« on: November 28, 2010, 11:26:01 AM »
Interesting response, because structure and index are the two areas where I feel "How to Brew" falls down.
Yes, "How to Brew" is the best book available on homebrewing, and yes, I have read it end-to-end, several times in fact, and recommend it to others. But after reading it for the first time I remarked to my LHBS that I thought the structure was all wrong, and they agreed, and when I recommend it I do so with that caveat. (It does start with a "crash course," but it's so abbreviated that those two-page sheets most LHBS throw into basic brewing kits will have more information.) The book wanders into thickets of detail at the wrong points, and it would benefit from a reordering of chapters. The index is weak; If the next edition is available as an eBook, it will at least be searchable.
I like the "textbook" comparison because these are books targeting people who are teaching themselves to brew. If this were a class taught week by week, would brewing lager beer really come before priming and bottling? "Joy of Homebrewing" is very dated, but its order makes more sense: tackling a basic extract brew from boiling to bottling, moving up to steeping grains, getting into all-grain.
But I still make sure "How to Brew" is where it needs to be on my bookshelf before I start a brew session!