Robert Rivelle George launches The Umami Factor at Finley’s on June 20.

Nelson fermentation expert explores the fifth taste in new book

Robert Rivelle George launches his new book The Umami Factor: Full-spectrum Fermentation for the 21st Century this month.

Local fermentation master and author Robert Rivelle George launches his new book this month.

The Umami Factor: Full-spectrum Fermentation for the 21st Century takes on the task of instructing the aspiring or seasoned craftsperson in the secret to creating full-flavored, satisfying beverages at home, the way it was done for centuries.

Umami is the fifth taste, existing alongside the better-known sensations of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It is the savory taste of amino acids ubiquitous in foods such as yeast, grains, fruit, and roasted meat and vegetables. By exploiting the taste sensation of umami, a craft-beverage enthusiast can create savory, mouth-watering drinks of all types, hard or soft.

Released last month by Schiffer Publishing, George’s book features a foreword by brewmaster Norm Chapman of Spencer Hill Cottage Brewery in Grand Forks, and more than 100 colour illustrations.

These accompany 75 original recipes for beverages spanning the gamut of soft drinks, beer, wine, sake, cider, mead, and even hard liquor. George explores ancient to modern techniques for producing these beverages, while offering a philosophical perspective to their creation and enjoyment.

“Robert’s philosophic approach to brewing in The Umami Factor is more of a lifestyle than a hobby,” says Maarten Lammers, owner of Nelson’s Art of Brewing.

“He has a sense of humour that leaves you laughing out loud. I read with the eyes of a novice, and the eyes of a scientist, and I’ll certainly use the recipes, which are delicious.”

Harry Davidson of HD Ventures adds “Like any good book there is drama, intrigue, inebriation, and sex. A complete reference guide to brewing, rich with recipes, menus, instructions and photographs, The Umami Factor leaves no stone unturned.”

Nelson’s history includes a long tradition of brewing, vintning and craft pursuits of all types. The Umami Factor presents a unique way to follow those crafty impulses, and amaze and impress your friends.

Robert’s recipes are complex, for you can’t create a complex flavor sensation without a complex recipe. But the book also suggests easy ways to improve even the most prosaic of concoctions. Beginner and expert alike can find very many ways to challenge themselves.

To have a taste of a full-spectrum fermentation, you’re invited to The Umami Factor book launching party at Finley’s Irish Pub, June 20 at 7 p.m. Finley’s will be serving a cask of one of George’s prize winning libations: Backcounty Nut Brown Ale, a smooth caramel delight.

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