If there are two things I love alongside my wife, two boys, dog, coffee, hiking, music, bacon, beer, traveling, and photography, they are beer and food, and Schuyler Schultz’s expanded second edition of Beer, Food, and Flavor does a great job of making the case for these two (okay, three–I like flavor as well) elements of my quality world.
Schultz offers a Beer 101 course on beer styles, tasting, and glassware before delving deeper into pairing beer with fine cuisine. The book offers a series of well-conceived menus from past beer dinners, and explains their working components. A few selected recipes are included, but these seemed superfluous to the meat of the book. All or none, I would recommend.
Schultz took his time with a solid, photo-laden chapter on beer and cheese before offering a series of profiles on notable breweries around the country. Honestly, I thought the latter strayed from the stated purpose of the book, and those included were largely the “usual suspects,” but then the book’s subtitle was, “A Guide to Tasting, Pairing, and the Culture of Craft Beer,” so the inclusion of the profiles and the preceding chapter on the philosophy of craft brewing must have been meant for the “culture” piece of the puzzle. To me, it got off topic, and since Schultz’s strength as a chef is in the realm of food, I’d rather have seen more on this side of the coin.
The foreword was written by AleSmith Brewing Company Brewmaster/Owner Peter Zien, who praises Schuyler’s work for good reason. Schultz is a true talent within this subject matter, and the book is well written, to boot. But… this book was saturated with AleSmith beers, menus, and (beautiful) photographs to the point of reader burden. I’m sure it was convenient to snag these photos and consider the flavors of this familiar and terrific brewery from the author’s own stomping grounds, but given the broad strength of this book and the growing beer culture across the United States, I’d like to have seen a little brewery expansion beyond the well-worn path to AleSmith’s doorstep for this second edition release.
If you’ve got a beer-and-food lover in your midst (or are one yourself) looking to explore some of the notable figures in the American craft beer scene while absorbing a little food knowledge in the process, Beer, Food, and Flavor is probably worth a look.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher.