- Hardcover: 142 pages
- Publisher: Sasquatch Books (Nov. 1 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0935503196
- ISBN-13: 978-0935503197
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,289,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ale Master: Bert Grant, The Dean of America's Craft Brewers Hardcover – Aug 1 1998
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Homebrewers...will find some valuable tips from a master of the craft....Grant is a fanatic about beer. Thank heaven they still exist -- Ale Street News, Dec. 4, 1998
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
So, all in all an interesting read with about what you'd have expected coming from Burt Grant. He was a pioneer in the US craft brewing industry and it was a sad day when he passed.
Unfortunately, the book, published by regional publisher and corporate publisher Sasquatch Books, is more narcissistic corporate brochure than legitimate autobiography. Nevertheless, Grant has much to say about beer and the beer making process, lets us in on why he does not like American beers like Budweiser or Coors, and gives a few tips for home brewers - something he still does, even though he owns one of the most celebrated craft breweries.
Fans of craft brews might enjoy the book if they can get past the blatant mirror gazing. There were times during the book that Grant took most or all of the credit for developments I can't help thinking were not entirely his. Reading the book, one may get the impression that the North American beer industry would be a nirvana of hoppy goodness, if they had just listened to Bert, for he can do no wrong. For example, he recounts in very little detail that he was fired from Strohs for revealing corporate secrets. He does not admit to doing so, but freely admits to doing a little moonlighting as a beer consultant. That still sounds like a conflict of interest to me.
On the other hand, the book contains a detailed but understandable explanation of the beer making process and of how the various elements - yeast, hops, barley - combine (or don't combine) to create good beer. In one section, Grant writes about the difficulties making Grant's Imperial Stout, an excellent, thick stout that takes some getting used to if all you drink is Guinness. He also suggests that the Guinness we drink today is a weak version of Guinness at its best. Many Guinness drinkers know that the beer is low in alcohol (around 4 percent); Grant suggests that it should not be, that stouts, in fact, should be closer to 7 or 8 percent.
There is no question the book is a corporate brochure, but hopefully it will spark some interest in the craft brewing movement and a real historian can tackle the subject from a less personally involved angle.