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The Beer Bible

Workman Publishing, August 2015  |  Buy Now

More than a decade ago, the wine educator Karen MacNeil published a book called The Wine Bible for Workman Publishing.  It has remained one of the most widely-read books on the subject of wine ever since and is still Amazon's best-selling wine book.  In 2011, Workman contracted me to write a companion volume on beer.  I spent two years working on the project, traveling over 17,000 miles to six countries and 52 breweries; I slept in 23 hotel rooms and took six planes, three trains, and four cars (excluding cabs).
I hope the information I collected was put to good purpose.  It made sense for Karen to structure The Wine Bible around world growing regions--wine is a product of place, of terroir.  Beer is more complicated; place is important, but so is history and style.  The Beer Bible consequently contains thirty-one chapters organized more by type.  You'll find chapters like "Pale Ale," but also "Ales of The Rhine" and "Pale Lagers."  Each chapter has a brief history of the type(s) of beer in question, a general description of the range of beers in the group, notes about brewing, and comments about how the beers in the group are evolving.  Each chapter concludes with a list of a half dozen to dozen "beers to know"--examples typical of the type in question.

There is also introductory material about: the history of beer; how it is made and of what; the taste of beer and which aromas and flavors to look for; how to serve beer and pair it with food; and even how to brew it (very briefly!).  The book concludes with a section on enjoying beer, including a chapter about where to go should you wish to see some of the eighteen breweries I profile (or some of the other 34 I visited).  All throughout, I tried to make the book as comprehensive as possible, but also lively and interesting.  Karen MacNeil had the great insight to include tons of sidebars throughout The Wine Bible to add color and interest. I happily followed her lead.