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Four pounds of beer conversation starters

Oxford Companion to BeerCan you imagine two wine drinkers sitting in a cafe arguing about monoterpenes1 and asking the bartender to drag a copy of The Oxford Companion to Wine from the the bookshelf to settle a bet?

Me either. However, I can envision The Oxford Companion to Beer on top of a bar, it’s otherwise elegant cover a bit beer stained.

Amazon reports the book will be available Oct. 7, but editor Garrett Oliver will be signing copies the week before at the Great American Beer Festival.

Pre-publication promotion states “this book is the perfect shelf-mate to Oxford’s renowned Companion to Wine and an absolutely indispensable volume for everyone who loves beer as well as all beverage professionals, including home brewers, restaurateurs, journalists, cooking school instructors, beer importers, distributors, and retailers, and a host of others.” More details are at

I have not seen the list of more than 1,100 entries, but the preview includes topics such as Acetyl CoA and Breweriana; pretty diverse before we even leave the Bs.

Last May, I suggested that every blogger should own Brewery History, No. 139 because it is full of thought-provoking topics. It might take a while to digest Companion to Beer when it arrives — the 960 pages weigh in at four pounds — but it obviously will be packed with a heck of a lot more conversation starters . . . and let’s hope the definitive information to end the conversations that get a bit tedious.

1 I just flipped open a page and pointed my finger. Funny that we’d expect to see turpenes covered in this book as well.

10 Responses to Four pounds of beer conversation starters

  1. Alan August 29, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks for the reminder to pre-order. But rather than provide the definitive information to end conversations I suspect it will more likely provide the definitive information to end any sense of one’s own pre-existing understanding of beer.

    • Stan Hieronymus August 29, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Don’t be surprised to see some history contested.

      Or discussions about what merited and entry and what didn’t.

  2. Barm August 29, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    The credibility of the Oxford Companion is disqualified by the involvement of Horst Dornbusch. His writing on beer is so often complete rubbish that it’s impossible to take it seriously.

  3. brewer a August 29, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    There was an all-call for photos for the book a good while back. I was disappointed when I never got a response about submissions.

  4. Mike August 29, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    There seem to be a fair amount of companies making (or trying to make) money from beer consumers without actually providing a drinkable product. I wonder if the same phenomenon exists in the wine industry?

  5. Steve August 29, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    “I wonder if the same phenomenon exists in the wine industry?”

    Crate & Barrel leads the way.

  6. Mike August 30, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    “Crate & Barrel leads the way.”

    Is that a store?

  7. Steve August 30, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    “Is that a store?”

    I thought you lived in the U.S. for a time.

  8. Mike August 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Yes, I had, but not everything rubbed off on me. There are still large gaps in the “about the US” part of my brain.

    But, thanks for the info.

    I must say, I see a lot more commercial activity around beer: Ratebeer and their friends and competitors, beer magazines (Ale Street News, etc.), beer films (Beer Wars and others), loads and loads of beer books, lots of organisations with various beer-related activities (such as publishing more beer books, for example) and of course, possibly more beer blogs than there are beers in the US. And, those are only the ones I know about via the Internet.

  9. Zac November 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    This seems pretty prophetic now, doesn’t it?

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