Monday, October 8, 2007

Fermenting Revolution

"Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World" by Christopher Mark O'Brien is an easy read that provides an interesting and thorough historical account of beer and brewing, going back 10,000 years. The title of the book got a laugh from some friends who saw me reading it. The author blogs at and continues the theme from the book there. Even if you don't think drinking good beer will save the world, the historical perspective is fascinating. Did you know that until relatively recently brewers were female? ("Brewster" is the proper term for a female brewer.) Being Catholic I found the section on Saints and beer very interesting. The historical connection of the Church and breweries is well-known. Lately I've been noticing just how many breweries and/or beers are named for Saints, even if there is no religious connection. I can't say I accept the author's version of Jesus' water-to-wine miracle or the Last Supper account. (He suggests beer rather than wine was involved at both events.)

The book's account of how the U.S. went from drinking good beer, to Prohibition, to drinking watered down yellow fizz should be required reading for any beer enthusiast. You'll understand how Americans' perception of beer got where it is, and how the craft beer industry (or revolution) is changing that. Hopefully someday a discussion of the benefits of drinking beer won't invoke laughter from folks who just don't get it. :-)

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