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The Oxford Companion to Beer [Hardcover]

Garrett Oliver , Tom Colicchio
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 35.00
Price: 26.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Oct 2011 Oxford Companion To...

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 centre centre 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. 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 Companion is comprehensive, unprecedented, and of great value to anyone who has ever had a curiosity or appetite for beer.

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The Oxford Companion to Beer + Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasure of Real Beer with Real Food + Tasting Beer
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; 1st Edition edition (27 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195367138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195367133
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 19 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


a useful reference, and a source of serendipitious pleasure (Engineering and Technology)

This book contains everything you might want to know about the world's most popular drink. (The Field) that would satisfy any hardcore enthusiast. It's edited by Brooklyn Brewery's ridiculously talented brewmaster Garrett Oliver, a man who writes as well as he brews. Which is annoyingly well. (The Guardian)

anyone with more than a passing interest in malt and hops should find something to interest them between the pages of this hefty book. (The Independent)

satisfyingly comprehensive (The Independent)

an extremely informative read for any beer lover. (Suffolk & Norfolk Life)

A comprehensive biography (Maxim)

About the Author

Garrett Oliver is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food (HarperCollins, 2003). He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but with flaws 8 Oct 2012
By Potboy
The beer world certainly needed a book like this - but whether the Oxford Companion to Beer's flaws, many minor, some serious, make up for its comprehensiveness is a matter of debate. One problem is the uneven standard of the contributors. Some really know what they are talking about. Others: well, if the entry you're reading is by Horst Dornbusch, for example, don't believe anything in it until you've had it confirmed by an independent source. Certainly there are enough errors in the first edition of the OCB for someone to set up a Wiki for commentary and corrections (Google "OCBCommentary"). At the last count, around 160 entries in the OCB had been the subject of commentary and/or correction on the OCB Wiki. Some of the corrections to the OCB posted in the Wiki are substantial: more than 1,000 words on "pale ale, for example, almost that many on the entry for Pilsner Urquell. It's arguable that any first effort will inevitably have errors, but many of those that got through into the OCB really should have been picked up, from the possibly minor but irritating to a specialist, such as confusing "barrel" (the name of a specific size of cask, in the US 31 gallons) with "cask" (any large container for draft beer), to the major, such as the entry on Scotch ale, which is pretty much wrong from beginning to end. Let's hope the second edition takes the corrections on board.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beer at last - but a flawed Companion 11 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At long last, an Oxford Companion to Beer has arrived which, for me, completes the set with the Companion to Wine and the Companion to Food.

Like the other volumes, the Companion to Beer is a book to dip into and almost every page reveals some fascinating insights into aspects of the amber nectar.

It is not, however, flawless. Firstly, I was very disappointed to discover that it is an American publication and therefore has American spellings and phrasings. More importantly, there is an inappropriate American bias in the entries. For example, there are very large entries on prohibition and Anheuser-Busch. By comparison, Britain gets relatively short shrift and some of the minor, but interesting, beer-producing nations are hardly mentioned at all. Many minor American breweries get more space than important British, European and world breweries.

There are also factual errors. For example, under the entry on Shepherd Neame it states that Faversham is a port town. This may have been true 300 years ago but that description hardly qualifies now.

Finally, there are numerous typographical errors of various types.

Although this volume is a welcome addition the faults listed above are extremely annoying and distracting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars OUP: USA 16 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a comprehensive encyclopaedia of beer and brewing, starting with 'Abbey beers' and ending with 'Zymurgy'. There is a limited number of headwords but each carries a substantial article. The combination of the 'Topical Outline' at the front and the Index makes this book easy to consult, but beware: once you have started, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you are late for the pub / bedtime / or any other scheduled event. Anyone using it to set a pub quiz can earn himself great kudos and everlasting detestation in equal measure, unless he be very careful!

Topics range from brewing chemistry: organic and inorganic, through biographies of individuals and of breweries, to measurements used in the industry, such as EBC and bittering units; degrees Plato and Balling, (the latter not indexed); the Zentner; equipment (what is a lauter tun, and why has it become so popular?) and dispense, too. Different beer styles are described, with their history, including the obligatory mention of ancient Egyptian brewing. Hop varieties; barley varieties; other grains, e.g. spelt, sorghum and wheat; law: starting with Hammurabi, and more … much more

In a work of this size, there are bound to be a few oddities: such as the idiosyncratic spelling 'candi' in the phrase 'candy sugar'; a spelling not supported by my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, my Webster Collegiate Dictionary, nor, in case it were taken from Belgian practice and languages, in my van Dale English – Dutch, Dutch – English dictionary. Neither did a Google search for <define:candi> produce any likely candidate. (Pun not intended)

My own personal criticism is that too often an index entry lists page after page, with too few sub-headings, if any. Cf. Michael Jackson (The Beer Hunter) or Louis Pasteur: eleven entries for the former, ten for the latter, with no sub-divisions.

Were it less US-centric, it would merit 5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loads of information 16 Mar 2014
By Tim
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There ispretty much everything you need to know about beer particulary from a technical point of view.
Good reference book
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5.0 out of 5 stars handy 17 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
as an aspiring, young commecial brewer, i find this book is a great read as well as a very handy reference. a good blend of interesting trivia and sound technical information.
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