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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Pilsners, blonde ales, India pale ales, lagers, porters, stouts: the varieties and styles of beer are endless. But as diverse as the drink is, its appeal is universal—beer is the most-consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. From ballparks to restaurants, bars to brewpubs, this multihued beverage has made itself a dietary staple around the globe. Celebrating the heritage of these popular libations in this entertaining tome, Gavin D. Smith traces beer from its earliest days to its contemporary consumption.
While exploring the evolution of brewing technology and how it mirrors technological changes on a wider economic scale, Smith travels from Mexico to Milwaukee, Beijing, Bruges, and beyond to give a legion of beer brands their due. He then delves into the growth of beer-drinking culture and food-beer pairings and provides information on beer-related museums, festivals, publications, and websites. He also provides a selection of recipes that will be enhanced with the downing of a glass or two of the amber nectar. Containing a wealth of detail in its concise, wonderfully illustrated pages, Beer will appeal to connoisseurs and casual fans alike.

160 pages | 35 color plates, 20 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2014


Food and Gastronomy

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“The world’s biggest brewers are larger and more international than they were in the past. The largest global brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, for example, is a half-American company headquartered in Belgium and controlled by Brazilians. But as Gavin Smith shows in this short and engaging book, the familiar global brands are the least interesting ones. Nearly every country has a brewer that is either one of the international leaders or an affiliate brand. But the same countries also have brewers that slavishly tried to imitate the leaders and have long since become part of history.”

The Weekly Standard

Beer: A Global History is the latest addition to the Edible Series. . . . As reading about food and drink is second only in pleasure to consuming it, this might be one of the most ingenious publishing ideas of all time. Gavin D. Smith traces brewing history from the Neolithic peoples of Asia Minor to beer’s current preeminence. . . . [a] splendid little book.”

The Spectator

Table of Contents


1. Origins

2. Beer in a Commercial World

3. Beer Comes of Age

4. The Art of Brewing

5. Great Brewing Nations

6. Drinking Beer

7. Beer and Culture


Appendix: Great Beer Brands

Select Bibliography

Websites, Associations, Festivals and Museums

Photo Acknowledgements



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