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Before I review Randy Mosher's "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink," let me give you a few calibration points so you can decide whether to take my opinions seriously or not. I definitely qualify as a serious beer geek. My travels around the U.S. nearly always involve visits to brewpubs. I'll drive hundreds of miles out of my way to have a pint of good craft brew, and I attend as many beer festivals each year as I possibly can. My favorite beers are Imperial stouts, barleywines and Imperial I.P.A.s, such as Alesmith's Speedway, Stone's Old Guardian and Moylan's Hopsickle (among many others). I enjoy the occasional Belgian (the funkier the better), and I consider Fat Tire to be an overly hyped "training-wheels beer" for people who don't know any better. I couldn't choke down a Bud, Coors or Miller if I were dying of thirst, and (yes, it's true) I tend to be a little snobbish toward people who are unwilling to expand their beer tastes beyond the Big Three. So, with that said, what did I think of "Tasting Beer?"

Well, there's a remarkable amount of information in its 247 pages, all of it presented in a very nicely integrated text-and-picture form. No matter what aspect of beer culture you're interested in, you'll find it covered to a useful level of detail in "Tasting Beer." Do you want to know more about the history of beer? It's in there, from 10,000 years BCE to the present, in a fascinating 22-page section. Do you want to improve your abilities to taste beer, and to accurately describe its qualities and complexity? It's in there--you'll learn how to distinguish 25 common flavors such as diacetyl, isoamyl acetate and fusels, and whether they're desirable or not. Are you interested in becoming more sophisticated in pairing beer with food? It's in there, both general guidelines and specific recommendations. Do you want to bone up on the bewildering variety of beer styles available? They're all in there, from the lightest adjunct lagers to Imperial stouts. Each style is described and characterized in great detail, including suggestions for which beers you should try that best represent the styles. There's a whole chapter on the modern American craft beer movement and its new styles such as wet-hopped ales, ultra-strong beers and other experimental types. I found the charts showing beer color, strength, etc., as a function of style to be especially interesting and useful, although all of the graphics and figures are exceptionally well done.

"Tasting Beer" is the best single volume of beer lore that I've read in many years. It is so good that a few of my other older beer books became redundant and have now found their way into the public library donation box. There should still be a place in the beer lover's inventory for such books as Roger Protz's "The Ale Trail" and Garrett Oliver's "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food." But if you own only one beer book, "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink," should be it. Cheers!
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on April 2, 2009
Randy Mosher has been well-known in serious beer and homebrewing circles for years. His earlier book, Radical Brewing, is a classic for anyone interested in brewing and a wondrous font of cool recipes for beers to brew at home. Tasting Beer is a much more approachable work, aimed more at the general audience of beer drinkers out there than at us "beer geeks". It provides a broad overview of styles, tips on pairing beer with food, proper glassware and serving techniques, historical perspectives, and even the basics of sensory evaluation of beer. Profusely illustrated, including many helpful charts and diagrams comparing various styles of beer, this really is an exceptional work. It would make a perfect gift for anyone who is at all interested in any aspect of modern craft brewing. I like to think I'm fairly well-read when it comes to beer, but I was still fascinated and picked up several new and interesting beer facts.

If you're at all interested in beer, don't miss this great new book!
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on September 3, 2012
I found the book to be a good read overall from the perspective of it being a book about beer in general. It covers just about every aspect of beer but not in great detail. The first half of the book gives the reader a decent background about what one should expect when tasting beer. But I was a bit disappointed with the last half of the book.

The last half was mostly a catalog of beer styles and suggested beers to try. That's great but Mosher didn't describe what one might expect to taste when tasting those specific beers. After all, this is a book about tasting beer right?

So what are the expert opinions of Orval, Adventinus, or Okicum Palone? You will not find it in this book. Remember those judges sheets in chapter 5? Why aren't there any filled-out ones for the suggested beers? I would have much liked to have a detailed, in-depth expert analysis of key beers that are good for learning the nuances of tasting beer rather than a catalog of a bunch of beer suggestions.

