Booksale Bounty: The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook

I picked this up at Booksale in SM Megamall a month or so ago, for the ridiculously low price of P215 (see larger image below). This is a steal considering the cover price was at $24.95.

According to his web page, and the biography on the inside back cover, author John Schlimm is a scion of the Straub Brewery family, one of the oldest in the United States. The book was recognized as Best Beer Book in the United States, and in the World, by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2009.

This cookbook is expansive, to say the least – including chapters on sauces, dips, appetizers, all the common types of proteins, desserts, and even beer-based cocktails. My only problem, however, is that the recipes only call for beer. They don’t suggest the best beer style to use for a certain dish based on how the flavors and textures will interplay. I think in that sense, this book is severely lacking, but a cursory knowledge of beer styles and food pairing would fill in a lot of the holes. A lot of beers are quite safe to use for cooking – hefeweizens, pilseners, porters and dry stouts, for instance, because of their versatility.

The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook also packs a lot of beer history, trivia and even quotes and proverbs. I’d say it’s relatively well-researched, insofar as the Google and Wikipedia Age goes. The classic example I give of not checking one’s sources when it comes to beer is the aphorism attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” The man on the hundred-dollar bill made no such statement. Otherwise, there are a lot of fun wisecracks and even tidbits of wisdom from comedians and artists to philosophers such as Plato and Homer (Simpson, that is).

I’d say that all in all, this Cookbook is worth the price I paid for it, but probably not for the actual cover price. It provides a lot of base recipes that are easy to follow, but not a lot of help when it comes to kitchen technique, choosing beers to use for cooking, and even creativity. I’ve used a handful of the recipes in this book as “bases,” which I modified accordingly to fit my taste.

To be honest, what I expect from a beer cookbook is the advice from the beer styles. Beer is such a versatile ingredient that it can replace water or wine in practically any dish. Plus, the number of beer-based recipes available online for free is growing. There are a number of beer-centric cooking blogs, as well as recipe portions on popular forums such as Beer Advocate and CraftBeer.com. Check out my links to see some of them, or do what I do, just Google! Anytime I get an idea for a recipe, I just google the name of the dish and add the word “beer.” Most of the time, something comes up, along with comments on whether the recipe works or how to improve it.

That said, I’m happy with this purchase, especially I quite literally just gave up the value of one craft beer. It’s a sacrifice, but well worth it.

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