4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive but with flaws,
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to Beer (Hardcover)
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.