This book actually began its life as an outline for a two-day class I teach for the Siebel Institute in Chicago. The course was intended as an immersive introduction to the world of beer, created for both beer industry professionals and amateur enthusiasts with no advanced training in beer.  

Chapter 1 starts with a definition of beer and gives a sweeping history from its very beginnings, the book covers 10,000 years of beer, right up through the current craft beer revolution.

Chapter 2 deals with the tasting process itself, and covers our sensory systems and its limitations.

Chapter 3 covers ingredients, brewing and fermentation, and how together they contribute to beer flavor. Along the way are detailed notes on the many tastes and aroma compounds found in beer and their origins in the brewing process.

Chapter 4 discusses the metrics of beer such as alcohol, bitterness and gravity, and the units of measure for these attributes.

Chapter 5 provides practical detail about the tasting and judging process, offering tips for both organization and participation.

Chapter 6 discusses the many ways beer may be served, stored and presented, including tastings, dinners, glassware and more.

Chapter 7 is all about beer and food, and offers solid principles that can easily be applied to enhance the beer and food experience.

The remainder of the book is devoted to beer styles, first with some general comments about what defines each style and how they have evolved, and covers all the major classic world styles as well as emerging trends in a quickly-developing global beer market. 

With its structured information, easy-to digest writing style and rich visual appeal, Tasting Beer has become the go-to guide for everyone who wants to take their beer knowledge up a level or two, and is a recommended text for those pursuing a Cicerone certification. It is also the only book on beer recommended by the International Court of Wine Sommeliers. 


For everyone who has known the pleasure of a pint, Randy Mosher explores and explains the tasting experience, guiding readers to a better understanding of how every batch of beer is affected by recipe formulation, brewhouse procedures, yeasts, fermentations, carbonation, filtration, packaging, and much more. Readers will learn to identify the scents, colors, flavors, and mouth-feel of all the major beer styles. There are also chapters on proper serving and storage conditions, and classic beer and food pairings. Finally, the book includes a style-by-style compendium of the different brews within major beer families, including American craft brews, British lagers, German ales, and Belgian Dubbels. For each style, Mosher includes historical and regional facts, taste and aroma characteristics, seasonal availability, food pairings, and a few terrific recommendations for readers to sample.


Stan Heironymous' Appellation Beer (One of the best beer blogs around, Stan is also a writer of the highest caliber. His books are highly recommended by me. 

Powell's City of Books Review-A-Day


Beer of Tomorrow's review of the Inkling electronic version



Foreword by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery


Chapter 1: The Story of Beer

            What is Beer?

            Beer in Context

            A Widespread Product

            Diet and Nutrition

            A Cultural Property

            A Little Beer History

Chapter 2: Sensory Evaluation

            Physiology and Psychology

            Why Taste Beer?

            Various Formats for Tastings

            The Sense of Taste

            Aroma and Olfaction


            Psychological Factors


            Tasting Techniques

Chapter 3: Brewing and the Vocabulary of Beer Flavor

            Why Should You Care?

            Malting and Malt types

            Mashing and Lautering

            Boiling and Hops

            Wort Chilling

            Yeast and Fermentation

            Post Fermentation


            A word about Real Ale


            The Flavor Wheel

Chapter 4: The Qualities of Beer

            By the Numbers or Not?

            Original Gravity









Chapter 5: Tasting, Judging, and Evaluation

            The Tasting Environment

            Tasting Glasses

            Tasting Procedures

            Tips for a Great Tasting

Chapter 6: Presenting Beer

            Serving and Storing Beer

            Ideal Conditions

            Checklist for a Well-Served Beer

            Serving Temperature

            A Proper Pour

            Beer Glasses Through History

            The Physics of Glassware

            Which Glass for Which Beer?

            Storing Beer

            Ideas for Beer Tastings

Chapter 7: Beer and Food

            Why Beer & Food?

            A Fail-Proof Pairing Plan

            Beer with Various Types of Food

            Staging a beer Dinner

Chapter 8: Anatomy of a Style

            Why Have Styles?

