Shortlisted for the 2017 André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, but few who enjoy it know much about how its four ingredients – malted barley, hops, yeast and water – miraculously combine.
We’ve been brewing and drinking beer for thousands of years, without understanding how or why the brewing process works. In the Middle Ages, yeast was called ‘godisgoode’ because no one had any idea what fermentation was. Malting barley, too, has for centuries seemed genuinely wondrous: it’s only in the last 200 years that science has identified and understood how man and yeast work together to gently (or not so gently) persuade this humble grain to give up its sugary stash for fermentation into beer.
From the birth of brewing (and civilization) in the Middle East, through an exploration of water’s unmurky depths and the surreal madness of drink-sodden hop-blessings in the Czech Republic, to the stunning recreation of the first ever modern beer – Miracle Brew is an extraordinary journey through the nature and science of brewing.
Along the way, we’ll meet and drink with a cast of characters who reveal the magic of beer and celebrate the joy of drinking it. And, almost without noticing, we’ll learn the naked truth about the world’s greatest beverage.
"Manages to make you appreciate the magic of beer even in its most everyday form."
"[Brown] leavens his magisterial tour of fearsome science and vast brewery history with cheery anecdotes, humor, vivid you-are-there prose and a clever eye for personality . . . His rhapsodies about the meaning of life and the meaning of beer are stirring . . . His expertise and insight will leave you with a glimmer of infinity every time you hold a bottle of it in your hand."
"Staggering … Pete Brown’s new work has bowled me over"
"Entertaining, engaging, and simply fun … Put down your scientific journals and remind yourself what beer is really all about"
"A book full of amazing facts ... combines history, a look at today’s vibrant beer world and some very well-explained science about how the four magic ingredients come together to create the world’s most popular drink."