The Best Beer & Food Books

Beer and food pairing has become a major part of the brewery and restaurant business and is wildly popular for people to try at home. Read as our Beer Sommelier, Maggie Cubbler, lists her favourite beer and food books so you, too, can see what the fuss is all about.

I remember my first one: it was a simple pairing of Hoegaarden and an oyster soup. The broth was creamy with an orange hue from the saffron. There was a frothy, chef-y substance surrounding the one fat, jiggly oyster which sat in the center of the bowl. The oyster had been steamed and I was a little afraid of it because it looked like an alien emerging from the depths. I didn't like oysters.

I remember thinking something like: "I paid $200 for this lunch. I'm at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Fest. This chef is famous. I better eat the damn oyster." Fortunately, at that moment, a tumbler of Hoegaarden had been placed at my setting; its huge, frothy head looked enticing. The chef described what we would soon be experiencing: a zesty, citrus character will bring out the flavours of the sea. The beer's coriander character will add depth to the saffron broth while the creamy mouthfeel matches its silkiness. Finally, a dry finish will cleanse the palate readying us for the next bite. 

I wasn't sure I was ready for the first bite of that oyster, let alone preparing myself for the second bite.

I dug in though, peering warily at this thing on my spoon. Taking a bite, I had my beer at the ready. Down went the oyster, in went the Hoegaarden My world changed. It was an explosion of flavours. An interaction I had never experienced before. He was right: the citrus, the sea, the spice, the silkiness. My mind didn't know what to focus on first. All of it was there and all of it was incredible.

It's experiences and memories like these that brewers and chefs alike devote their careers to. The mind-blowing, "I'll always remember it" experience. This is why food and beer pairing has such an excitement about it and why, from that point on, I couldn't learn enough, fast enough about why food and beer pairing just works.

There are thousands of books, blogs and articles written on the topic. But nothing replaces experimenting and experiencing on your own. Here is my list of favourite books which have either helped me along the way or got me excited about it all over again. Have a read and get into the kitchen; matching beer and food will never be more exciting!

The Brewmaster's Table

      By Garrett Oliver    

  Arguably the bible by the man himself, The Brewmaster's Table should be your first stop on your beer and food pairing adventure. Written by Garrett Oliver, this encyclopaedia of tasting and pairing beer inspires and educates all who have an interest in beer and/or food. Beer styles and their history are covered in-depth, each with numerous pairing suggestions, while a handy glossary makes for quick pairing decisions. The Brewmaster's Table lays the groundwork for, well, pretty much everything with regards to food and beer.

Tasting Beer

      By Randy Mosher

 With a concise explanation about beer and food pairing principles and instruction on how to taste, Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer is a necessity. Professionals depend on this book considering it's on the reading list for the Cicerone® Exam but it's written and organised in such a thought-out manner that it's suitable for anyone who has shown an interest in beer and food. This book would be a perfect gift for someone wanting to take their beer (and food) a bit more seriously.

Food & Beer

      By Daniel Burns & Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø

 This book is gorgeous. Written by Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Burns and Evil Twin Brewing's Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, Food & Beer features some of the most elegant recipes and beer pairings I have ever seen. Stunning photography, great writing and an all-star team make this a must-have book. Admittedly, some of the recipes are a bit complicated for your run-of-the-mill dinner but if you're serious about food and beer pairing (and really want to impress your friends) Food & Beer has to be part of your collection.

Beer Pairing

     By Julia Herz & Gwen Conley

 Developed by world-renowned beer experts, Julia Herz and Gwen Conley, Beer Pairing is the essential guide to beer and food pairing (really, it says it on the cover). With a systematic approach to explaining beer, how to taste, pairing principles and even designing beer dinners, this book could and should be considered the textbook for beer pairing. A forward by the aforementioned Randy Mosher alongside interviews from beer industry stalwarts, chefs and scientists add even more cred to this already fantastic book.

The Beer and Food Companion

      By Stephen Beaumont

  Stephen Beaumont's The Beer and Food Companion is a great book for diving deep into the culture of beer and food in various countries around the world.  Beer & food pairings get equal billing next to cooking with beer and international beer cuisine while individual styles are presented in-depth. Great photography, interesting interviews and fantastic contributions from chefs and brewers make for a fascinating read.

 So these are my favourite beer and food pairing books. I do hope you can get a hold of some or all of these and if you've got a favourite not on this list, please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page. Cheers!

(P.S.: The last two books on this list are available on Search under our "gifts" link or hover over the name in this post to bring you to the link.)