Day 251

Someone asked about first-year textbooks for Niagara College’s Brewmaster course, so here’s a summary of what I bought and what I actually used.

First of all, a couple of caveat emptors:

  1. Textbooks can change from year to year–for example, the Language and Communications textbook that we used this year was different from the previous year. So don’t run out and buy these until they have been confirmed.
  2. Also, most important for your wallet, don’t buy books in the school bookstore if you can avoid it. The college runs the bookstore as a profit-making enterprise, and prices are substantially higher than off-campus. That being said, some texts are only available through the bookstore.

First semester textbooks:

  • Handbook of Brewing, 2nd edition. (ed. Priest & Stewart). This was the textbook for several courses, including Ingredients, Introduction to Brewing, and Brewing Equipment. It is actually a compilation of scholarly articles, most of which are not an easy read. Nevertheless, a valuable book once you’ve read each page three or four times for meaning. (Note: The campus bookstore was charging $315 for this, but you can find it for substantially less just about everywhere else. Last fall, amazon.com–the American site, not the Canadian one–was the cheapest, at $165 + delivery, but your mileage may vary.)
  • Helpful for Ingredients class but not compulsory was Malts & Malting (Briggs). Expensive, but a PDF torrent is known to exist, if that’s the way you roll.
  • Workplace Communications, Canadian edition (Searles & Moran). Don’t know how effective the textbook was, since I got a workplace exemption from Language & Communication (right after I bought the textbook of course).
  • Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications). Another compilation of articles, this one for Sensory Evaluation. Some of the chapters were interesting and useful. However we only read the first two chapters for this class, and did not refer to this book again after the second week of the semester. On the other hand, at $15, at least it’s cheap.
  • Business Mathematics in Canada, Selected Material from Jerome, 7th edition. As the title suggests, this Mathematics of Finance textbook is a condensed version of a much larger text, created especially for this math course, so it is only available from the campus bookstore.
  • Not a textbook,  but for the Math of Finance class, a Texas Instruments BA II Plus financial calculator is necessary. Watch business supply store flyers for sales, especially in September–Staples put this model on half-price just before classes started last year.
  • Steel-toed, rubber-soled, water-proof or water-resistant boots for the Teaching Brewery. The steel toes are for dropsies, the rubber soles are for keeping a grip on slippery wet floors, the water-proofness is because your feet get sprayed by water, wort, beer and everything else. I went the “Wellie” route–Baffin-brand steel-toed Wellington rubber boots, available from Mark’s Work Wearhouse. There is a less expensive $35 model, but I went for the $65 model (yellow stripe around the sole): more arch support and a cushioned insole for those long days on your feet. (Avoid the green-stripe model–those are insulated for warmth, the last thing your feet need on hot days.) Some other students bought work boots with grippy soles, those seemed to work too.

Total cost of for first semester: ~$500

Second semester textbooks:

  • There were no specific textbooks for any classes, but the two-volume Malting & Brewing Science (Briggs, Hough, Stevens, Young) was recommended although not compulsory for both the Chemistry and Microbiology courses. (The likely reason it was only recommended is that each volume costs $300 and has to be ordered from Europe. Again, PDF torrents are known to exist.)
  • In second semester, we did need a lab coat and safety glasses for labs. Both of these are available for a fairly reasonable price in the campus store. However, the safety glasses do not fit well over prescription eyewear. If you wear glasses, search for a pair of Pyramex OTS (Over the Spectacle) safety glasses. I found mine at McMaster University’s campus store for only $5.

Total cost for second semester: $20

Hint for commuters: If you store your boots in your car trunk, be prepared for cold toes on frosty January mornings–those steel toes can really suck the heat out of your feet. To avoid this, on the first day of school, slap a combination lock on one of the student lockers in the Hospitality & Tourism (HT) building right beside the Teaching Brewery, then store your boots in the nice warm locker all winter.

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4 Comments on “Day 251”

  1. Canageek Says:

    If you have the money, at least one person I know has greatly recommended looking into composite workboots. The toe is supposed to be as strong as steel, but it only weighs a fraction as much; his boots didn’t way much more then my shoes.

    Now, the government was paying for his boots, so who knows how much they cost in stores. That might help with the cold toes problem (I’m not sure if the toes were alloy or polymer)

  2. Eric Ross Says:

    Thanks for the writeup, gives me a good idea of what to expect.


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