When freelance writer William Bostwick and designer Jessi Rymill started sharing an apartment in Carroll Gardens a few years back, they were already into making things from scratch: They cooked like crazy, made pickles and even roasted their own coffee beans. So it was inevitable that the two craft beer drinkers would eventually try homebrew.
Both fell hard for filling their own bottles, but the artistically minded duo (back then, Bostwick’s beat was design) struggled with the copy shop-like layout of most brewing guides. “They look,” says Rymill with a smile, “like appliance manuals.” As they started keeping track of their own recipes, Rymill would apply her design skills to the layout and they realized they had the makings of a book.
The result is Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer. The Ready-Made magazine style guide in retro pop-art tones boasts brilliantly colored charts, graphs and illustrations—all created by Rymill—that could revolutionize homebrewing. “We realized we were visual learners,” says Bostwick, “and figured other people would be, too.” So the book presents detailed illustrations to the six steps of brewing; dozens of easy recipes in brilliant one-page charts; and useful diagrams throughout, including a visual guide to beer styles and an ingenious way to measure hops without a digital scale. And don’t forget the extensive chapter on designing and making your own labels, for the homebrewers who like to do it Martha Stewart style.