By Mary Izett
Appropriately, I started reading Speed Brewing by Mary Izett with the Introduction. Right away, I found myself wanting to interrupt, to argue, to state may case about the therapeutic benefits I receive from the time it takes me to brew a batch of beer. While I’ve taken forays into mead, cider, kombucha, soda, coffee roasting and even my grandma’s old Kahlua and schnapps recipes (for variety, not time savings), I am primarily a beer-maker, and over the years I’ve cut my brewing time by working more efficiently, kegging, and occasionally brewing lower alcohol beers (I no longer sacrifice a full Saturday—instead I clean my house and nap during the hobby’s ample downtime).
A few paragraphs later, I bristled again. Brew a gallon of this or two gallons of that? No. Now I have to brew much more frequently, and where’s the time savings in that? I don’t make beer to save time; I do it to feed my soul.
In addition to legit beer advice of brewing lower alcohol beers to decrease fermentation time and avoid secondary fermentation altogether, here’s what this book should have mentioned on the “brisk” beer (I really like that term) front: time management tips, keg your beer instead of bottling, force carbonate that beer, and split fermentations to experiment and introduce variety without a heavy commitment (she actually mentions that, but I wanted to prove that we see eye to eye here and there).
Now that I’m finished complaining, let me say that I really enjoyed this book. I marched forward with an open mind (and advice on the short meads I’ve been wanting to explore anyway since I’m not good at sipping). What I found in Izett was an intelligent, clean writer well versed in her content. It’s not often in a brewing tome or cookbook that I’d say I genuinely would like to try every single recipe that was included, but I can say that about this book.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Short Bochet? Yes, please!
Throughout the book, Izett offers steady guidance on making beer, mead, cider, and more. She offers a good exploration of smaller, more sessionable beer styles as well as a fun rundown of other alcoholic beverages for the curious drinker/brewer to explore. While I’m not going to waste my time brewing two measly gallons of beer, I found a lot of value in this book, and I’d definitely recommend that brewers check it out. It was a motivational seminar, and I can’t wait to start using its contents in my brewing schedule.
I think I just didn’t like the title.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher.