Synopses & Reviews
1st Place Winner of the 2012 Gourmand Award for Best in the World in the Beer category.
For millennia, beer has been a favorite beverage in cultures across the globe. After water and tea, it is the most popular drink in the world, and it is at the center of a $450 billion industry.
Edited by Garrett Oliver, the James Beard Winner for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional, this is the first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer. The Oxford Companion to Beer features more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world's most prominent beer experts. Attractively illustrated with over 140 images, the book covers everything from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and the social and political implications of sharing a beer. Entries not only define terms such as "dry hopping" and "cask conditioning" but give fascinating details about how these and other techniques affect a beer's taste, texture, and popularity. Cultural entries shed light on such topics as pub games, food pairings and the development of beer styles. Readers will enjoy vivid accounts of how our drinking traditions have changed throughout history, and how these traditions vary in different parts of the world, from Japan to Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil, among many other countries. The pioneers of beer-making are the subjects of biographical entries, and the legacies these pioneers have left behind, in the form of the world's most popular beers and breweries, are recurrent themes throughout the book.
Packed with information, this comprehensive resource also includes thorough appendices (covering beer festivals, beer magazines, and more), conversion tables, and an index. Featuring a foreword by Tom Colicchio, this book is the perfect shelf-mate to Oxford's renowned Companion to Wine and an absolutely indispensable volume for everyone who loves beer as well as all beverage professionals, including home brewers, restaurateurs, journalists, cooking school instructors, beer importers, distributors, and retailers, and a host of others.
"The Oxford Companion to Beer is like having an assortment of 24 terrific beers in one box. Pick one out, pop the cap, turn to a page, savor the beer, enjoy the random read. There are
more than 1,100 terrific companions for your beers." --Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association and author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
"If scholarly detail and accuracy for brewing is your thirst, this book will be your definitive goto over and over again. Like a perfect pour, beer lovers will be able to appreciate this book for its artistry, craftsmanship and precision as well as its endless source of inspiration."--Mario Batali , acclaimed chef and restaurateur
"Beerlike baseball statistics or action movie quotes is one of the many things guys act like they are experts on, but oftentimes are actually clueless about. This book is for anyone, male or female, who has ever wanted to know the once-and-for-all real facts about ales, ambers, porters, and lambics but was too afraid to ask. It's the clearest, most user-friendly guide to hoppy heaven I have ever come across and in my opinion the only 'beer book' you will need."--Adam Richman, host of Man V. Food Nation and author of America the Edible
"Garrett Oliver has become widely acknowledged as an expert not only in making beer, but in tasting it, pairing it, and talking about it."--New York Times
"[E]ncyclopedic in scope . . . In putting together the 'Oxford Companion' now, Mr. Oliver has captured the blossoming of a global beer culture at a thriving moment. . . . [A] definitive resource not just for beer enthusiasts but for amateur brewers, professional brewers and the thousands of restaurants that serve great beers but are staffed by people who may know little about them. . . . The 'Oxford Companion' is simply a wonderful resource for what, even when it's complex, unusual, unfamiliar or strikingly different, is still just beer, regardless of how it is dressed up." --Eric Asimov, The New York Times
"The Oxford Companion to Beer [is] an unprecedented compendium that encompasses global hops history, new-wave brewing techniques and anything else you could possibly want to know about the world's most popular alcoholic beverage." m--Time Out New York
"Demand for the Companion has already exceeded supply, and the book has sold out its initial print run. The 'dark ages of beer' seem to be over." --New York's "Grub Street"
"[The Oxford Companion to Beer] promises to be a comprehensive resource for those in the know and those hoping to get there some day." --SF Weekly.com
"We live in an amazing time for beer lovers. With more than 1,700 American breweries and counting, Oliver's massive reference book is a timely masterpiece that will make the perfect companion for craft beer's meteoric rise." --Mobile Press Register
"[W]ith the publication of The Oxford Companion to Beer we now have 920 pages of serious beer writing each page of which alone will trigger any number of arguments, plenty of scurrying for further sources and the occasional drifting of the book across the room, hopefully missing the lamp. This is a very good thing." --AGoodBeerBlog.com
"The most essential beer book you can buy . . . You open a page at random and you start reading, and you lose yourself in trivia, history, and bits of brewing science you always wanted to know but never got round to asking . . . Just about everything any sane person could want to know about beer is in this book . . . if you write about beer, study it or brew it, you simply cannot do without this book" --Pete Brown's Beer Blog
"At the end of the reading I felt buzzed. Not from beer, but from the amount of knowledge I had acquired. I have never considered myself to be a beer enthusiast, but after Garrett Oliver conveyed his passion for beer, that just might change." The CU Independent
"[T]he largest amount of knowledge about beer ever assembled in one book."
