The Encyclopedia of Beer : The Beer Lovers Bible - A Complete Reference to Beer Styles, Brewing Methods, Ingredients, Festivals, Traditions, and More)

ISBN 10: 0805037993 / ISBN 13: 9780805037999
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Synopsis: The beer renaissance is in full swing. All over the country, people are rediscovering the many varieties of beer and the brewing tradition, lost earlier this century in the wake of Prohibition. This A-Z celebration of beers and brewing around the world covers breweries and their products, various beer styles, brewing terminology, and much more.

From Booklist: "There's more to beer than yeast. There's a lot more to the world of beer than most people ever imagined." Beer is a food product, a beverage that can be brewed in infinite variety, and a global industry. This encyclopedia considers beer in all its roles but focuses on its variety and the means by which brewers--whether major corporations, brewmasters in microbreweries, or home-brew hobbyists--create that variety. The introduction provides a foundation for understanding the entries in the encyclopedia by explaining the range of characteristics of the finished product, the standard ways in which those characteristics are described, and the processes that yield them. The more than 900 entries, arranged A to Z, describe the raw materials, the equipment, the processes, and the producers of beer. The encyclopedia also includes a variety of other entries related to beer, including festivals, gods of world mythology, social customs, drinking vessels, and even literature (as in the case of the Kalevala, "the epic poem of the Finns . . . [which] has more verses relating to brewing than to the creation of the world" ). Four hundred black-and-white illustrations add interest to the volume.

Beer's long history, dating back eight millenia, is covered; but the focus is on the state of the industry today, especially in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, England. Breweries in other countries merit coverage if they have a noteworthy stake in the U.S. import market, if they have played a significant role in brewing history, or if they produce a distinctive beer today. Sidebar articles accompanying entries on some breweries critique their main products. These reviews, sometimes biting, are invariably right on the mark. For example, the review of Michelob notes that, "In the '40s and '50s, Michelob was a malty, draught-only specialty beer, much sought by the beer enthusiasts of the time. In later years, Anheuser-Busch adulterated the recipe with rice and put it in a can. Michelob today is a typical American lager, perhaps slightly meatier than some, but with little else to distinguish itself from its lightly flavored brethren."

Editor Rhodes, marketing director of Modern Brewery Age magazine, has assembled a knowledgeable team of six beer experts as contributing editors. These include Alan Eames, director of the American Museum of Brewing Arts and History, and Peter V. K. Reid, home brewer and writer. They write with verve and knowledge, as in the succinct entry for Mather of Leeds, described as "the last brewery producing British black beer, a somewhat syrupy, opaque brew that is yet another casualty of the lagering of Western civilization."

This, the first comprehensive encyclopedia of beer as beverage, industry, and source of palate pleasure, complements more specialized sources such as Marty Nachel's Beer across America (Storey, 1995), a guide to and directory of the nation's breweries, pubs, and microbreweries.

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