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.
Behind the Blurb
I suddenly replied one day that I hadn’t written a book directly about beer for years – and I was missing it. Standing in a hop field, I was struck by wonder at this remarkable plant and deiced to write about our love affair with it. Twenty seconds later, I thought, why is it always hops that get all the glory? And decided to write about all four of beer’s ingredients. This was my first book with Unbound, an innovative publisher who use crowdfunding to raise the cost of publishing a book. There are hundreds of potential books on their site, all pitching for your money, and it’s the reader rather than the publisher who decides which ones get published. The editor who gave me my first break in publishing and went on to edit my first two books called me to say he had moved to Unbound – so we decided to get the band back together and do another beer book!
The greatest part of this process for me was that the difficult job of selling the idea to the public and raising the target sum meant I had to talk openly about the book before I’d even started writing it, and the process of doing this actually changed the scope of the book, as brewers, hop growers, barley maltsters and more all got in touch to say they’d love to help me write it. So it ended up being more of a travel book than I had intended, and is all the better for it.
Andre Simon Food and Drink Awards 2017 – Best Drinks Book