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Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing (FT Press Science) 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137065073
ISBN-10: 0137065078
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“A delightful book that not only reaches the soul of brewing but also tells us much about the soul and humanity of the author. Bamforth skillfully weaves a holistic and philosophical story about our complex society and the positive role that beer has, does, and will play in it. It is a joy to read and will leave the reader refreshed in mind and soul.”

Simon Jackson, Executive Director, Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London, England

 

“A heartfelt account of beer that reads as though I’m sitting at a pub table across from the ‘Beer Professor’ himself as he reveals personal tales and experiences over many pints of beer. A concise snapshot of the world of beer–past, present, and future. Remarkable insight into the behind-the-scenes world of beer.”

Charlie Papazian, Author of Complete Joy of Homebrewing; National Beer Examiner, http://Examiner.com/beer; President, Brewers Association (USA); and Founder, Great American Beer Festival

 

Don’t just drink beer: Experience it. All of it.

 

Discover the extraordinary culture and history of brewing: the remarkable craft that reaches back before written history. Visit legendary British pubs now fading sadly into memory…and the craft breweries, corporate boardrooms, and home brewers that are the new future of beer. Learn how to tell a great beer from a good one…find surprising new research on beer and human health…uncover beer in the Bible (and other unlikely places)…and discover divinity and transcendence in your very next brew.

 

Yes, there’s more to beer than you ever imagined: It is the most complex, subtle, and remarkable beverage humans have ever created. Its story deserves to be told with love and passion. Charles W. Bamforth brings all that, plus a lifetime of brewing knowledge and wisdom. Read his book, and you’ll agree with Benjamin Franklin’s apocryphal quote: Beer truly is proof that God loves us.

  • From Bangkok’s Singha to the Sierra Nevadas
    How institutional investing, indexing, and efficient markets theory promote herding 
  • Secrets of foam, color, clarity, and freshness
    From the bottle inward: the makings of a great brew 
  • Discovering the “Slow Beer” movement
    Traditional brewers, true beer culture, and real heritage 
  • God in a glass: the spiritual dimensions of beer
    Experiencing the magnificence of transformation and deliverance

 

About the Author

Charles W. Bamforth has been in the brewing industry for 32 years, including 13 years in research, 11 in academia, and 8 with the famed brewing company Bass. After an international search, he was selected as UC Davis’ first Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences. His Web site gives fuller details of his career and much interesting information about beer and brewing, besides: http://www-foodsci.ucdavis.edu/bamforth/.

 

Throughout his diverse career, he has embraced every dimension of beer, from raw materials and processing, through quality, to beer’s impact on the body. This makes him unique among “beer people” worldwide. He has published many research papers in the peer-reviewed domain, but also those targeted at the layperson, seeking to engage awareness and debate about beer as a product and as part of social fabric. This is his ninth book on beer (one of his earlier ones is in its third edition), and he is generally considered to be one of the world’s leading writers and speakers on beer, from an authoritative, but also humorous and engaging, perspective. In recent years his major research thrust has been on the wholesomeness and public perception of beer.

 

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Product Details

  • Series: FT Press Science
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (October 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137065078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137065073
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm an avowed beer and food snob, and we used to brew our own beer. We have chosen vacation destinations based on what we'll eat and drink; this stuff is important to us. As a result, choosing a book about "the soul of beer and brewing" was a no-brainer selection from my Amazon Vine options. And there is no doubt that Charles Bamforth, the UC Davis Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, knows his stuff.

I have strongly mixed feelings about this book. In some ways, I want to give it five stars; in others -- particularly when I disagree with the author's premises -- I have a violent urge to click hard on the two-star button.

Let me be descriptive, first. Despite a title that hearkens to an emotional relationship with beer (and I dare say that most readers recognize the Ben Franklin quote in his title), the book would be better called, "The business of beer." Bamforth gives an exhaustive, educational, and entertaining overview of the state of the beer market and how we got here. Chapters are devoted to such topics as "the re-birth of a beer ethos," anti-alcohol forces, and the merger of so many beer brands under a very few companies.

