Zymurgy magazine and all around beer nerd and renaissance man Dave Carpenter begs to differ. This encyclopedic book contains a thorough treatise of lager and associated food and history.
Roughly the first 10% of the book deals with
ancient history including the archaeological and historical evidence of
very early brewing, malting, and the spread of brewing techniques and
beer to Europe. The history chapters are well referenced with footnotes
to provide further reading and reference hunting for the enthusiastic
beer historians. I was tickled to read an ode to Ninkasi, the Sumerian
goddess of brewing. There are also nifty pictures of cuneiform tablets
and other relics of the very earliest brewing in the fertile crescent
Thereafter follows an interesting (really!)
layman accessible treatise on the microbiology and chemistry of
brewing. All of the terms are painlessly well defined and
understandable. Even though I've been a home brewer for years, and I'm a
professional bionerd by day, several things he says suddenly made a lot
of sense to me. (He provides the best definition and explanation of
selective pressure/re-pitching I've ever read).
throughout the book are tantalizing little sidebar snippets (fun
facts!) about a variety of subjects. For example, I never knew why
Anheuser-Busch uses beechwood strips boiled with baking soda in their
aging process. That is explained very well in a sidebar in the book.
Sandwiched in the segue between the early history chapters and the regional food and brewing chapters is a discussion of the