Chelsea Green Publishing

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Miracle Brew

Hops, Barley, Water, Yeast and the Nature of Beer

Categories:
Food & Drink

Most people know that wine is created by fermenting pressed grape juice and cider by pressing apples. But although it’s the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, few people know what beer is made of. In lively and witty fashion, Miracle Brew dives into traditional beer’s four natural ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water, each of which has an incredible story to tell.

From the Lambic breweries of Belgium, where beer is fermented with wild yeasts drawn down from the air around the brewery, to the aquifers below Burton-on-Trent, where the brewing water is rumored to contain life-giving qualities, Miracle Brew tells the full story behind the amazing role each of these fantastic four—a grass, a weed, a fungus, and water—has to play. Celebrated U.K. beer writer Pete Brown travels from the surreal madness of drink-sodden hop-blessings in the Czech Republic to Bamberg in the heart of Bavaria, where malt smoked over an open flame creates beer that tastes like liquid bacon. He explores the origins of fermentation, the lost age of hallucinogenic gruit beers, and the evolution of modern hop varieties that now challenge wine grapes in the extent to which they are discussed and revered.

Along the way, readers will 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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“In a spirited, engaging romp through the confines of the Reinheitsgebot, the German Beer Purity Law of 1516, Pete Brown pulls apart and examines the four essential ingredients of late-medieval Bavarian lager beer: barley, water, hops, and yeast, which was first observed in the seventeenth century. Earlier European medieval ales, flavored with gruit herbs such as bog myrtle, yarrow, and meadowsweet, stepped aside to make way for the hop invasion. To the delight of modern craft brewers, Pete then deftly puts these seemingly simple constituents back together again to produce a thirst-quenching finished product.”—Patrick E. McGovern, author of Ancient Brews and Uncorking the Past

“Pete Brown is my favorite kind of person—an intellectual hedonist. In this exceptionally engaging and informative book, he lays bare his gleeful pursuit of knowledge into what makes us humans vigorously pursue our passions for the good things in life. I’ve read a lot of beer books; this one tops them all for the sheer thoroughness in which the art, history, science, and plain old enjoyment of this most complex of beverages is explored.”—Jereme Zimmerman, author of Make Mead Like a Viking

“Entertaining, engaging, and simply fun, Miracle Brew offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of beer through the prisms of hops, barley, water, and yeast. Pete Brown takes us on an experiential romp through the world of beer, full of topsy-turvy adventures. Put down your scientific journals and remind yourself what beer is really all about.”—Charlie Papazian, author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing; founder, Great American Beer Festival

“Pete has an enthusiasm for his subject matter that is both hugely entertaining and highly infectious, particularly when—true story!—he climbs behind the wheel of a combine to harvest a field of malting barley! You may think that you ‘get’ beer, all its ingredients and processes, but by the end of Miracle Brew he will have you marveling at how little you fully understood.”—Stephen Beaumont, coauthor with Tim Webb of Best Beers and The World Atlas of Beer

“When Pete Brown describes something, you feel you’ve explored it yourself. Whether it is an investigation of Maris Otter barley or a visit to Carnivale Brettanomyces, he conveys the feel, the facts, and the findings in a way that’s concise yet satisfyingly complete. Miracle Brew enlivens the exploration of beer’s foundational ingredients with colorful details drawn from diverse experiences. Brown’s take will certainly nurture fascination among those new to the territory, but veteran beer fans will also find plenty of new information and insights. For both, Brown’s thoughtful writing makes any dip into this work rewarding.”—Ray Daniels, founder and director, Cicerone Certification Program

“We all know the story of how beer is made and what it tastes like once it’s finished, but Pete Brown takes you back a step in that journey, and describes how each of the four main ingredients—water, barley, hops, and yeast—were grown, harvested, and prepared to arrive at the brewery, ready to be used to brew the miracle in your glass.”—Jay R. Brooks, syndicated beer writer and columnist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pete Brown

Pete Brown

Pete Brown is one of the U.K.’s most respected beer writers. Over the last twelve years he’s written five and a half books about beer, pubs, and cider and why they matter. He also writes one of the U.K.’s most widely read drinks blogs and many articles for mainstream and beer trade press titles. He’s on the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme quite a lot and judges the Food and Farming Awards and Great Taste Awards. He has twice been named Beer Writer of the Year, and with Bill Bradshaw he won Drink Book of the Year in the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. His books have been translated into over two languages.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

Pete Brown on Twitter
Pete Brown on Facebook
Pete Brown on Instagram
Pete Brown's Website

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Book Trailer - Miracle Brew

Although it’s the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, few people know what beer is made of. In lively and witty fashion, Miracle Brew dives into traditional beer’s four natural ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water, each of which has an incredible story to tell.

British Beer Video Blog - September

In the first of his British Beer video blogs Pete Brown visits Nottingham to sample champion beer of Britain 2010 Castle Rock's Harvest Pale.

British Beer Video Blog - April

Filmed at Moorhouse's in Burnley, this is the country's newest British cask-conditioned beer brewery, Peter Amor explores the brewery with Managing Director David Grant while Pete Brown visits the Bridge Bier Huis to review the beers they have on tap.

BBC 4: Timeshift - The Rules of Drinking

Timeshift digs into the archive to discover the unwritten rules that have governed the way we drink in Britain.

Miracle Brew

Pages:288 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603587693
Pub. Date October 12, 2017

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 288 pages, $19.95