I am definitely smarter after reading Bamforth's book. I had lots of, "Oh, so THAT's what happened!" realizations from his explanation of the Thatcher-era Beer Laws of the 1980s and their effect on the UK beer market, for instance. (In the UK, 52 pubs are closing their doors every week.) I learned more than I ever imagined about the chemistry of foam (that is, the head on your glass of beer). And I appreciated his thoughtful pro-and-con discussions of the health claims for beer (in which he manages to be far more balanced than you'd expect from an allegedly biased author).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Someone once posted a comment in an Amazon review that said: Review the book the author wrote, NOT the book you WISH the author had written. I found that to be very useful advice when I reviewed a pre-publication Vine program copy of Charles W. Bamforth's "Beer Is Proof God Loves Us."

"Extreme" craft beers with character are where it's at for me--Imperial I.P.A.s, Imperial stouts, barleywines, funky Belgians, over-the-top strong ales made with insane quantities of malt and even more insane quantities of hops. I'm an unabashed beer snob. When I'm trying to be polite, I describe the products of today's global brewing conglomerates, some of which Dr. Bamforth has been associated with in his career, as "industrial brews" (a term he finds "reprehensible"). If I'm not trying to be polite, I use somewhat different terms. Much of "Beer Is Proof God Loves Us" is about industrial-scale brewing rather than about craft- and micro-brewing. So what did I think of it--the book he wrote, that is, not the one I WISH he had written?

Well, I have to say that I enjoyed it very much. It contains a lot of esoteric information on many different aspects of beers and brewing. For example, even though I don't drink their products, I found his perspectives on the rise of the few huge international corporations that today brew most of the world's beer to be very interesting. He describes their frenetic consolidations and acquisitions in detail in Chapter 1, "Global Concerns." In Chapter 2, "The Not-So-Slow Death of a Beer Culture," he laments the near-demise of one of the world's most fascinating institutions--the British pub.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Though the book initially starts out somewhat dry, the book offers promising insight into the beverage industry. The initial chapters document the developments in the beer industry. These developments are fairly publicized, at least in terms of the big corporations. The charming side of this book is explored in the new trends in the beer industry, craft brews.

It is unlikely that any of the crafts brews will ever reach the proportions of the megabeer corporations. But even as the taste of their beer is unique, their stories also have a unique flavor. Visiting such microbreweries as Anchor, Coopers, and Sierra Nevada, I hope this book opens the hearts and coolers of many people.

One need not be a beer nerd to appreciate this book. It can be a learning experience for the layman and expert. The author does suggest reading the endnotes, as they add something to the story. I would tend to disagree. One man's idle chatter is another man's squandering of time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book popped up as free for Kindle one day in 2010 and I downloaded it because it reminded me of this Keith Walters post on alcohol and Scripture. I hadn't thought about it much until we were in Turkey, where we befriended a Lutheran family via our church, the husband of which is an avid home brewer (as is apparently a requirement of Lutheran males). He hosted beer-brewing & NFL-watching nights attended by many expat Christians and curious Turks, good times had by all.

Bamforth is a PhD chemist from the U.K. who holds a chair endowed by Anheuser-Busch at UC Davis. He has worked in research and development in the beer industry and has chronicled its development over the last few decades. To my surprise, the book was nothing about God at all, it's simply a treatise on the art and economics of beer brewing.

Bamforth chronicles the merger/buy-outs of the beer industry as centuries-old companies swallow other centuries-old companies. He discusses the economies of scale and what they mean for brewing. He explains some of the history, the quality control, and health benefits of beer. (Beer has many more potential benefits for you than your Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.) He also provides some anecdotes from his international travels about the various types of beer being produced abroad.

Beer has been brewed for thousands of years (Bamforth claims the Sumerians were first, but this NY Times article last month put forth even earlier dates) and anthropologists consider it to be important to the development of civilization.
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