By William Bostwick
Winner of 2014 U.S. gourmet beverages Award • style 5,000 years of brewing heritage as a time-traveling homebrewer rediscovers and re-creates the good beers of the past.
The Brewer’s Tale is a beer-filled trip into the previous: the tale of brewers passed by and one courageous writer’s quest to convey them―and their historic, forgotten beers―back to existence, one style at a time. this is often the tale of the area based on beer, a toast to flavors born of necessity and place―in Belgian monasteries, rundown farmhouses, and the basement nanobrewery round the corner. So pull up a barstool and lift a tumbler to 5,000 years of fermented magic.
Fueled by means of date-and-honey gruel, bitter pediococcus-laced lambics, and all demeanour of beers among, William Bostwick’s rollicking quest for the drink’s origins takes him into the redwood forests of Sonoma County, to bullet-riddled South Boston brewpubs, and around the Atlantic, from Mesopotamian sands to medieval monasteries to British brewing factories. Bostwick compares notes with the Mt. Vernon historian in command of retaining George Washington’s molasses-based domestic brew, and he unearths the ancestor of today’s macrobrewed lagers in a nineteenth-century spy’s hollowed-out jogging stick.
Wrapped round this contemporary reportage are deeply proficient stories of history’s archetypal brewers: Babylonian temple staff, Nordic shamans, patriots, rebels, and priests. The Brewer’s Tale unfurls from the traditional goddess Ninkasi, ruler of intoxication, to the cryptic beer hymns of the Rig Veda and down into the clove-scented treasure holds of India-bound crusing ships.
With each one discovery comes Bostwick’s personal flip on the brew pot, an workout that honors the audacity and experimentation of the craft. A sticky English porter, a pricelessly infrequent Belgian, and a sacred, shamanic wormwood-tinged gruit every one provide humble communion with the brewers of yore. From sickly candy Nordic grogs to industrially fine-tuned fizzy lager, Bostwick’s trip into brewing background eventually arrives on the head of the trendy craft beer stream and gazes eagerly if a section blurry-eyed towards the way forward for beer.