Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing (buy it on Amazon) is not your normal introductory homebrewing book. I’m a little sad that it took me this long to get around to reading it. It should be the second or third homebrewing book you pick up after How to Brew or Complete Joy of Homebrewing.
Not So Radical Brewing
The biggest difference between Radical Brewing and other homebrew texts like How to Brew or Complete Joy of Homebrewing is that Radical Brewing dispenses with most of the brewing. The basics of how to make your own beer are only briefly touched upon. There is enough info here to get you through your first few batches. Mosher also presents bits of more advanced info, though you’ll likely want to add another brewing text to your library before advancing too far in the hobby.
Styles for Days
Instead of focusing on the mechanics of making beer, Mosher focuses on styles and the more advanced brewing techniques they require. Styles make up the largest section, and nearly a majority, of the book. Radical Brewing covers any style you want and plenty of styles you’ve never heard of. The author provides an intro to the style, what makes it unique, how to brew it, and recipes for many of the styles.
Mosher uses many brown boxes to present sidebar information about the styles, recipes, techniques or ingredients. Shown below is from the chapter on fruit beers with a sidebar about various citrus fruits along with two recipes. This is pretty typical for the style chapters.
Radical Brewing (buy it on Amazon) contains a lot more than just styles, recipes, and special ingredients. There are multiple chapters throughout covering advanced homebrewing or homebrew associated activities. There is a full chapter just for meads covering the various styles and how to make them yourself. Want to grow your own hops or malt your own grain? Chapter 16 will teach you how. Interested in how they did things 400 years ago? That’s in chapter 17, covering lots of historic styles from Gruit to Sahti and Kentucky Common. There’s even a section on starting your own homebrew club with club activities to learn more about the hobby.
Who Is This Book For?
This isn’t the first book a new homebrewer should buy. Depending on how scientifically minded you are either How to Brew (more scientifically minded) or Complete Joy of Homebrewing (more relaxed and less scientific) would be better suited for their very first book.
I think Radical Brewing (buy it on Amazon) would be great for the homebrewer who is 10 or 15 batches in, has mastered the basics, and is looking for new and interesting beers to get into.