The Beer Bible

June 19, 2016 - Comment

The Beer Bible Winner of a 2016 IACP Award The ultimate reader- and drinker-friendly guide to the world’s ales and beers, and the book that approaches the subject in the same way beer lovers do—by style, just like a welcoming pub menu. Divided into four major families—ales, lagers, wheat beers, and sour and wild ales—The

The Beer Bible

The Beer Bible

Winner of a 2016 IACP Award

The ultimate reader- and drinker-friendly guide to the world’s ales and beers, and the book that approaches the subject in the same way beer lovers do—by style, just like a welcoming pub menu.

Divided into four major families—ales, lagers, wheat beers, and sour and wild ales—The Beer Bible covers everything a beer drinker wants to know about the hundreds of types of beers made, from bitters, sessions, and IPAs to weisses, wits, lambics, and more. Each style is a chapter unto itself, delving into origins, ingredients, description and characteristics, sub-styles, and tasting notes, and ending with a recommended list of the beers to know in each category. Infographic charts throughout

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John Holl says:
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
All About Beer Magazine Review of the Beer Bible, August 13, 2015
By 
John Holl
(REAL NAME)
  

This review is from: The Beer Bible (Paperback)
From the September 2015 Issue of All About Beer Magazine. A review by Pete Brown:

The biggest problem with the present overabundance of books appealing to beer’s ever-growing audience is that many don’t seem to have figured out whom they’re talking to.

Following the formula that was scratched onto the walls when Michael Jackson named the planets and distorted over the decades by Chinese whispers, you often find obligatory sections on the history of brewing and the brewing process repeating the basic facts that every beer geek has read a hundred times before, followed by profiles and tasting notes where a detailed knowledge of hop varieties and bittering units is needed to make any sense of what’s being said. Are you talking to the curious novice or the fan seeking to learn in greater depth? Failure to answer this question can leave readers feeling confused, alienated or bored.

If you’re going to write a 600-page tome and call it The Beer Bible ($35, Workman), the need to pitch it to the right audience at the right level is crucial. Happily, Jeff Alworth judges it almost perfectly.

The Beer Bible is arranged loosely by style. Alworth (a regular contributor to this magazine) rightly skirts over too much discussion of the nuances and proliferation of style and type, setting up a simple nomenclature of ales, wheat beers, lagers, and tart and wild beers. Each has subcategories that are clear enough to help the novice navigate beer’s diversity, yet hopefully detailed enough to satisfy the aficionado. The subcategories don’t drill as far down as barrel-aged imperial stout or the difference between lambic and gueuze, but such beers are covered within the broad sections.

The obligatory history and brewing process sections are present and correct, but they display a combination of knowledge and ability to communicate that is seldom seen in this kind of book.

Even if you know this stuff already, Alworth’s assured prose means it’s worth reading again to find a refreshing new take. Answering the question, “What exactly is a lager beer?” he gets existential: “Is lager a final, objective state, or the process of becoming?”

Don’t worry, he doesn’t strand the reader here. But this deft line in demonstrating knowledge and thoughtfulness with a slightly playful twist is a winning formula.

The playfulness carried through the final section “Enjoying Beer,” which actually makes all the rigmarole of correct glassware and food matching feel accessible and fun rather than a grueling assault course of learning.

This is not a book to be read cover to cover. It’s a reference source, but also a box of treats, to be dipped into for inspiration or diversion. We need beer writing to reflect the fact that we’ve come a long way in the last 40 years, yes, that beer is more complex and interesting than many people think, but also that beer should be enjoyable and fun. It’s a delight to find a book about beer that covers the subject in such breadth and depth at the same time as making it seem fresh and new again.

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Leslie N. Patino says:
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most comprehensive and current beer book today!, September 13, 2015
By 
Leslie N. Patino (Monterey, California) –

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Beer Bible (Paperback)
I’ve long enjoyed Jeff Alworth’s writings on his Beervana blog, in “All About Beer” magazine and elsewhere. While I eagerly anticipated publication of “The Beer Bible,” it’s even more impressive than I’d imagined.

I recommend the print version; you’ll most likely want to mark up this reference book and dog-ear pages. I’ve spent quite a few hours over the last month reading it off and on and digesting the encyclopedic information. Before I finished Part One, “Knowing Beer,” I skipped to “Beer Tourism” in Part Six. Jumping around work fine, perhaps even better than trying to read straight through this 644-page tome.

Alworth arranges the beer descriptions by style—ales, wheat beers, lagers, tart and wild ales. His history of each style gives the reader a grounded perspective of how the style came to its current version. He suggests 5-8 specific beers to try in a style, listing information and mentioning the strongest points of each. With some styles, I’ve read right through. For others, I’ve had fun reading portions and sharing information with my husband about the particular beer we’re drinking.

A beer bible could easily become a rote and boring list of information, but Alworth is too good of a writer to fall into that trap. The book is chock full of photos and side bars with interesting tidbits of information. I don’t know of any other book on beer that is so current, comprehensive and well written.

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GlobalVagabonds says:
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is THE book when beer is your religion!, August 14, 2015
By 

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This review is from: The Beer Bible (Paperback)
Seriously – the amount of research that went into this book is astounding. Ever had a question about how a particular style came about and how it’s made? Where which beers are popular and how to toast them in their respective countries? What foods to pair with which beer? The ABV content of your favorite ale and how it compares to others of the same style? I guarantee you’ll find the answers to these and any other beer related question you can think of somewhere in this book’s hefty 644 pages. This book really blew me away with just how much information is contained within it. Whether you’re a seasoned beer snob or just an aspiring one, I think you’ll be super impressed with this book.
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