Sean Lewis, author of WE MAKE BEER: Inside the Spirit and Artistry of America’s Craft Brewers

WeMakeBeer-sm

 

TasteTV chats with Sean Lewis, author of “WE MAKE BEER: Inside the Spirit and Artistry of America’s Craft Brewers.”

As the publisher describes, “Sean Lewis sets out on a cross-country journey into the heart—and the art—of American beer making. On the road, Lewis discovered a passionate community of people who put their souls into their work and who view brewing as an extension of themselves. Although diverse on the surface, Lewis found that these like-minded craftsmen were united by common values: they’re people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, who see their competitors as cherished friends, who take joy in their work and who seek the same kind of balance in their lives as they do in the barrels they brew.”

 

SeanLewis-makebeer

TasteTV: Apparently you love beer, what started the love affair?

SEAN: I liked beer about as much as every college kid did, but I really fell in love with it once I started brewing it. My girlfriend, now my wife, bought me a home brew kit for Christmas during our first year in Boston together, and the more I researched and read about beer the more it made me want to try all these things that sounded so amazing. It helped to be living in a great beer city like Boston where so many great beers from all around the world were available.

TasteTV: What was the point of writing a book?

SEAN: I had been profiling brewers and breweries for BeerAdvocate Magazine on a monthly basis, but I kept running into issues trying to keep my pieces to 1,200 words. There was so much more to the people I was covering than the constraints of a magazine article allowed me to explore, so this was an opportunity to dive deeper into the backgrounds and stories of the people in the industry.

TasteTV: How long did it take to complete?

SEAN: The process began in 2010, I got the deal with St. Martin’s Press in November of 2011 and it was published in 2014 — so about four years.

TasteTV: So what do you want the reader to come away with after finishing it?

SEAN: Whatever anybody gets from this is up to them. I hope they enjoy it and I hope it makes them consider going out to their local brewery or beer spot for a drink.

TasteTV: What are some of your favorite types of beer?

SEAN: I can never answer this question. For the most part, I like beer to be well-balanced and well-made. Sometimes I like a beer that’s going to challenge me and draw me in with layer after layer of nuanced flavors and aromas — but typically I just want something that’s going to taste great and let me get on with my day. I love drinking beer, but I love drinking beer with friends. The best beers are the ones that pair nicely with a good conversation.

TasteTV: Who is doing exciting things in the craft beer area, in your opinion?

SEAN: My West Coast bias is going to come out here, but I’ll say Firestone Walker Brewing in Paso Robles and Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma and Chicago are exciting for two different reasons. I love Lagunitas’ beers, but what I find fascinating about Lagunitas is how it moved into Chicago with a second production facility that, for now, is on a constant course of growth. I’m curious to see just how big craft beer can get in America, and I think Lagunitas will be among the biggest of the craft brewers in the next decade — probably sooner.
As for Firestone Walker, it is also growing, but certainly slower than Lagunitas. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson has been making some of the best beer in the country for several years now, and that brewery has a bright future as long as he’s a part of it.

TasteTV: Are there any developments in the field that you find very exciting?

SEAN: There are always trends to keep up with. A while back it was a hops arms race with who could make the most bitter beer. We’ve seen similar things with barrel-aging and now a lot of breweries are experimenting with making so-called wild beers with different strains of yeasts and bacteria. None of that stuff really gets me too jacked up. I’m more excited to see the development of young brewers and I get excited about seeing smaller local breweries making good beer and a little bit of money.

TasteTV: Do you have advice for anyone wanting to get in the business?

SEAN: If someone wanted to get into brewing, they should talk with their local brewer. I’d tell them to start brewing at home as well. If they don’t like the work and cleanup that home brewing entails, they’re going to hate getting into tanks to scrub off residual proteins and they’re probably not going to like spending the better part of their morning with a hose and a squeegee.

TasteTV: What about tips for those who just want to drink?

SEAN: Polonius said it best: “To thine own self be true.” Don’t let me or anybody else tell you what to drink. Definitely get out there and educate yourself on what you’re drinking and what’s available in your area — but don’t take a writer’s word about what you should be drinking. Drink what you like.

 

See We Make Beer on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein authors new wine guide, Wines of South America

SA Book Cover art

 

Wine expert and author Evan Goldstein has a brand new guidebook out, called the Wines of South America, currently available in stores and on Amazon.com

Evan Goldstein is a Master Sommelier, and President and Chief Education Officer of Full Circle Wine Solutions, Inc. in San Francisco. He is the author of Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food and Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs, both published by UC Press.

Q: Evan, how many books on wine have you authored so far?

evan-goldsteinEvan Goldstein:  This is my third book with UC Press (the other two being ‘Perfect Pairings’ and ‘Daring Pairings’, two works on pairing wine with food) and I did a service book (now out of print) some years back

Q: South America is a gigantic continent, how long did it take you to research this book?

