should you buy it?
If you have been thinking about getting into home brewing, you could certainly do worse.
It is clear and colourful, and makes the process seem less intimidating than some other guides, and plenty of demonstration photos (with a spectacularly glum-looking reluctant model) help on that front.
If you’re a more experienced brewer, you might still be interested in getting your hands on the recipes which make up the bulk of its 172 pages.
First, there are those donated by breweries, most of whom seem to have recognised this as an opportunity for a free full-page advertisement in exchange for the secrets of one of their more obscure or less-exciting products. So, for example, St Austell’s contribution is a recipe for 1851 IPA, a very occasional seasonal we’ve
never actually rarely seen on sale. There are some better-known beers included, however, such as Kernel’s Export India Porter, Lovibond’s Henley Gold and Moor Illusion.
There is also a batch of adaptable ‘essential’ recipes covering a range of styles, put together by home brewer Paul Saunders, which look fine to us, and would no doubt make a good start point for designing your own beer.
It won’t be making our list of essential home brewing books, but we don’t regret spending £9.99 on it.