Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing (FT Press Science)
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Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing (FT Press Science)

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Beer Is Proof God Loves Us is a funny, engaging, and downright joyous examination of the whole world of beer and brewing. Your guide, Charlie Bamforth, may be the world's #1 expert on every aspect of beer: After a worldwide search, he was selected as the first Anheuser-Busch Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California, Davis. Now, he presents the most comp...more
Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published 2010
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Josh Hamacher
I'm sure everyone has a grandfather or an uncle that holds court at family gatherings, spinning yarns that tend to skip from subject to subject and time to time. Some parts are fascinating, other parts you just quietly smile to yourself and go "yeah, right", yet you always find yourself listening to and enjoying what they have to say.

That's pretty much exactly how this book reads. Apparently the author is well-known in the brewing community, now teaching courses on brewing at UC-Davis. The first...more
John
Excellent book about the beer industry. Especially good if you like long, slightly off-topic footnotes.

There are a few points where I don't quite agree with the author though. His background is with the big brewers so he pays a lot more attention to them than to the smaller or craft breweries. This always comes up in that he seems to consider consistency to mean almost the same thing as quality (saying Budwiser makes consistent beer is totally reasonable, but to say that they make quality beer i...more
Kd0imh
This book popped up as free for Kindle one day in 2010 and I downloaded it because it reminded me of this Keith Walters post on alcohol and Scripture. I hadn't thought about it much until we were in Turkey, where we befriended a Lutheran family via our church, the husband of which is an avid home brewer (as is apparently a requirement of Lutheran males). He hosted beer-brewing & NFL-watching nights attended by many expat Christians and curious Turks, good times had by all.

Bamforth is a PhD c...more
Betty
Charlie Bamforth's tribute to beer is a strange mixture of interesting historical tidbits (often including the author) and the author's personal opinions on beer itself.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the former was often ruined by the latter. Bamforth's insights into the death of the UK pub culture, his experiences working with Bass and the various unions early in his brewing career, homilies on the absurdities of the temperance movement, and informative comments on the effect of globalization o...more
Eric
I was so excited about this book after reading through the first and second chapter even though my wife believed it was lame as nothing caught her eye and the author created a committee to evaluate bubbles. Then I read the rest of the book...

Reading the first chapter I was intrigued. I had high expectations that Charlie would evaluate the culture of beer through pubs (first chapter) and I expected other avenues as well. I thought his experience in the mega brew industry would provide some nice i...more
Steve
Picked this up for free for Amazon Kindle and...well, I'm glad it wasn't priced any higher. This had potential to shed some real insight on beer and brewing, coming from an author with years of experience at a few major international brewers. Unfortunately, it's dragged down by a lot of pointlessly whiny complaints and rants. He resents that people dislike Anheuser Busch and accuse the company of producing bad, industrial beer. I'll concede his point that AB is a skilled brewery and yes, I suppo...more
Joy
I picked this up inexpensively for my Kindle after a recommendation on a forum I follow. It's an interesting read about the beer business, covering such topics as the pub laws in England, the rise of smaller brewers in America, and the relentless conglomeration of the larger brewing companies. I learned a lot about beer that I didn't know before, and there are plenty of endnotes that provide lots more detail on various anecdotes from the author, who is a professor of brewing. There is a bit of p...more
Joseph
This book is, perhaps unsurprisingly, like a beer. It has an amazing glow, and starts off with a rich and creamy head. But the body is lacking, and by the end it sours quite a bit. As the author states, the book didn't end up being what he'd envisioned. And perhaps the problem is that this well-educated and gifted writer was producing quality work of different genres. The book is slightly about beet itself, somewhat about the attitudes surrounding beer and the 'religious' roots of these, and the...more
David Hoggan
I heard Charlie Bamforth speak at the PARC Forum a few years ago & found him to be engaging, passionate & witty, so now that I've been getting into craft beer, I enthusiastically sought out this book thinking it would get me up to speed on the subject. What a disappointment. First off, the book is about half body and half footnotes with the latter being gathered in the second half of pages. This is a mere inconvenience when reading an ebook since you can hyperlink back and forth. But wit...more
Pam
The bits about beer and brewery history were extremely interesting and informative, especially for someone who has recently gotten back into homebrewing. I do like some of the personality included in the book, but at times, the author comes across as arrogant, to the distraction of the text. At one point, he recounts ordering a Bud in a sports bar, and tells the reader that he refrained from asking the waitress "Do you know who I am?" when she showed little care that the beer was of low quality....more
Sara
The title is misleading. It's a quote (attributed, but apparently not actually ever said) by Ben Franklin. It comes across as religious-ish, and is billed as the history of brewing, and it neither: it's more the history of commercial brewing with a bit of beer philosophy thrown in at the end. Which is really interesting, if you're into that sort of thing; you'd just never guess it from the cover. Bamforth's style is easy to read, and having read Papazian's American homebrew perspective, it was i...more
Taro Yamashita
Gift book from friend. Easy to read, sort of a conversational in tone. The scope of the book is pretty wide: history of the author, history of beer, what makes a good beer?, the worldwide business of beer, the place of beer in society, and some justification of beer through the lens of religion (author is Protestant).

