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Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World Paperback – November 1, 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Fermenting Revolution delivers an empowering message about how individuals can change the world through the simple act of having a beer. It is also the first book to view all of the important trends in human history as fundamentally revolving around beer.

Globalization pitches the corporate worldview that is essentially selfish, rewarding the few while demeaning the many and devastating nature, against the sustainability movement that calls for cooperation, the protection and celebration of nature and the nurturing of equitable communities. Beer exemplifies the struggle. This book:

  • Traces the path of brewing from a women-led, home-based craft to corporate industry;
  • Describes how craft breweries and home-brewing are forging stronger communities;
  • Explains how corporate mega-breweries are saving the world by pioneering industrial ecology; and
  • Profiles the most inspiring and radical breweries, brewers and beer drinkers that are making the world a better place to live.

The return to beer as a way of life is communal, convivial, democratic, healthful, and natural. The American beer renaissance champions ecologically sustainable production, and is helping to create thriving community places. After reading Fermenting Revolution, mere beer drinkers will become "beer activists," ready to fight corporate-rule by simply meeting their neighbors for a pint at the local brewpub-saving the world one beer at a time.

(2006-04-18)

About the Author

Chris O'Brien is Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network at The Center for a New American Dream, having previously directed Co-op America's Business Network and the Fair Trade Federation. Also part owner of an organic and fair trade brewing supplies company, he is publisher of Beeractivist.com, the online brewsletter about how to drink beer and save
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715561
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,182,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. F. Lee on November 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Part history, part manifesto, and a lot of fun. This book is one of the most informative yet enjoyable non-fiction that I have read in a while. O'Brien provides lots of good facts and figures about good ol' beer that you can use to surprise and impress friends and family. This is also a practical guide to living more sustainably by enjoying a pint or two from your local brewpub. Moreover, the book is well written and easy to read.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a waste of time and nothing more than a tedious left-wing rant. The author briefly and superficially covers the history of beer, but his factual basis for this history is questionable. He begins the book with the conclusion that beer was better when women brewed it and that if women want to realize their true feminist potential they should "get back in the kitchen" and make beer for their husbands. This is what passes for an argument in support of feminism! The author goes on to criticize all corporations as evil and corporate beer as the dangerous "globeerization" of beer. In the same chapter he praises beer from corporations such as Dogfish Head, but doesn't acknowledge that this great company is a corporation. In sum, this book is written like the freshman who starts the term paper the night before it's due. His attempts to please a left-wing professor by throwing out a few PC slogans may have earned him a passing grade, but it hardly makes a good book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have several friends that are microbrewers and was disappointed to hear all three of them confess that they couldn't even finish the book because it was so dry and opinionated. The historical facts had to be written under the influence but that doesn't mean they were even entertaining according to my friends. I was crushed that I bought such a disappointing book as a gift. People who just like beer but are not serious about its making will find this book boring. Those that are serious about beer will be irritated by its false information and possibly offended by its suggestion that , in all seriousness implied, the last supper was actually toasted with beer and not wine! Enjoy
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Format: Paperback
Mr. O'Brien has brought together vital information for those who are seeking to think about as well as better appreciate this noble beverage.

Goes well beyond the works of Michael Jackson or the single facet beer history books books in my collection.

A call to action with ramifications on your view of business ethics, community and trade.

"The Beer Jockey" of Kansas City- Jim Quinn
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
This book highlights the virtues of drinking beer in a nonscientific stance, with occasional research references for the science-minded, and moves away from the Corporate-led debasement of the drinking culture. This is not an ordinary beer book. It doesn't talk technical, nor overly historical. It's about saving the world, but not overtly environmental. More or less, it is about O'Brien's dream to drink beer and save the world by doing so. The intent is to prove the health of beer for me, for you, and for the world.

Maté's narration feels very much like a video blog or educational recording, spoken at a medium pace with a slight monotone effort. Read clearly and concisely, the audio feels like it is attempting to explain the riddles of algebra using counting beans. A slight echo to the audio suggests being a recorded podcast in a lecture all. While the text feels unemotional in Maté's narration, there are moments when the audience does connect. Despite what seems like a downside for this audio, Maté's narration does surprisingly well, matching the author's style and intentionally-unprofessional approach to the matter.

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.
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Format: Paperback
Probably the most superficial, poorly reasoned, and baselessly opinionated book on this fascinating subject.

The author, when he isn't dry and unfunny, is severely irritating, moralizing, and self-indulgent. For example, he opens by confessing that drinking beer is the closest he's ever been to believing in God, but then catalogs religious figures' involvement with beer, culminating in an account of the three Catholic figures in the authors name, none of whom, he admits, are patron saints of beer, but all of which did drink beer. Well golly, glad I read that pointless aside!

Gets worse with his random, shaky history of beer, which I will summarize thusly: "beer is behind every historical event, and corporations are evil!" The later claim is what animates most the book: corporations evil ("so-called market capitalism"), and independent brewing proves that the anti-corporate campaign can succeed. (Nevermind that even brewpubs are corporations run by people who hope to make a living with high-quality product.)

But the treatment of scientific subjects is even more laughable. He cites every dodgy claim in support of organics (including whoppers about organic crops using no pesticides, although they certainly do). Then he cited every dodgy tabloid study suggesting that beer is healthy, and in particular, healthier than wine. OK.

He claims that small breweries are more environmentally friendly than large brewery beer because it's not shipped as far, seemingly ignoring the effects of economy of scale and the fact that microbrews are certainly shipped as well; of course, this is mostly party of his overarching political assumptions, which he bashes over the readers' head repeatedly.

If this sounds like a coherent thesis, fear not: the author spends several pages at the end recounting how amazingly efficient the large brewers are.
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