Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution
author — Joshua M. Bernstein
subject — trendy, crafty beer
text by Victoria Gutierrez
The best way to describe Joshua Bernstein’s Brewed Awakening is this: the book is a spot-on time capsule of the style, taste, and mindset of the craft brewing culture right now. It doesn’t take a beer expert to understand that the craft brewing scene is currently in an incredibly energetic and variable place. Just head over to the nearest beer bar and remark at the number of beers available that didn’t exist one year, one month, or even one week ago. With that in mind, any book that attempts to take a snapshot of the craft brewing world with anecdotes and suggested beers is going to become less useful as time passes — so if you like your beers full of hops and punny names, grab this book right now.
Appropriately, this of-the-moment beer tome starts chapter one with the darling ingredient that gets growler geeks talking and palates crying mercy: hops. From an in-depth description of the different strains, and the plights of brewers trying to make the most of yearly harvests, Brewed Awakening then marches through all of the ingredients that make a beer a beer. What follows this first chapter is an eye opening and truly fun account of the many facets of craft brewing told via very personal brewer stories, tips, and profiles.
With its entertaining anecdotal style, Bernstein’s book reads quite well cover to cover, but I’d recommend taking it in small doses. The layout makes
it highly actionable; nearly every page includes relevant beers to try (that is, if you can find them where you live). And speaking of layout, the artwork in this book is quite busy. There’s no room for notes, ironically, because most of the book is made to look like a notebook, so have a pen and paper handy for jotting down rye beers to find or the questions to ask a bar serving cask brews.
With the timeliness of the book, I have to wonder whether Bernstein is planning to revisit the concept and release a new edition in a few years. With the evolution the beer industry is seeing right now, we’re going to need it.