Sláinte – The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider by @IrishBeerSnob
In this modern age, the availability of information, is huge. We can all browse the internet now using our smart phones, searching for things through Google, and most of the time be overwhelmed with the amount of information that comes back to us. This is common with any subject. But when the subject is Craft Beer and Cider, there is so much information available, some of which is so contradictory that it totally perplexes us. All we are trying to is inform ourselves a little bit more.
This is why Sláinte is such a welcome light in the darkness of confusion that often surrounds Craft Beer & Cider. The problem is this; there are so many opinions out there it’s hard to figure out just what’s fact or fiction. But most of the time, it’s the terminology that confuses us. It serves to feed the common misconceptions around craft beer and cider. But more importantly it does so in a fiendish way.
“A good craft beer or cider is something to savour, just like a good glass of wine. You don’t need to be an expert, but you’d be surprised how even just a little knowledge about beer – from its ingredients or history to understanding its appearance, aroma, taste and texture – will increase your enjoyment of it.”
This book is a lovely hardback book, that wouldn’t look out of place on a coffee table, or even sat on the bar in the pub. Split into four parts, Savour, Match, Cook, and Last Call, it makes Sláinte an easy to pick up book, but very hard to put down.
‘Savour’ brings us to the conversation of what beer is, the history of beer in Ireland and profiles on Ireland’s Beer & Cider makers. Hugely informative, and written in an easy to understand manner, it covers the ingredients, how it’s made, the different styles and how to savour beer. What I love particularly about this section, is the content is easy to digest, whether you’re an avid craft beer drinker or not, you will pick up things in this section
‘Match’ brings us to guidelines on matching food with Beer or Cider. For years wine lovers have told us there are so many great ways to match wine to food, however, more and more places are now seeing how versatile beer and cider can be with food. You only need to think of all the various styles of beer to understand just how there is a beer for every conceivable food. More importantly this section implores you to try this at home. Giving you suggested beer styles for lots of different foods.
‘Cook’, as the name suggests is a collection of recipes from a wide variety of chefs, food bloggers, and from the authors themselves. Don’t make the same mistake I did and be reading this particular part of the book while hungry. Some of the recipes are a tantalising prospect and I am personally looking forward to trying these over the coming months. The important thing here is, the beer or cider are not just accompaniments, they are ingredients for the food. Those Double Chocolate Porter Brownies are without doubt the nicest, moist brownies I have ever tasted.
‘Last Call’ is a listing of the various online resources available should you want to find out more about the world of craft beer and cider in Ireland. There is also a very helpful glossary included which simply explains some of the jargon that unfortunately is present in the craft beer world.
The authors of this book, Caroline Hennessy, and Kristin Jensen have taken on an extremely divisive subject and brought it to us in an easily digestible go-to reference, that will become a fountain of knowledge for those interested in learning more. Both have brought to bear their experiences and have put together what I can only describe as a quintessential piece to the craft beer and cider conversation. Sláinte go lear. It is truly is an important piece of work on this very current topic of interest in Ireland.
The book is published by New Island and is available in all good bookshops, several of the independent off licences stock it, and is priced at €19.99.
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From IPAs, to Stouts, to everything in between. Wayne is a passionate advocate for Craft Beer and Cider in Ireland. He regularly features in online publications and podcasts, as well as writing with his wife on www.irishbeersnob.com. Wayne’s aim is to kick down the doors of convention surrounding Craft Beer and Cider by writing in a no nonsense style. Drawing on his experiences of many different beers he is going to bring you on a journey that you’ll be asking yourself, why didn’t I join this revolution sooner?