I think that a larger book that delved into each of the various subjects more deeply would be reasonable, but that it would require several authors, with various specialties (histor...more
Meredith
This is a very short book, luckily, as it's not very good. The book is peppered with so many "As we'll discuss in X chapter" and "See chatper X" lines it's ridiculous. I mean, this is a very short, light book, not a long, scholarly work. Add to that fact that the author comes across as somewhat hypocritical, rather smug, and generally unlikeable. He's English and the book mostly uses British terms, but will randomly throw in a chips instead of crisps, which I find to be a really bad sign in a bo...more
Nick
I thoroughly enjoyed Bamforth's book, Beer is Proof God Loves Us. It's an excellent, short journey into one man's livelihood, the world's social contract, and history's keen eye on beer and brewing.

He presents this book is something part history lesson from a favorite childhood teacher, to that of an autobiography. It reads much like you are having a conversation with a friend, with who you haven't spoken too in a long time. As a matter of fact, that conversation is with Bamforth; especially if...more
CJ Bowen
Enjoyable but unfocused short look at beer and brewing. Bamforth is passionate and certainly qualified. One of the main messages of the book is that the big boys haven't completely lost their souls. The footnotes are almost as long as the text of the book, and range from complicated discussions of brewing to rambling reminiscences of the author of the sort that several beers would produce.I'd happily accompany the author to the pub for more of these stories, but the book as a whole loses focus....more
David
An enjoyable look at the beer industry and the growth of the mega-corporations that control it. The author also takes a look at the craft brew industry and it's impact on the U.S. The authors wit and sense of humor make this book an easy read and his position as a professor of brewology at UC Davis gives him lots of inside information on the industry.
James Loftus
The subject matter of this book is near and dear to my heart, I really do love beer and I believe that the author also loves beer. He is extremely knowledgable about the brewing industry and clearly loves his work. The book is packed with information about the history of the brewing industry and the technical methods and factors that go into making beer. However, despite his passion and a wealth of information, a lot of this information is stuffed into awkward and poorly organized endnotes (seri...more
Pris
Book was a freebie when I got my Kindle Fire. It gives a brief history of beer and brewing and discusses the beer market today. The author is a well-known authority on beer and brewing and has worked for at least 2 of the biggest brewers in the world. Book is 50% autobiographical in that Bamforth relates how he stumbled upon beer interspersed with his young life as footnotes. The book isn't technical at all, unless you count one of the appendices where he very briefly describes the process of ho...more
Chris
A series of short articles with copious footnotes. Each chapter tells us why beer is a damn fine product, looking at its making, the history of the big breweries, stylesvand quality. And the foot notes bring out the more autobiographical side, telling more about the author's upbringing and 32 year career in brewing.
Cody Grady
Definitely an interesting read... Mr. Bamforth writes like an old English gentleman (perhaps because he is one) sitting in a pub after a few pints. He rambles, gets off topic, and rarely seems able to finish a thought. Indeed, this is the first book I have ever read that is 40% footnotes because of the various non-sequiters that must be explained to the reader in order to get the author's point... that being said, the book is fascinating. It is chock full of facts, stories, and bizarre tibits a...more
Micah
Some people just can't help themselves but to spout nonsense up their own bottoms. And this guy is one of them. There's some neat information about beer, but mostly it's an old fart whining about modern society and stuff. He can stuff it.
Ellen
