Fall 2016 The Bookshelf

Beer Pairing by Julia Herz & Gwen Conley


The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros

“Only in the world of beer and food can 1+1=5,” said Julia Herz during her visit to Philadelphia this past May for the Craft Brewers Conference. “When you are dialed in to a great beer and food pairing that suits your palate, the experience is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a home run.”

It took Herz and co-author Gwen Conley three years to write their book, Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros. One book critic actually said that every meal you eat without this book is an opportunity lost.

Lots of book titles use the phrase “essential guide”. But whether you are a complete novice or an experienced food professional, this book really is an essential guide to maximizing your enjoyment of drinking beer with any food imaginable – from french fries to foie gras. This guide includes everything from planning a beer dinner to explaining why a bit of salt cuts bitterness, but enhances sweetness

But don’t let that last sentence intimidate you, the book is really fun. Think of it as a “beer and food tasting workbook” that takes you on a journey to understand why certain combinations of beer and food appeal to you. There is even an entire chapter devoted to that journey called ‘Palate Trips’.

This workbook-for-your-senses uses beer and food as educational props. But unlike the text books you used in grammar school, there is no right or wrong answer. “We each have the power to properly pair based on what is pleasing to our individual palates. Screw what anyone else says. If you like it or not, that’s what should carry the day,” said Herz in a recent interview. In other words, you won’t get an F in her class.

Herz and Conley are obviously passionate about beer, but they are also bona fide experts. Herz is the Craft Beer Program Director of the Brewers Association, an award-winning home brewer and Master Cicerone. Conley, a microbiologist by training, is the Director of Production and Quality Assurance at The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing in San Marcos, California. They teamed up to write their book after years of running public beer and food tastings together. Their goal is to elevate the appreciation of beer, and perhaps coax a wine sommelier, or two, into recommending beer with food. Yet the authors have another objective. “There is a cause behind this book beyond just advancing our beer culture,” Herz said. “The book is a labor of love. All the profits will be donated to The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Best Friends Animal Society.”

Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros is available at Amazon.com. It retails for $15.95.

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