A better title for the book would have been "About Beer".
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on March 18, 2009
Mosher's latest dissertation upon beer is a must-have, not just for beer lovers, but for everyone in the business of "taste". This book gives you the vocabulary and the sensory methodology to objectively evaluate beer- but the tasting disciplines can also be applied to other beverages and foods. Detailed beer style descriptions abound and the work of organizing a tasting, pairing, or epicurean expedition is already done for you. A fun and interesting read. I highly recommend "Tasting Beer" by Randy Mosher.
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on December 10, 2015
A lot of great info that covers the past, present and future of the beer world. I especially enjoyed the chapters on how to truly experience your beer through tastes and aromas. If you were to read it cover to cover, you'd be set, the book flows very well.

However, we were assigned random chapters in our class so the information wasn't always included in the assigned chapters. By that I mean, if we were assigned chapters 3-4, well chapter 3 is a continuation of chapter 2, so you would start out not knowing terms because were explained/described back in chapter 2. I know its not a "textbook" but had someone left a comment like mine, i would of been better prepared.
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on November 30, 2013
Mr. Mosher lays beer out in an easy and approachable format. He presents topics in an order as to not overload the reader with unnecessary info as it relates to the topic at hand.
Tasting Beer covers everything from tasting terminology, to bottle handling, to style breakdowns, to pairings, and everything in between.
Lots of info but not overbearing at all. Well paced and structured in a format that is easily used as a reference, especially for pairings and general beer info.
he Kindle version didn't take away from the content at all.
A book every beer lover should read- noob and seasoned beer judges alike.
There is also a great 'Additional Reading' guide at the end that is really useful for taking any additional steps in your study of beer.
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on February 25, 2009
Randy Mosher is one of the most talented and knowledgeable beer writers. His first book, Radical Brewing, should be on the bookshelf of every homebrewer, and "Tasting Beer" brings it to beer drinkers in general.

If you're at all interested in really understanding beer, brewing, drinking, and eating with beer, this is the perfect start.

This should be a textbook for any restaurant even thinking of adding craft beer to their menu.

Highly recommended!

Michael Shannon
BJCP Certified Beer Judge
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on April 18, 2016
This book is fantastic. Randy Mosher covers a lot of ground: Historical evolution of beer, the chemistry behind flavors, the mechanics of making and storing beer, the MO for tasting, how to get certified as a professional judge, help in hosting a beer event, different beer styles, environmental aspects that can help or hurt a beer's taste, and so much more. He knows his stuff, but he doesn't tell you in a way that sounds condescending or elitist - something craft beer connoisseurs, and beer critics, are frequently accused of - sometimes not inaccurately. Really a great book to read and very interesting for anyone interested in beer, even if you don't want to become a professional taster.
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on December 28, 2015
Awesome book. Every cicerone site recommends this book for a reason. Well written, easy to read, and very informative. If you are a beer nerd, or want to be, are starting to study for your certified beer server or cicerone this is the starting point. It doesn't read like a text book, it feels like you met someone super cool that knows a ton about beer and got to pick their brain.
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on August 25, 2015
This is a review for Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide... by Randy Mosher.

I purchased this book when I worked for a large macro-brewer in order to pass the Cicerone tests. This book is an absolute technical guide on how to understand and enjoy all kinds of beers. It has colorful commentary and excellent resources to help you understanding this delicious drink.

For all you wondering about how hard the Cicerone Test is, I passed the Cicerone Beer Server test with flying colors. It is time based and multiple choice. Questions will bounce around from ingredients, process oriented, taste, smell, draft system technique, and situational. If you have the access to pre-tests, take the pre-test about 10 times. Just keeping doing it over and over and over again, you will see questions if not the same, VERY similiar and you will know how to answer them.

Comment if you have any questions.
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