Alcohol, it's what's for dinner, and preferably with food. But beer is one of those drinks that can stand alone without food, because, you know, it is food. The rise of craft beers in the U.S. has been a wonderful thing and people are discovering there is more to beer than just mass-produced bland yellow colored drinks. So if you are a hophead and you love beer you will need to get the beer Bible. Author Jeff Alworth lives in Portland, ground zero for breweries and has traveled the world. Though I have visited beer breweries in Tecate, Mexico; Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Elk Mountain Farms - the largest hop farm in the U.S. located in North Dakota – Alworth has everyone beat. And frankly, for a book like this you want a man obsessed with beer.
What I like about this book is that it’s well formatted, after all 600+ pages it’s like War and Peace without the war. There are specific sections about the variety of beers, ales, lagers, stouts IPAs and Alworth defines these, also uncovering some industry names, beer pairing with food, beer tourism - how to act in foreign taverns and pubs - even an oddball recipe from George Washington about a “beer” he was brewing. It’s stunningly comprehensive without being the least bit dull or pedantic. And there’s plenty of information you’ll discover, as I did in this tidbit regarding the 1936 vintage of a special beer brewed in England. “The English brewery Greene King brewed a beer in special celebration of the ascension of Edward the 8th to the throne. This was not unusual. For centuries people have been making celebratory beer; the word ‘bridal’ derives from the Angle Saxon bryd-ealo (“bride ale”) which actually refers to a celebratory feast, not just the beer.” Huh. Didn’t know that one! Rich, comprehensive and engaging, Alworth’s bible will convert some, if not many to the devotion to beer.
The Beer Bible, by Jeff Alworth
644 pages, $19.95