Sat. Dec 10th, 2022

It was a Samuel Adams White Ale that first interested cartoonist Em Sauter in craft beer. That happened 16 years ago, and now she has combined her cartooning skills with her beer knowledge to publish a book Hooray for Craft Beer!

“It’s a book for everyone who loves beer,” Sauter says. “When I was at the Craft Brewers Conference, a lot of people were buying it for themselves but also for their brewery employees as an easy-to-digest, visual way to discuss beer with consumers. It’s for new beer geeks, it’s for people taking certifications for beer and it’s for beer lovers who want to celebrate and learn about beer in a fun way.”

Sauter says learning about beer can be difficult, so cartoons are a good way to educate a craft-beer audience.

“There are more than 100 different beer styles that can be brewed in a lot of different ways but still yield the same style,” she says. “If that’s not confusing enough, the brewing process can be incredibly dry, technical and scientific. Hooray for Craft Beer! strives to be easy to understand, accessible and accurate, so beer lovers won’t be intimidated about learning about their favorite beverage.”

Might some potential readers be turned off by a beer book consisting of cartoons?

“The book was published by Brewers Publications, the gold star in beer books, so beer geeks will understand that even though the book is whimsical and fun, it is something to take seriously,” Sauter says “Cartoons aren’t something to hide under the bed from your parents anymore. The world of graphic novels is a celebrated part of the world of literature, winning Pulitzer Prizes and having its own New York Times bestseller list. We’re thankfully passed the stigma that comic books rot your brain. Most of my readership is under 35, and, with young millennials and Gen Z growing up reading graphic novels in schools, Hooray for Craft Beer! will feel familiar to them.”

The book’s information about the brewing process and ingredients are “a great way” to explain to craft beer novices how beer is made, Sauter says. “Beer can be complicated with a lot of science, so seeing a smiling hop jump into a boil kettle may seem goofy, but it also teaches you about isomerization,” she says.

For craft beer experts, the beer style section is an excellent reference guide, Sauter says. More than 50 styles are mentioned, and related information is provided about food pairings, flavor/aroma profile, raw ingredients and proper glassware to use.

Sauter, who became a certified beer judge in 2015 and began judging international competitions two year later, has her own favorite styles.

“I love Munich dunkels, because they are so satisfying and work in all four seasons,” she says. “Witbiers were my gateway to craft beer, and I love them with food and on hot summer days. I also love hazy IPAs. I’m from New England where they originated, so I’m proud to be from a place that changed the game in terms of IPA.”

And, of course, she’ll never forget the New England-brewed Samuel Adams White Ale that triggered her love for craft beer.

“I had the ale at a now-defunct sports bar in Keene, New Hampshire, in 2006,” Sauter recalls. “It was unlike anything I had ever tasted. From that day on, I knew I would devote my life to craft beer.”

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