Yes, beer matching is a thing. Beer Bites [RRP $45] by Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker is pitched at the home beer enthusiast, with plenty of beer consumption tips. Trust me when I say: you won’t ask for a pub-chilled schooner glass after reading this book. Recipes, like Duck Carnitas Nachos featuring duck legs braised in orange peel and malty Mexican beer, are each matched to a series of beers, including, in this case, Negra Modelo. Slight gripe: this book is relentlessly American so you probably won’t be able to locate the exact beer matches, however they do break down the brews into categories like Crisp & Clean or Sour & Complex so you can apply much of the content to your favourite local craft brews. Many of the recipes are not photographed, so if you like using cookbooks to visualise the result, this one probably isn’t for you.
As a sake enthusiast, I picked up Hideo Dekura’s Sake [RRP $35] with enthusiasm. The hardcover book begins by cataloguing Japan’s top 28 sake brewers – which is probably only interesting to those who buy sake, as it includes bottle images and somewhat eccentric tasting notes. While you might still be scratching your head at what a “calm fragrance and pure crisp taste that gives you a sense of a quiet, snow-covered sake factory” actually means in flavour terms, the book does strike me as very Japanese. The latter half is taken up in recipes, from beautifully photographed Lobster Sashimi (starting with a live lobster) to the somewhat less appetising Slimy Mackerel Sushi in a Box. Perhaps one for the true sake enthusiast?