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The Beer Bible Paperback – August 11, 2015
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“A must-read.” – Craft Beer & Brewing
“Jeff Alworth has an impressive track record as a leading exponent of the global craft beer movement… this tome will educate and leave you thirsty for a cold one” – Book Page
“a tome worthy of its name” – Food+Wine.com
“Beer enthusiasts will welcome this guide that feels like one is spending time with a well-versed drinking pal” – Library Journal
“The Beer Bible endows beer lovers with the same incredible depth and scope of information that Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible gave to enophiles” – Tasting Panel Magazine
From the Inside Flap
Never in the long history of drinking have beer lovers had it so good, with a brewing renaissance happening around the globe. And never before have beer lovers who also have a thirst for knowledge had it so good--The Beer Bible is a lively, comprehensive, authoritative, and purely fun-to-read guide to beer in all its glory. The Beer Bible celebrates the pleasure of discovery, for readers new to beer, and the pleasure of connoisseurship, for old hands ever eager for more information. It's a book built on the premise that the best way to learn about beer isn't by trying every one out there, but instead pouring your favorite and studying it. That's what opens the doorway to history, culture, and craft, the influences that make each style of beer unique.
Like bitter, for example. Its origins in the twin discoveries of hops as a spicing agent and modern kilning, which allowed for straw-colored malts. How it took several more centuries to displace the great porter epoch. The influence of mineral-rich Burton water. The Zen simplicity of how bitter is brewed. The quality called "moreish"--a distinctly British adjective extolling the virtue of being pleasant over the course of a full evening at the pub. And the fact that it really needs to be drunk straight from the tap or cask.
To top it off, Jeff Alworth's ever-engaging style: "British bitters are characterized by a definite hop presence, but they have no violence in them. The hops ride atop a gentle biscuit sweetness and add marmalade and spice." And so it goes for bocks and lambics, schwarzbiers and Vienna lagers, saisons and Pilsners, weisses, weizens, and witbiers.
Welcome to beer heaven.
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If you you want to know about beer, this is the one and only book you need. Read this and understand the world of beer!
Alworth is a beer writer and author of The Beer Tasting Toolkit and Cider Made Simple, and he has his own blog, Beervana. In addition, he writes a weekly column for All About Beer, and co-hosts the quirky and entertaining podcast—also called Beervana—with Patrick Emerson. Alworth has mash tuns of information to share, and it’s quickly evident that he does his research the old fashioned way: at the pub.
That is not a snarky indictment of his writing. To the contrary, The Beer Bible is filled with concise and clear language that only occasionally leaves the hopped neophyte bewildered. There’s enough tech talk in here to satisfy more advanced brewfans, but the majority of the book is accessible to the lay readership.
The Beer Bible is organized into major categories that can be read apart from the rest of the book: ales, wheat beers, lagers, and tarts and wild ales. Early on Alworth tackles the tricky territory of beer styles, or types. Other livening beverages have a distinct sense of place—terroir. Wine and whiskey reflect the regions of their production. But beer is different. Beer reflects history and economics, evolution and culture, place and time. And this is where Alworth shines. He makes sense of the complexities of beer geography without bogging down in minutiae better left to academic study. Here’s an example of his storytelling that allows access into the complexities of the beer world:
If you were to devise a product equally as attractive to beer geeks as oenophiles, it would look a great deal like the “Burgundies of Belgium”…Once there were dozens of these regional specialties and it made sense to differentiate between schools known as Flemish red and brown beers. Now…their differences are far less significant than their similarities.
Can’t beer lovers get a cool name like wine lovers? How about beeroisseurs? Or cervisiphiles? Anyway, that’s just an example of how this book handles what can be a confusing roadmap of understanding beer. Another way is the layout. Each section contains interesting sidebars, statistics, characteristics, brewing notes, a great “Beers to Know” section featuring a cross-section of examples, and a short feature on a notable brewer or brewery. Add to that a section called “Knowing Beer” and a section called “Enjoying Beer,” and The Beer Bible justifies its name.
The other joy of this book is the sense of place that the author imparts. We feel like we are right there with him, whether he is groggily making his way through a German bierstube, or drawing information from one of Italy’s great brewmasters. He does this without abusing the first person, inserting himself only as seasoning to amplify the story.
If the Bible itself was God’s word, or if it is just a compilation of where we were thousands of years ago, it serves as a good template for Jeff Alworth’s better-tasting version. This is a complete, entertaining read that serves as both a handbook and a story. You’ll find yourself reaching for this book again and again as you reach for more and different beers, and neither of those things is bad.
Most recent customer reviews
Well researched, concise and well organized.