Okay, it’s not the best for the ol’ waistline, but it sure helps get the lawn mowed. Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione is a useful tool for novice zymurgists. Pssst…that’s geek speak for folks that make their own beer.

While The Complete Joy of Homebewing by Charlie Papazian is considered the de facto standard for homebrew instruction, I find Calagione’s book a much more pleasurable read. It is practical, gives hints for cutting corners, and suggests ways to kick recipes up a notch.

Unlike most homebrew books, this guide is loaded with attractive full color photos which makes it especially useful. Also, Mr. Calagione is the owner and founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, so you know he knows what he’s talking about.

And if you screw up, you’ve got 5 gallons of bratwurst marinade.