Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher – Book Review

by Brad Smith on March 10, 2009 · 1 comment


Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is a homebrewing book that defies easy description. As the title indicates it is a book about unusual brews and brewing techniques, but in reality the book is so much more. Radical Brewing is witty, entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable to read. It contains about 90 recipes from a variety of beer styles, but in between it is packed with dry wit, off-beat techniques including brewing with hot stones, chilies, homemade malts and more.

Radical Brewing opens with a “embellished history of beer” that defies description. A sampling: “5,000 BC: Formerly nomadic people of ancient Middle East settle down to avoid having to lug around heavy jugs of beer. Civilization begins.” He does not stop there – the entire book is packed with Randy’s dry wit and it makes it an enjoyable trip from cover to cover.

The book has a short introduction to brewing including some sound tips on technique, recipe design and tasting. However, Radical Brewing is not intended as a “How to Brew” book, so these chapters merely set the stage for what follows.

What follows is a Disney-world E-ticket ride through the world of off-beat beer and brewing. Randy presents chapters loosely organized by style to include British ales, lagers, big brews, herb beers, fruit beers, Belgian beers, non-barley beers, ancient beers, mead, organics, and a chapter on off beat beers. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Belgians as well as some of his off-beat beer styles as these styles are not often covered in other brewing books.

Through each chapter, Randy goes well beyond a collection of recipes by interspersing offbeat brewing techniques, short anecdotes about beer styles, historical tidbits and other off beat facts all written in Mr Mosher’s dry style. The visual style of the book is also stunning. Every page is packed with margin notes, pictures, antique illustrations, old ads tip boxes and quotes. Its easy to get lost in the notes on the margin and forget the main content.

The final chapters focus on social brewing including brew clubs, matching beer with various foods, and tips on expanding your home brewery and even a few words about going pro. Again, Randy delivers a great collection of brewing tips, radical ideas and thought-provoking commentary.

If you have not figured it out by now, I really enjoyed Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing. He manages to somehow entertain his readers while simultaneously teaching them. The book is also unique in the way it expands the world of the possible. After all, Radical Brewing is not about conventional techniques and ingredients. It manages to shed light on seldom seen corners of the brewing world and energize even an old brewer like me to try something new.

I place Randy Mosher’s book in the “must have” category for an intermediate brewer and give it five stars out of five. Here’s the Amazon Link to the book if you want to pick up a copy. Thanks again for joining us on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Have a great homebrewing week, and don’t hesitate to subscribe for free email delivery every week.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dranktank March 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm

I’m loving the book reviews. Thanks.
I mentioned you on my beverage blog.

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