"The rise of craft beer has meant a lot of happy developments for beer lovers -- more quality breweries, more great bars and, lately, lots of interesting books. Among the most ambitious beer books is The Oxford Companion to Beer." --Chicago Tribune
"[T]he volume is encyclopedic in both scope and detail, and though I've spent hours looking through it, I've barely made a dent. What I have read, though, has been consistently fascinating." --Chicago Reader
"If ever you were in need of knowing every single fact there is to know about beer, this is apparently where to find it." --TotalBeerEnlightenment.com
"A book every beer lover must have . . . This is the new beer bible: the Encyclopedia Beertanica . . . You must have this book. It is magnificent. Whether you are an aspiring beer geek, an avid home brewer, or a professional brewer, you must have this book. It is the beer book." --Washington Beer Blog
"[A]ll sorts of fascinating beer-related facts have been poured into this 920-page everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know beauty of a book that has the answer for everything . . . In all sincerity, the book is terrific. It looks good, thanks in part to 16 pages of beautiful color photographs and hundreds of tasteful black-and-white images. It's got the heft you'd expect from a $65 scholarly tome. And it covers all the bases-from the variety of agricultural commodities that go into beer to the vast number of ways it can be brewed, with each method imparting its own taste and texture." --Fortune.com
"Thoroughly illustrated and beautifully typeset, the book is precisely what a companion should be: an engaging, subjective, erudite guide to the interested novice and, at the same time, a quick reference for the initiated. As a dedicated drinker all but ignorant of the chemistry behind brewing, I feel I've already learned a lot -- and I've only read through the five entries that start with 'acid-.'" --TheAtlantic.com
"So far I've read only a tiny fraction of what's in this book, and already my beer education has taken great leaps forward." --BostonGlobe.com
"Now, beer's faithful have their bible. The Oxford Companion to Beer, a formidable 920-page volume, chronicles the drink's history, from its birth more than 5,000 years ago in the grasslands of ancient Iraq to the modern craft-beer movement." --Globe and Mail
"And now the movement has a book so fine that it isn't likely to need another for a millennium or so. The Oxford Companion to Beer is, first of all, so handsome as to border on the pornographic . . . [It] is like a pub with enough taps to satisfy every variety of drinker . . . [Oliver] deserves unqualified praise for what is a huge achievement."
"The major release of the year . . . highly-anticipated." --Esquire.com
"[T]he only book you will ever have to read, from this point on, to survive. The Oxford Companion to Beer is your new BFF." --USAToday.com
"[W]ithout a doubt the most comprehensive educational resource on beer available . . . like any inexhaustible resource, it'll be with you for life." --Men's Health.com
"This may be one book that beer-lovers can't live without." --Culture: The Word on Cheese
"The Oxford Companion to Beer joins the drink-book canon as perhaps the most important tome on the subject. Why? Because it offers serious scholarship on everything from the details of the German hop industry to the controversy of California's 'steam beer' designation . . . a remarkable work. Even if you think beer is better drunk than contemplated, you'll find yourself cross-referencing this into the wee hours." --San Francisco Chronicle
"simply an incredible resource that every beer lover should have on the shelf."
"This massive tome has the power to turn you from beer lover to beer connoisseur."
"This title hits the sweet spot of popular appeal and bona fide subject rigor and is likely to catch the eye of even the most casual browser-display prominently. Recommended for the ever-increasing number of public collections serving local-beer enthusiasts and for most academic collections; likewise suitable for any beer imbiber's home collection."
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin
For millennia, beer has been a staple beverage in cultures across the globe. After water and tea, it is the most popular drink in the world, and it is at the center of an over $450 billion industry. With the emergence of craft brewing and homebrewing, beer is experiencing a renaissance that is expanding the reach of the beer culture even further, bringing the art of brewing into homes and widening the interest in beer as an important cultural item.
The Oxford Companion to Beer is the first reference work to fully investigate the history and vast scope of beer, from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and social and political implications of sharing a beer. Entries not only define terms such as "spent grain" and "wort," but give fascinating details about how these and other ingredients affect a beer's taste, texture, and popularity. Cultural entries on such topics as drinking songs or beer gardens offer vivid accounts of how our drinking traditions have shifted through history, and how these traditions vary in different parts of the world, from Japan to Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil, among many other countries. The pioneers of beer-making are the subjects of biographical entries; the legacies they left behind, in the forms of the world's most popular beers and breweries, are recurrent themes throughout the book.
Collectively the Companion has over 1,100 entries--written by 150 of the world's most prominent beer experts--as well as a foreword by renowned chef Tom Colicchio (star of television's Top Chef), thorough appendices, conversion tables, images throughout, and an index. Flipping through the book, readers will discover everything from why beer was first taxed to how drinkers throughout history have overcome temperance movements and how an "ale conner" determined the quality of a beer in the thirteenth century. (It involved sitting in a puddle of beer.)
The Companion is comprehensive, unprecedented, and of great value to anyone who has ever had a curiosity or appetite for beer.
About the Author
is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
. He is a recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional, as well as many other awards and, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions. He has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.
Table of Contents
Topical Outline of Entries
The Oxford Companion to Beer
Appendix: Beer Organizations and Enthusiast Clubs
Appendix: Beer Festivals
Appendix: Websites, Magazines, and Newspapers
Appendix: Beer Museums
Directory of Contributors