I was a bit disappointed in this book. Part of it was the writing, which was so-so. Not poor, but not overly engaging, either. That's not to say that the book didn't have its moments. It did. I enjoyed many of the author's observations and his anecdotes, which brings me to my next point. Half of the book is endnotes, and it annoyed me to have to keep flipping back and forth to the back. I wondered why he didn't use footnotes like Mary Roach does. I soon found out it's because some of his endnote...more
Mysteryfan
I enjoyed this book. The title is a humorous misquotation of Ben Franklin. The topics covered are far-ranging and include Thatcher 's misguided beer laws, the international history of beer, mergers and acquisitions, and a section in craft brewing. The endnotes are not quite half the book but are fun to read. The arguments in favor of the social and health benefits of drinking beer were disingenuous. The history and persons were far more interesting.
David
The main part of this book consisted of 112 pages about beer: the evolution of the business, the elements of high quality beer, psychology of taste, health impacts, and social forces affecting beer drinking. And then there were 65 pages of end notes, some expanding on themes in the main text, and many running off on tangents about anecdotes from the author's life. I read this on a Nook, and was profoundly grateful for the hyperlinks that let me bounce back and forth between the end notes and the...more
Katie
I felt this book was in appropriately named. The author didn't give me a lot of "reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing" but instead gave a history of the big brewers and showed macro concerns of the industry. I also don't feel like him and I see eye to eye on a lot overall issues. Finally, the book was 1/2 notes, and many of the notes were stories about the author's life (love for sports, family growing up). It was odd to constantly be flipping back and forth, and then to read all this non-b...more
Curtis
This is a relatively short read that gives an interesting insider perspective on the history and methods of commercial brewing, the worldwide beer industry (largely focused on the UK and US), and the author's various roles in the industry. I subtracted a star because while many of his copious footnotes are interesting and add much to the general text, some others seem to have little or nothing to do with the section they're contained in. However, I enjoyed the book more than I expected to and wo...more
Heidi
I was a little disappointed in that I thought this book would be about the history of beer; rather, it was more about the history of the brewing industry. Oh, well - it was a free book, so I really shouldn't complain. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it as Mr. Bamforth's writing style is carefree and humorous. He is frequently tangential, going off on things that have nothing to do with beer or brewing, but thankfully these tangents are usually relayed as endnotes and are easy to skip over (unless you a...more
Marcella Bongiovanni
Scritto veramente male. Difficile superare il problema
John
The title of this one grabbed my attention, and while he does discuss the "spiritual aspects" of beer, this is mostly a long, rambling read about beer, the modern history of beer, breweries, and some ruminations on the nature of the beverage.

The book is probably mostly footnotes, many of which are quite entertaining, but it causes the book to be very disjointed.

Overall an okay read. Beer drinkers will probably find enough here to make it worth the read, but, like me, they'll probably get antsy t...more
Tom
This wasn't a bad read, he does have quite a few stories to tell, although the use of an index made for a rather tedious hither and dither approach to reading, I would have much preferred the use of footnotes.

There's a good bit of of writing on the industry, although a far too cosy relationship with the likes of Bud and Coors. Which I suppose is to be expected since he was a brewer for those firms, I also take issue with him equating anyone who thinks such beers are not worthwhile with being sno...more
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“To have a man whose name is on the label showing such interest, commitment, and determination for the best is a wonderful thing. This is someone who will throw money at quality, who believes in being the best. Never knock it. Would you prefer to have a bean counter in corporate headquarters, someone who never comes near the brewery, making decisions solely on the basis of the bottom line and profit margins?” 1 likes
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