Another book that is among those which have made a big impact on me is Homebrewing for Dummies by Marty Nachel. This was the first book on homebrewing I ever got. My friend Scott and I started homebrewing together in 2007 and this was the book that we used to help guide us through those first few beers. My copy is worn and its pages are stained with wort. It may not be the best book on homebrewing, but it was the one that got me into the craft and I still use it as a reference.
Nachel does a great job making the process and ingredients accessible to someone who has never brewed before. He takes the brewer through homebrewing their first kit beer, all the way through to becoming an advanced all-grain brewer. I used this book a lot when I wanted to step up the level of complexity and control in my process. For that, it was an invaluable resource.
The middle section of the book is full of a wide variety of recipes covering almost all the major beer styles. Anytime I wanted to try a new beer, I started with the recipes he provided to get an idea of style parameters and ingredients used. Each style he covers in the book has three different variations, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, which allows brewers of all levels to experiment with brewing new beers. Most of the recipes are American Homebrewers Association competition winners.
Some of you know that I’m working on a book that uses homebrewing as a metaphor for Christian spirituality. One of the things that I took from Nachel is the implication that his readers will grow in the craft. He does not assume that homebrewers will stay beginners forever. His goal is to take someone with no brewing experience, get them brewing, and give them both a vision and a path for further growth. This is one of the things that I’ve found lacking in a lot of books on Christian spirituality. They are written for too narrow an audience, either catering to beginners or assuming too much experience.
My book will do for Christian spirituality what Nachel’s does for homebrewing. It will take someone with little or no exposure to Christian spirituality and introduce them to some ideas and practices while giving a vision for what those things might look like further on in one’s journey. It won’t be the last book on spirituality that someone will need, but it could become a great reference!
If you’re interested in homebrewing, Nachel’s book is worth a look. It has a permanent spot on my shelf and I still get it out almost every time I brew, just in case I need to look something up. If you’re wondering what homebrewing can teach us about spirituality, you’ll just have to wait for my book!