One of the great things about craft beer is that each beer has a story. Brewers tend to have their own style and reasons behind why they brew the beers they do. Getting to know the brewers can really change one’s perspective on their beers. Not just getting to know them as a brewer either, but who they are as a person; how they got to where they are. There’s usually a series of events that have happened which inspired them to start a brewery or brew a certain type of beer. Once you know that story, one’s appreciation for their beers is really taken to a whole new level.
Ken Grossman is truly one of the pioneers of craft beer. He was brewing craft beer before there was really such thing as craft. It was a time of light lagers and generic imports when he started Sierra Nevada. Today, they have grown to one of the largest breweries in the country and are in the process of opening their second brewery in North Carolina. Sierra Nevada helped paved the way for all the craft breweries you’ve come to know and love. Grossman’s over 30 years of brewing experience isn’t the only thing that makes Sierra’s beer so special, it’s also Grossman himself and the trials he went through to grow the brewery to the unimaginable levels it’s grown to.
It’s only fitting that an innovator such as Grossman gets to share his story. In Beyond the Pale: the Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. , Grossman doesn’t only show you what it was like opening a brewery, but he shows you what it was like growing up, as part of a broken family in downtown Los Angeles. From his childhood fascination with science, which led to his first invention at the age of four—a pulley system to help ease the laundry washing process for his mother—from skipping his high school graduation ceremony to go on a backpacking trip, Grossman genuinely shares with those willing to read, who he is and the path in life he chose that brought about Sierra Nevada.
Beyond the Pale is an eye-opening look into craft beer from a perspective rarely shared in such a level of depth, and a book that beer drinkers of any level can appreciate.