The American Craft Beer Cookbook ~ John Holl

  • Title: The American Craft Beer Cookbook
  • Author: John Holl
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Net Galley ARC
  • Reviewed by: Valerie
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Description:  The pleasure of going to the local pub or craft brewery for a pint and a delicious meal can now be recreated at home with John Holl’s collection of 175 recipes that all taste amazingly great with beer. From pub grub and barbecue to regional specialties and even breakfast fare, many of these dishes use beer as an ingredient, and all of them can be paired with your favorite brews. The recipes were contributed by brew pubs, craft brewers, and other beer lovers across the United States, and you’ll love the new twists on traditional favorites, such as Slow-Cooked Dopple Bock BBQ Meatballs or Chicken Wings with Bacon BBQ Sauce, as well as wildly unexpected recipes like Beermosas, Beer Ice Cream Floats, and Chocolate Jefferson Stout Cupcakes. Holl even includes 12 recipes for brewing your own beer at home.

Review:  This is a bit of a departure for me to review a cookbook, as I typically review fiction. However, being a bit of a foodie and a total beer snob, I was eager to get an advanced look at this title and throw in my two cents. I got to opportunity to get my hands on a digital advanced review copy through Net Galley.

My first impression is that the images in the book are stunning. Does this say anything about the content of book? Not really, but in a way it does. It says to me that this book is a labor of love and someone put in the effort to do it right. Oddly, the cover presented on the ARC is only so-so, considering the quality of the imagery throughout the book. My main problem with the cover is that the visual impact says “super bowl party,” whereas the contents of book cater to the connoisseur.

Don’t let the premise of this book fool you. The author may be sharing recipes from brew pubs, but they are far from standard pub fare. The result is that the beer suggestions AND the recipes both have true foodie appeal. From breakfast to dessert, sauces to side dishes, the book covers all of your major dining categories. Some of the recipes use craft beer as in ingredient, but many are just a great compliment a tasty brew.

There are so many recipes that sound great, but here are a few that really make me salivate:

  • Beer-mosa – just as it sounds, a spin-off of the popular mimosa replacing champagne with beer
  • Bourbon Sweet Potato Tarts with Imperial Stout Sauce
  • Arrogant Bastard Ale Avocado Tacos
  • Curried Pumpkin Chicken Soup
  • Imperial Meat Pie
  • Truffled Potatoes – they had me at truffle
  • Pale Ale Pineapple Brown Sugar Cupcakes

The layout of the book is both visually appealing and easy to digest. Each recipe has information that is distinctive, so you can tell whether it is an ingredient list, instructions, beer suggestions, or general information about the recipe and/or brewer. The beer suggestions are particularly nice, offering specific brand suggestions as well as broad categories for each recipe. The profiles for the brewers/brewpubs provide great information providing in a witty tone of voice.

The book ends with some great reference information for the craft beer lover. The reference to all of the brewers and chefs featured in the book provides and easy way for readers to look up their favorite beer and recipes when travelling. There is also a fun road trips section, although a true craft beer travel guide could fill volumes. The beer festival list is a bit weak, there are SO many festivals and so few referenced in the list. I was hoping to see a recipe index included in the back of the book, fingers crossed that they include one in the final version that goes to press.

This is the first cookbook in a long time to peak my interest. These days, I am much more likely to look online for cooking ideas. The American Craft Beer Cookbook appeals to more than just my inner culinary genius, it also engages my interest in craft beer. The book has enough also has enough visual appeal to become a coffee table book, rather than just being relegated to my cookbook shelf. The suggested price of $23.95 is a great value.

*DISCLAIMER: This book was provided to me at no cost by the publisher as an advanced review copy through Net Galley.*