Beer scout: The pint in print

FILLING A NICHE: Homebrew Beyond the Basics is for homebrewers who have been brewing for a couple of years. Photo courtesy of Sterling Publishing

Two new books sure to satisfy homebrewers and beer lovers

I could say that Mike Karnowski’s book, Homebrew Beyond the Basics, is easily the best brewing book of the year. Then again, I was his editor.  

But ask anyone who’s been to Dirty Jack’s since Karnowski took over brewing the specialty beers (everything that’s not the flagships and seasonals in bottles) and you’re sure to hear the same thing: The man can brew. From Maceo, one of the area’s best sour beers, to hopped-up creations like Zero Dank Thirty and Storm Trooper, he brews some of Green Man’s most anticipated beers. Oh, and he ran a homebrew store in Louisiana for more than a decade, so he’s well-versed in the common questions of homebrewing as well. 

“I’ve been brewing and helping other people brew for more than 25 years,” says Karnowski. “This book is the distillation of everything I’ve learned. … It’s fun for me after all this time to pass on some of this knowledge, to pay it forward.”

In short, Karnowski created the first book to provide a step-by-step, full-color tutorial for a variety of next-level processes from kegging to brewing sour and wood-aged beers. “There was a gap in the book world for the intermediate homebrewer,” says Karnowski. “There are a lot of books that start from scratch, and there are also the advanced chemistry books. But there’s not a lot out there for folks brewing just a couple years. There was a niche to fill.”

Even if you don’t brew, the next new release is certain to inspire a road trip: Beer Lover’s the Carolinas. The author, Daniel Hartis, is a familiar name. He runs the popular website and is the author of Charlotte Beer. However, he got his start writing about beer in Asheville. “My first craft beer experience came when I wrote a piece on the local breweries for the UNC Asheville Blue Banner,” says Hartis. “I visited a few of them, and Highland’s Oatmeal Porter is something I still remember as part of that discovery [of craft beer].” 

In Beer Lover’s, Hartis set out with a more ambitious goal than his UNCA days: to cover all the craft breweries in North and South Carolina by region. Together with photographer Eric Gaddy, Hartis went a step beyond phoning it in and actually visited them all. “I wanted it to be as genuine a guide as possible,” says Hartis. “People joke that it was a dream job, but the reality was that you have to get up pretty early and visit a bunch of breweries in one day to get a project like this done.”

Yet he made it happen, and in the book he offers an authentic travel guide complete with insights about the taprooms, notable beers and, of course, plenty of photos. So what does he recommend for someone in Asheville looking for a daytrip? “You have a lot of options, but I would check out Greenville and Spartanburg. Quest is producing some great beers down there, Swamp Rabbit just opened, and you can hit larger breweries like RJ Rockers and Thomas Creek as well,” says Hartis. 


About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is a writer, book editor and homebrewer. Twitter: @thomohearn

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