Evan Goldstein:  Well, off and on, it was over a 7-8 year period but the specific book centric focus was onsite (e.g. in South America over 5-6 weeks in 2012/3 and, via a series of good friends/embedded emissaries, if you will, over a year and a half more. And my own research spanned over 2 years (2012-2013)

Q: How do you categorize the wines, by country or varietal?

Evan Goldstein:  The book is organized, after the introductory chapters which cover off on continental history and a compendium of grapes found across the continent, by country with five core chapters- Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and a compilation chapter covering off on Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela, This is followed by a series of chapters on subjects ranging from traveling in South American wine country, dining locally, and a series of recommended wines via a series of ‘top 10’ lists….

Q: What do you think is most important for the reader to take away from using this guide book?

Evan Goldstein:  That South America is undervalued and underappreciated given its significance as a global wine producing continent (2nd most impactful, as a continent, after Europe). Also, that there’s much more to South America than the good-value entries made by a small number of higher visibility producers. Chile and Argentina are in their defining 3.0’s, if you will, and Brazil and Uruguay have yet to get their real day in the sun, until now!

Q: You have photos and maps. Did you take the photos?

Evan Goldstein:  The photos and maps were done by professionals (unlike me!) who have a keen sensibility about the regions they shot in. A big shout out to Matt Wilson, with five photos in the book, and whose work adorns the cover…the maps, serveral of which didn’t exist before this book, were all custom cartographed.

Q: What are some of your favorite South American wines?

Evan Goldstein:  Ahh—for that you’ll need to refer to my ‘top 10’s on pages 265-272!

Q: Any pairings you suggest?

Evan Goldstein:  Well, unlike my first two books with UC Press this one is not a specific paring book. That said, a few can’t misses—great beef (a staple of Argentina, Southern Brazil and Uruguay) with the robust reds of their respective countries (Malbec and Malbec blends (Argentina); Tannat and Tannat blends (Uruguay) and varied rich reds from across Brazil)—Peruvian takes of ceviche with Chilean Sauvignon Blancs, especially those from San Antonio and coastal Casablanca; traditional Argentinean empanadas (filled with meat, olives, raisins, and hard boiled eggs) with Torrontés (really); and any of the fried Brazilian pasteis (savory croquettes) served with, what else, Brazilian bubbly!

Need a Dress? Author Erin Mckean Has About 100

100_Dresses

100 DRESSES

Erin McKeanAuthor Erin McKean has a thing about dresses, in particular, for iconic dress styles. That’s why she has recently released her new book on the topic, “THE HUNDRED DRESSES: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time (Bloomsbury).”

Says Erin, “I spend way, way too much time thinking about dresses — not just how they look, but how they make their wearers feel. After blogging about dresses for so many years (since 2005, which is like the Pleistocene, in blogger time) I wanted to collect all my favorite dress ‘types’ in one place. And of course, the Eleanor Estes book has always been a favorite, so I wanted to pay it a bit of homage with the title.”

The Breakfast at TiffanysErin recounts how the project itself took about six months of work, and 1 year of planning with the illustrator, Donna Mehalko. Apparently this was not too long. Says Donna, “For me this was a dream project. I happily researched and worked on the drawings for the book over the course of a year. I researched by sourcing as many  images  in books, magazines and online that I could find that related to the list of dresses Erin had given me.  My goal was to illustrate the dresses, but also, I  wanted to capture a person I thought would wear each dress. Her attitude and gesture.” She adds, “It was our editor Nancy Miller’s idea to use illustrations for the book. Illustrations allowed for specificity but not necessarily an exact depiction of any dress. I think there is some room for the reader’s imagination.”

 

The Classic Party Dress

The dresses have a variety of names, ranging from the Bandage to the Sack, the Baby-doll to the Siren; the Wench; the Sari; the Vreeland; the Wrap; the Austen; the Beckham; the Chanel; the Ingenue; the Caftan; the Jackie; the Slip Dress; and the Biohazard. On the naming protocol, Mckean says, “The dresses named themselves. That was one of the tests for iconicity — if I couldn’t describe the dress in a few words and have someone (preferably someone who wasn’t a dress-lover) know what it was, then it wasn’t really an iconic dress. It’s funny — Jennifer Lopez has probably worn thousands of dresses in her career, but when I said ‘The J.Lo dress’ people knew instantly that I meant the green plunging number from the Grammys! And when I say ‘the Space Empress’ people can picture that, too.”

The Bond GirlDespite her large variety of choices, the style she personally wears most often is dirndl-style dress (close-fitting bodice and full skirt). “I’m also a huge fan of the June Cleaver. I like a big full skirt — easy to move in, and you can wear them while riding a bike.”

 

 

EXCERPTED FROM THE SEPIA REPORT

The Flashdance