I love to read and I love beer, so naturally I was really excited for the chance to review Adem Tepedelen’s latest book, The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits. (Lyons Press, 978-0-7627-9152-1; $19.95, Paperback). Tepedelen, known for his column “Brewtal Truth” in Decibel magazine, defines what makes certain craft beers “extremely extreme” and features descriptions and ratings of more than 100 insane beers from around the world. These beers are broken down into specific categories: Ingredients from Hell, Over-the-Top ABV, Tolerance-Testing IBUs, Blasphemous Brews, Drinking the Decrepit, and Under the Influence. In addition to hardcore beers, this book also profiles craft-beer loving metal musicians like Jean-Paul from Clutch, Brann Dailor from Mastodon and Richard Christy from Charred Walls of the Damned. The book also features Q&A with extreme craft brewers like Greg Koch from Stone, Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head and Adam Avery from Avery.
Tepedelen includes an explanation of extreme styles and what defines them. Each beer profiled in the book receives an “extreme” rating, tasting notes, information about the beer and what makes it extreme. As an added bonus, each beer comes with a musical pairing selected by Tepedelen himself. Packed within the pages are informational and entertaining sidebars detailing everything from how these beers are made to emerging trends in extreme brewing.
The two things I loved most about Tepedelen’s book were. One that he only picked beers that were widely available. “Some of the most incredible and extreme beers made in the world are, unfortunately, brewed in very small quantities or are one-offs that don’t get widespread distribution (or any distribution, if they’re being made in a brewpub). There was no sense in trying to include those beers. This book was meant to illuminate the ones that are made at least once a year (if not year-round) so you at least stand a chance of being able to purchase and try them for yourself.” There is nothing more frustrating than hearing about an amazing, new, weird beer only to find out that is costs the price of a plane ticket and is only available on the third blue moon of the year when the stars and planets align and only if you happen to be an O-negative blood type.
Second, that while Tepedelen focuses mostly on the extreme brewing process to get high IBUs and ABVs (something I’m not too personally invested in – I don’t have a good pucker face) he does spend some time talking about extreme ingredients, something I do fancy. I love when breweries play around with natural, local ingredients, “defying the German Beer Purity Law of 1516 with impunity.” Added to my tasting wish list thanks to Tepedelen is:
- Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
- Short’s Bloody Beer
- Epic’s Brainless on Peaches
- Unita’s Dubhe
- Twisted Pine’s Ghost Face Killah
- Jester King’s Gotlandsdricka
- Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s
- Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra
- Short’s Key Lime Pie
- Unita/Crooked’s Labyrinth
- Anchorage’s Love Buzz
- Birrificio del Ducato’s New Morning
- Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot
- HaandBryggeriet’s Norwegian Wood
- Hitachino Nest’s Red Rice Ale
Lucky for me, I’ve already tried two Portland brews mentioned in this chapter!
A little bit about the author: Adem Tepedelen won the Michael Jackson Beer Journalism award in late 2008 and then created “Brewtal Truth” beer column for Decibel magazine. This column has appeared in every issue since early 2009. He also writes about beer and metal for the magazine’s Deciblog website. He interviewed Metallica while he was in high school and has been featured in dozens of magazines and websites including RolligStone.com, Revolver, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Mojo, Warp, Alternative Press, Guitar World’s Metal Heroes and The Rocket. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Tepedelen now resides in Victoria, BC.
Interested in reading, The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits? Leave a comment with the most extreme beer you’ve ever had and what made it extreme and be entered to win a free copy of Adem Tepedelen’s The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits!
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