Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione and BeerAdvocate's Alstrom brothers have co-authored a homebrewing book that offers something for everyone.
The craft beer movement has had a lot of defining moments, but one of the most important ones didn't happen in a brewery. It happened in the White House. On October 14, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed bill H.R. 1337, which, amongst other things, essentially legalizing homebrewing. Through the ensuing decades, homebrewing has not only allowed people interested in beer to get experience outside of a professional setting, but it has also allowed them to experiment beyond what was happening at conventional breweries. From Ken Grossman (who went on to found Sierra Nevada) doing something as simple as homebrewing a hop-forward beer back in the '70s to our modern beer culture where nearly anything is acceptable as an ingredient, the unburdened versatility allowed by making small batches at home has almost always kept homebrewers ahead of the curve.
Now, a new book set to hit shelves next month seeks to celebrate that experimental attitude that has allowed homebrewing to help wag the dog of the brewing industry. Project Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast's Guide to Extreme Brewing at Home is co-authored by Sam Calagione and the Alstrom brothers, Todd and Jason, three guys who know a thing or two about extreme beer. Calagione, the founder of the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, began his brewing journey in the '90s by whipping up beer in his New York City apartment. His brand has gone on to use the slogan "Off centered stuff for off centered people" as a nod to its penchant for experimental brews. Meanwhile, the Alstrom brothers are best known as the founders of the community-driven beer review site BeerAdvocate. However, since 2003, they've also been behind the annual Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, which does exactly what it says, showcasing hundreds of extreme beers from across the country.
With their new, visually-engaging 160-page tome, not only do the authors celebrate homebrewing, but they also provide all the information necessary to go from novice to extreme homebrewer in one convenient package (well, minus all the equipment and ingredients, of course). The book is broken down into two parts: Getting Started and Extreme Brewing at Home. Part 1 walks readers through all the steps necessary to homebrew with plenty of photos and interesting tidbits you won't find elsewhere, like Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing discussing dry hopping. While you can probably find more straightforward descriptions of how to homebrew out there, thankfully, in the age of the internet, additional information is at your fingertips.
Part 2 is a collection of extreme homebrewing recipes. And while the web has made finding homebrew recipes easier than ever before; having a collection of interesting, curated and, importantly, original recipes from respected industry professionals all in one place still has its appeal. In all, the book has over 40 recipes from the likes of Dogfish Head, Against the Grain, Rare Barrel and Tree House including unique ideas like a Flanders red inspired by a pastrami sandwich, a stout made with chocolate and oysters and a Scotch ale designed to mimic the flavors of an Old Fashioned cocktail.
Overall, with the holiday season coming up, this book makes a great gift for anyone with any level of interest in homebrewing. Project Extreme Brewing could work as the first and only homebrewing book on your shelf or could also serve as a great addition to an entire bookcase worth of brewing books thanks to its treasure trove of recipes. Set to be released on November 14, it's currently available for preorder on Amazon. Dogfish Head is also promoting the publication with a group of new Project Extreme Brewing videos on its YouTube channel.