Saturday, 15 June 2013


Are you looking for a Father's Day gift for an academic (or for yourself)? Consider Charles Bamforth's Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing, published by Oxford University Press. I have been enthralled with my copy that I received for my birthday.

The book, written by the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is intended for educated laypeople interested in the history and process of beer production. Bamforth intentionally writes his book in readable prose, yet is sophisticated enough in its details to appeal to academics.

The book has a number of interesting tables on the consumption of beer per capita as well as worldwide output. As one might expect, German residents are among the highest consumers of beer, but what is interesting is that the country does not have any major brewing brands. The largest brewer, InBev, is headquartered in Belgium, which ironically has a low consumption rate per capita. Perhaps you might guess that Nevada has the highest consumption of beer per capita in America, but did you know that New Hampshire is a close second?

As he explains the fascinating history of beer, from its origin in the Fertile Crescent to the modern day, Bamforth weaves into his narrative various modern success stories, such as the founding of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Anheuser-Busch, and Coors.

In sum, this is a very entertaining book that I believe would be a hit as a Father's Day gift for academics.

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