In my formative years, beer was just “beer.” It was that fizzy, yellow liquid I would go halves or thirds on with my buddies so we could get our hands on a 30-pack (my buy-in was like $6.21 after tax) so we could sit around a campfire, get messed up, and see how many we could drink before we inevitably passed out in a tent. Ah, memories. Hazy, hazy memories.
Thankfully, those days are over. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate beer for much more than just a cheap campfire companion. Beer is substantial. Beer used to be used as currency. Beer was drank by young children as an alternative to the contaminated water in their villages. Beer has molded and shaped civilizations for centuries upon centuries. Beer has risen above and beyond the mass-produced, heavily-advertised liquid to become an artisanal powerhouse. Brewers work tirelessly to cultivate new recipes, improve upon existing ones, and, ultimately, deliver a product to a rabid fan base thirsty for quality.
And, of course…beer is delicious. Take it from me, I have a blog dedicated to this stuff.
Beer has transcended from being a mere product to a living, breathing culture. People don’t just drink this liquid. They analyze it. They study it. They take pride in discovering unique flavor notes such as pine and citrus fruit in the latest offering that lays in front of them. Some people wait in line for hours to get a ticket so they can stand in another line for more hours just to get a 5oz. pour of a beer that’s rarely available to the masses. It’s an amazing phenomenon that’s slowly, but absolutely, bringing more and more people into its grasp, one heady pint at a time.
For many, especially those at the beginning of this hop-and-malt fueled journey, that can be intimidating. Some may get turned off by a veil of snobbery surrounding the product. Others may simply struggle to understand what’s in their glass.
Beer’s strong push forward must be accompanied by education in order to make the transition smooth and resources dedicated to this axiom can be found in droves (you’re eyes are fixed on one right now). But without question, one of the most thorough, easy-to-absorb, informative literary works dedicated to delivering beer knowledge I’ve come across is Mark Brewer’s Brewology – An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers.
Forget about being intimidated by craft beer. Brewology walks you through the world of beer and gives you the lowdown in an easy, approachable way. You don’t need a doctorate in brewing sciences to understand this content and, if you happen to hold such a degree, you can still learn something new. Brewology is comprised of in-depth definitions regarding brewing processes, ingredients, styles, history, and much more. From A to Z, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better guide overflowing with this much relevant information.
But that’s not all, folks. What really puts Brewology over the top are Mark’s hilarious, spot-on illustrations that accompany the definitions (see right). If you’ve ever uttered the words “I wish this book had more pictures,” Brewology is the answer to your requests. Mark is a gifted artist who boasts an impressive resume of projects and comic strips, including Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey, Tom & Jerry, Bob Weber’s Slylock Fox, and Nancy. In fact, Brewology’s foreward is written by none other than the artist and writer behind Nancy, Guy Gilchrist. Mark cut his teeth in the cartooning world under Guy for several years, working on various projects together and, as the foreward reveals, indulging in their fair share of beers.
Whether you’re just transitioning into craft beer or have been consuming this wonderful liquid in its many forms for years, Brewology is the ultimate accompaniment to the beer presently bubbling in your pint glass, snifter, or goblet. Plus, for a hard-covered book chock full of beer-related info, you won’t find a better price.