Prosperity in the 1980s and 90s almost killed home brewing. Many specialist stores closed and national chains stopped stocking the requisite equipment and materials. Even though times are now harder, home brewing for reasons of thrift has not recovered. Home brewing is resurgent, however, for a different reason. Beer-drinkers today are a much more sophisticated and demanding bunch than they used to be. The number of craft and microbreweries has soared, presenting modern beer-drinkers with a range of styles and varieties that their parents wouldn’t even have heard of. At the same time, thousands of beer-lovers make regular pilgrimages to Belgium and Germany, where they have discovered an exotic brewing tradition as diverse as our own.
For these people, standard mass-produced lager is no longer even nearly enough, and what bars and superstores can’t or won’t supply, they take pride in making for themselves. Thrift no longer enters into it; home brewing has become, like cookery, a field in which discening consumers can take control of the quality of their lives by satisfying their own demands. Belgian abbey beers, old ales, barley wines, Märzenbiers, bocks, honey beers, fruit beers—there’s no style the new foodies of home brewing won’t attempt and can’t perfect.
Wisdom for home Brewers is the book for beer-lovers who want better than they can buy and are prepared to go to some trouble to get it. It combines all the practical instruction the absolute beginner will need with more detailed, abstruse, and even a little surprising information for those who’ve been at it for years, all shot through with the lore and love of beer and brewing.