Book review: Tasting Beer, 2nd Edition

New edition: Tasting Beer

The second edition of Randy Mosher’s book has been comprehensively updated with new beer styles, sensory tutorials and content tailored to students of the Cicerone program.

Tasting Beer has sold 200,000 copies globally since it was first published in 2009. Two years in development, the revised and updated edition was published in May this year.

According to Mosher, it is 25 per cent bigger than its predecessor, with notable updates including an expanded beer glossary, a completely rewritten chapter on beer and food, as well as beer style updates.

“Ever since the first edition of this book, amber and red ales have become hoppier, the tawny, hallowed Oktoberfest has almost entirely turned into a pale beer; and IPAs have gotten paler and aromatic and at the same time spawned white, black, red lager and session versions – all in the space of six years,” he writes.

The intervening period has also brought continued evolution in the science of taste, as well as Mosher’s own sensory understanding.

He covers more extensively the neurobiology of our sensory systems, as well as the components of taste and mouthfeel, and how they relate to a beer’s flavour.

“Brewers engaged in the bitterness arms race are starting to hit real limits,” Mosher reports.

“There is currently a beer on the market that has been measured at 658 IBU… No matter the chemistry, that level is clearly in the realm of the silly.”

Mosher mulls the buy-outs of successful craft breweries, and craft beer’s expansion into a worldwide phenomenon, with a nod to Australia and New Zealand.

“Their uniquely flavourful hops are providing a really exciting focus and voice for their beers,” he says.

The book includes new illustrated content

And, Tasting Beer now has even greater relevance for students of the Cicerone program, with new content on draught system fundamentals developed specifically for this audience.

However, the book will appeal to anyone who is curious about beer and its origins, thanks to Mosher’s engaging, passionate writing style that is refreshing for those of us who are relatively new on their tasting journey.

“There is no quick shortcut to mastering this fine and peculiar art,” he writes.

“I’ve been at it for more than 25 years, and I am constantly humbled; I rarely walk away from a tasting without learning something utterly new.”

Click here to listen to Randy Mosher speak with Radio Brews Newsabout the the new edition of Tasting Beer.

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