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Archive for the 'books' Category

Pirate Latitudes (Book Review)

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

It’s been years since I read a pirate novel or anything resembling an olden days seafaring yarn. Not too long ago I sat down and read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (mainly because his books always have a good pay-off at the end for the reader) and found a bit of a gem for the historic reader of my younger years. This novel is the story of Captain Edward Hunter, a privateer for the English Crown in the very early years of Port Royal. The thing that really made the book, though… Crichton’s pay-off at the very end. If you don’t want spoilers then don’t read any further. OK, you’ve been warned. This novel came from the book authored and published by Charles Hunter in 1666 Life Among the Privateers of the Carribean Sea. The last pages of Michael Crichton’s novel reveals the fates of major players and privateers in Port Royal and their story that led to a missing treasure still unfound to this day.

The simple fact at the time of the reading was that I thought this was just a swashbuckling adventure novel with elements that were too tall to be true tales. And, of course, given that it’s taken from Hunter’s own account of events there is no mistaking that he painted his life as a privateer (or pirate) with a more noble and honourable brush. And how do you criticise the version of a man who was the only survivor of a fight? In such times when a ship came to port they could easily say the battle was not to their advantage, they never picked the fight, and that all members of the other ship were lost to the sea. Drowned, or murdered? Who would know?

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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Book Review)

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Cover of Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski

As a home brewer with a couple of University degrees (BComp MBAS) and neither of them in chemistry my first comment about this book is “Holy fuck!”. This book being Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. No, seriously, this actually is as advertised… a comprehensive guide to the chemistry of water at all stages of the brewing process from the tap to the disposal of waste. It’s also a book that you can take from stage one of your brewing career through to building and running your own brewery on a commercial scale. So, I’m impressed. And I learned a lot… but it’s a tough read for the non-chemist.

So, from a home brewer’s perspective, I’m not sure exactly if you have to take the time to read Palmer’s book about water. But at the same time I know you’ll get a lot out of it if you can only wade through the highly complex explanations. I’d love to read another version – an edited university text book with side notes and diagrams. Not quite the Dummies Guide… but a graduates step into the concepts that build into the knowledge that makes water chemistry make sense.

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Session Beers (Book Review)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Session Beers by Jennifer Talley

Jennifer Talley is the brewmaster at Squatters Pub Brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah – a State where a 4 per cent ABV (Alcohol By Volume) limit is imposed on brewers as a legal constraint. For this reason alone, there should be no surprise that she was the go-to person to be asked to write this book about Session Beer: Brewing for Flavor and Balance. She’s an accomplished brewer, beer judge and competition winner with a career in creating and bringing to market consistently high quality low ABV beers that don’t knock you off the bar stool. Beers perfect for weddings and afternoons with your friends. Sessionable beers.

Of course, these session beers have been around for a long time in our society. The term might be more recent, but humans have been making highly consumable beers in this genre through history. Just be aware that a session beer isn’t merely low ABV, though. A session beer leaves nothing to hide behind when it comes to making errors. It’s extremely well made beer that you want to drink another and then another throughout the day (or night). And session beers are harder to make than might first appear to be the case. Alcohol, after all, contributes to the flavour of beer. Take away that mask and you better be sure of what you’re doing in the brewery.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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