            The Forces Behind Beer Styles

            Elements of a Style

            When styles don’t matter

Chapter 9: British Ales

Chapter 10: The Lager Family

Chapter 11: Europe: Continental Ales, Weissbiers, and Ale-Lager Hybrids

Chapter 12: The Beers of Belgium

Chapter 13: Craft Beer

Chapter 14: A Sip Beyond

            Further Reading on Beer Styles, Flavors, History, and More

            A Glossary of Beer and Brewing Terms


When I met Randy Mosher he was coming at me with a hammer in his hand and a maniacal smile on his face. It was at Chicago’s Real Ale Festival in 1998 and he was helping prepare casks of unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated real ale for serving.  

His enthusiasm was infectious, as lively as the beers contained in those casks.  I have gotten to know Randy better and better in the last five years as we both serve on the board of directors of the Brewer’s Association. He earned his seat at the table representing the American Homebrewer’s Association – but in time it became apparent that his perspective, knowledge, and passion encompassed the whole wide world of beer: pro, amateur, enthusiast and beyond.  Randy is a true beer evangelist. In this book, and in all aspects of his beer-soaked life, he is saving souls one pint at a time.

The brewing industry is altruistic and mutually supportive to a degree I have never seen in traditional business segments. That’s probably because we know that we almost lost the vibrancy and diversity of our American beer culture and we are fighting hard to never let that happen again. At its low-point in the 1970s America had less than 100 commercial breweries, mostly making slightly different versions of generic light lager. Today there are over 1400 commercial brewers in America, hundreds of thousands of homebrewers, and millions of hardcore beer enthusiasts. While I’m proud of the accomplishments of my professional brewing brethren it’s really this last group who has carried the day. Without large marketing budgets small brewers are succeeding only because a growing number of beer lovers have gotten behind our efforts and educated themselves on 1) what makes a great beer, 2) where to find them and 3) how best to enjoy them.  

Tasting Beer tackles beer with just enough technical and scientific information to explain the experience but not so much that the beer-novice feels overwhelmed. Randy doesn’t preach his personal preferences here. He celebrates the fact that our individual palates are as unique as snowflakes. If we all liked the same beer there would only be one style that worked for everyone, and well, we’ve been there. Tasting Beer is like many fine books bound together.  Beer history? It’s in here. The science of brewing, the disciplines of tasting and evaluation, beer styles, food and beer, beer terminology—it’s ALL in here. It’s an imperial pint full of knowledge as Randy’s cup runneth over. I am hopeful that Tasting Beer will find a home with professionals in addition to beer enthusiasts. I can think of no better single tool for brewers, bartenders, sommeliers, chefs, salespeople and everyone else in the beer trade for enhancing their beer IQ. 

Despite the fact that beer’s history is as ancient as wine’s and that there are more styles of beer with more different ingredients leading to more flavors than wine, beer still considered a less complex beverage by too many foodies and connoisseurs. Randy helps to dispel this myth in Tasting Beer. Much of the beer sold throughout the world is some slight variation on the light lager style, but Randy points out that centuries before the Reinheitgebot, beers were being brewed with diverse ingredients such as honey, bog myrtle, cranberries, and coriander. Craft breweries today have reinvigorated this ancient tradition of spices, herbs, sugars, and fruits and more. Randy gives equal time to all the diverse, exciting beers that drinkers are trading up to, both the exotic eccentrics as well as the popular classic styles. As international beer culture evolves, the brewers of these exciting craft beers are achieving growth and recognition disproportionate to that of the industrial, conglomerate light beer producers.  In reading this book it is easy to see why.   Beer culture is tremendously diverse, distinguished, and nuanced. As Randy writes, “Like any art beer needs a proper context to be compelling.” Tasting Beer gives us this context in spades.  Drink up as you read up on the world’s most storied and beloved adult beverage.  Cheers.

Sam Calagione, Owner, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and author of Brewing Up a Business, Extreme Brewing, and He Said Beer She Said Wine.

In addition to the original English-language version, Tasting Beer has been published in Italian and Simplified Chinese. Versions in Spanish, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Japanese are in the works.

We are currently seeking publishers in other languages, so if you are associated with a publisher of wine or beer books, cookbooks or similar topics, please contact me we can put you in touch with the appropriate person at Storey Publications: tina.parent@storey.com .
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Original edition (February 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603420894
ISBN-13: 978-1603420891
Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds