By Brooke and Luther Fedora
Some of it had to do with personal preferences like I don’t care for the seasonally-divided and menu-geared layout of the book. Sometimes I just want to peruse a pile of entrees or beef dishes, for example, and this layout makes that impossible. Fine. I can deal with that. Once can overcome this by shooting to the index for an inspirational beef recipe. Oh, wait—not in this cookbook. There is no recipe index in The Foodie’s Beer Book. Bummer.
But there’s more. I just really feel like this is a 1990s-era poseur of a beer-leaning cookbook. I felt like the writers’ depth of beer knowledge in the history, ingredient rundown and beer characteristics sections was limited. I felt that even stronger when wheat beer, bitter, pale ale and IPAs were the only listings discussing what an “ale” is. And even further when porter and stout were included behind the “lager” heading (not that one wouldn’t be quick to lager a Baltic Porter, I fully understand).
But I nitpick.
Let’s talk about beer and recipes in a beer-geared cookbook. This book called for “dark beer” in a stout cake recipe. This recipe would have been really easy to suggest a specific beer for, but no. Not just beer style recommendation (like “stout” over “dark beer,” but a specific beer, say, Left Hand Milk Stout, for example. Want more examples? The following beers were suggested in multiple recipes as well: “dark ale,” “strong ale beer” and “amber beer.” To the authors’ defense, I should say that they once suggested Guinness, once suggested Harp lager, once suggested “Nut Brown Ale,” and once suggested Founder’s Double Trouble. And lest I forget, if you want to make peanut butter crème brulee, you’ll need to add ½ cup “beer.”
There are a few general beer recommendations at the beginning of each section/menu, not to mention brief descriptions of said commercial examples. In one case, I scratched my head to learn that Paulaner Oktoberfest is a “weisn” style and that hard cider is a beer when I had previously thought cider was cider.
Looking to a recipe for another layer of frustration, Easy Hollandaise Sauce calls for “1 tsp beer (pick the beer that complements your dish)”. One, that solitary teaspoon will likely go unnoticed and two, if I’m looking to a beer cookbook for guidance, I want to know exactly what beer to use and exactly why that makes sense. Seriously. Feed me answers, not questions.
Before I forget, I should mention one more thing: the photos are dark and uninspiring.
As I read through this book, I kept glancing around for a hidden camera and some tittering beer nerd filming reactions for some new reality show. Alas, this didn’t happen, and this book is for real. Maybe the authors of this book can cook, but it appeared a lazy effort for beer poseurs to capitalize on the success of craft beer, and I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher.
Recipe disclaimer: I didn’t feel inspired to test a single recipe in this book.
Integrity disclaimer: I’m not writing this post while sitting in my underwear in my mom’s basement.