5 beers with…. Marty Nachel

In 2006 my father turned 50. As a present I gave him a big box filled with all kinds of bottles of beer. I also added the book Beer for Dummies and made sure that the styles in the box were mentioned in the book. Before I closed the box however I read the book myself. 10 years ago I knew a little, but was more a Dummy than I am now. Two years ago while at his deathbed I looked into a bookcase and saw the book again. I never knew if he really finished the book, but I know he looked some things up, which is how the book was intended to be used anyway.

Earlier this year I came across the book again. My knowledge of beer has expanded greatly but I wanted to reread the book again. What I noticed is that this wasn’t exactly the same book as I read then, and this turned out to be right.

So I went looking for the author of the book, Marty Nachel, and asked him 5 questions. I also asked him to name 5 desert-island-beers. He is the first guest in my hopefully long-lasting series: 5 Beers with…

1.   You wrote Beer for Dummies. The First edition was from 1996, we are now almost twenty years later and I guess you have written new editions. Is the latest one still comparable to the first with all the changes that happened?

“When I was negotiating the 2nd edition with my publisher, I had to guarantee that I would produce 25% all-new material, as well as update all the material from the previous edition.

There is one section of the new edition of Beer For Dummies that is almost all new material.  In it, I cover topics such as Real Ale (cask ale from the UK), Barrel-aging Beer, “Extreme” Beer (high alcohol beer and beer with odd ingredients), and Organic, Gluten-free and Kosher beer.  I hadn’t covered any of these before.”

2.    Of all the innovations in beer the last decades, which two do you like the most?

“I’m a big fan of wood-aged beers.  I like all the various flavors that are imparted by the previous alcohol in the barrel (bourbon, wine, rum, tequila, etc.)

I also like the re-introduction of old and sometimes forgotten styles, such as Gose, Gratzer, Kottbusser, etc.  Even if I don’t care for the taste of the beer style, I appreciate the fact that they revived it.”

Beer pairing: Ballast Point Sculpin’ IPA

3.    And which two you could have done without?

“I’m really not a fan of some of the flavors they are introducing with the use of a “Randall”, especially if they involve candy.

Although I like the concept of collaboration between brewers, I think it’s being done so much here in the U.S., that it really doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

Beer Pairing: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

4.    You also wrote Homebrewing for Dummies. Which of the two books gets you the most response?

“I get more response from Homebrewing for Dummies.  The most rabid and passionate beer fans tend to be homebrewers, so that’s where most of the attention comes from.”

Beer Pairing: Rodenbach Grand Cru

5.    What do you know about the emerging Dutch craft beer scene? Do you have any favorite brewers/beers already?

“I regret to say that I know very little about the Dutch craft beer scene.  Honestly, right now I have trouble keeping up with what is going on in the Chicago area (where I live), much less what is going on across the U.S.  Foreign beer markets are exactly that- foreign.  Until the beers produced elsewhere show up on my retailer’s shelves or on my local publican’s taps, I’m mostly unfamiliar with them.”

Beer Pairing: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

So brewers of Holland, you know what to do, get your beer to the beautiful city of Chicago!


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