Inkling, a flexible, interactive publishing platform for digital books online and though mobile apps, recently sent me a copy of Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher, a Chicago-based cicerone.
It was my first time on Inkling and the first time I read through an extensive, well-rounded book on tasting beer. Both were a pleasure.
First, let me remark on using Inkling. The ability to pull up this book on the computer, my iPhone and an iPad was convenient. With the ability to bookmark, I could easily retrieve key sections and chapters. With the ability to highlight passages, write notes to myself on the sidebar and click on words to pull up their definitions (via Wiktionary), made the book come alive and serve as a useful study tool. Built into this book was a glossary of perhaps hundreds of terms relating to beer and brewing. In short, it was the most dynamic reading experience I’ve had with a digital book.
Now to Tasting Beer. Having a book on tasting beer may seem a little pointless to some, as tasting beer can and should be a very personal experience. However, tasting to enjoy beer and tasting to better discuss beer are two different things, and if you are looking for a way to enhance your ability to understand and speak to what’s going on inside your imperial pint glass or snifter, then this book has merit.
Sure, when asked if we like this beer or that, we can say, “Yeah, I liked the hops and flavor.” But knowing why we like it can help us find other beers like it, and that’s where the fun of discovery comes into beer drinking.
Tasting Beer is broken into 14 chapters and is packed full of graphs, charts and illustrations, all of which aid comprehension of the materials being covered and serve a clear purpose in their presentation. The most intriguing chapters, for me, were 4-7 (respectively, The Qualities of Beer; Tasting, Judging, and Evaluation; Presenting Beer; Beer and Food).
Mosher leaves no barley un-turned in this book. As a cicerone, you can tell that he 1) loves beer and 2) knows a lot about it. To address the “why” of such a book on beer, I think this quote at the beginning of Chapter 6 is fitting: