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The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution
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The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  792 ratings  ·  156 reviews
A full-color, lushly illustrated graphic novel that recounts the many-layered past and present of beer through dynamic pairings of pictures and meticulously researched insight into the history of the world's favorite brew.
Starting from about 7,000 BC, The Comic Book Story of Beer traces beer's influence through world history, encapsulating early man's experiments with ferm
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Paperback, 180 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Ten Speed Press
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Sesana
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, nonfiction, food
Informative, apparently well-researched, passionate, and nicely illustrated. This is everything I could ask for in graphic nonfiction. I have to imagine that this would be an even more exciting read for people who drink beer, especially those who are interested in craft beers. I'm neither, just a history nerd with a special interest in the history of food and beverage. For me, this book was largely an enjoyable read, densely packed with information without going off on too many tangents or inclu ...more
Jon
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel is a wonderful love letter to beer. The story is written with the passion that only a true beer lover can have about the subject. This is a very in depth history going from prehistory to today. While I wasn't worried because I'm the kind of guy that likes dry histories, I was pleasantly surprised at how engrossing and readable this graphic novel is. I honestly couldn't put it down. I loved how the author didn't only tell the history of beer in general, but went into the back s ...more
Stewart Tame
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
The very existence of this graphic novel fascinates me. With the popularity of craft brews, I can see the general interest in the material, but why a graphic novel? I'm not complaining, just curious. I actually don't drink beer. Something about the basic flavor just puts me off. I've tried quite a few over the years, but never found one from which it was worth taking more than a polite sip or two. I do love comics though, and am especially happy to read one on a topic not normally associated wit ...more
Chelsey
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review is based on an ARC copy from NetGalley.


Love love love this book!

There's no doubt that craft beer is super popular at the moment, so whether your'e a beer drinker or just interested in pop culture, this book is for you. I know reading a book on the history of one specific thing sounds very dry and tedious, but this book never bored me and never felt like a chore to read. In fact, the illustrations and light tone of the book made it quite a delightful process!

I never new beer had such
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Maria
Many thanks to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for a digital Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my review.

Don't let the fun comics format lull you into thinking this is simply a light romp about drinking beer. Sure, that may be where it starts, but it is so much more. This is a history book, complete with footnotes and references (a few are in the book, but the full list of chapter notes can be found on their website) and an index! Not only will you be entertained, you will be educated. This is
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sologdin
Someone sent this to me at the time I marked my fourth decennial, but didn't pop a card or return address in there, so they remain safely anonymous whereas I remain fucking forty. So, thanks, yo, whoever you are!

As I don't know anything about brewing, I can't comment on the presentation of the production process or the history of different varieties (lambics, doppel, porter, &c.). Cool, though, that beer does in fact have a history. (I imagine there must be an Althusser of brewing out there who
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Daniel
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
I went into this one with high hopes, but it left me disappointed for four reasons:

1. It spends far too much time trying to prove to the reader how important beer is. I'd rather have more information and less of a sales pitch!

2. The first section about early beer is mostly mythology along with stories that even the book admits are probably false! Why even have this in the book if you know it's probably not true?

3. It feels like it's lacking in information. I'm not a beer historian, but if beer w
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Ryan
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A VERY detailed history of beer. At times it was a little slow, but overall a good read. I learned a lot and the illustrations were superb.
Jeffrey E
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Beautifully drawn and entertaining. At times it took some strange asides that I did not entirely follow. Otherwise, very educational.
Garrett
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Delightfully refreshing, with a charming and strong finish, this Comic Book Story of Beer ranks high with all of our tasters...

...and you can see where I'm going with this. Seriously, though: packed with solid, documented history (and clearly marking simple assertions and conjecture when they occur) and lushly illustrated, this is one of the more fun histories of anything you will likely ever read.
Ben Truong
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution is a graphic novel written by the team of Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith and illustrated by Aaron McConnell. This graphic novel probes the history of beer.

This graphic novel takes the reader from ancient fermentation processes to today's craft breweries, authors Hennessey and Smith present an engaging look at the importance of beer in humanity's cultural history.

The Comic Book Story o
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Rachel
Gets the Catholic Church completely wrong. Just more anti-Catholic propaganda thrown into a story that doesn’t even need to touch this topic. Catholic priests, friars, and nuns were the only individuals who willingly exposed themselves to plague-ridden people and attempted to heal them. Catholics founded the first hospitals in the Western world. This comic book makes it appear as though Catholics in the Medieval era had no understanding of medicine, science, or personal hygiene, which is complet ...more
Nick Klagge
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I thought this was just OK. There's a lot of decent information about the history of beer, although most of it was already familiar to me. (I did, however, learn that there is now a certified Trappist monastery brewery in Spencer, Massachusetts!) Ultimately I didn't feel like the book did anything in particular to leverage the graphic novel format--the illustrations don't have a strong characteristic style, nor did they seem to tell the story any better than you could tell it in words. (But if y ...more
Bert Heymans
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in beer, this is great. You'll learn a lot without feeling like you're studying. However, if you're looking for a good story ... this will not scratch your itch. The comic style is nice but feels very chaotic because it wants to stay true to the subject matter. Recommended for every aspiring beek geek, but not so much for the comic lovers among us.
Cinky
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
We were born too late to explore the world, too soon to explore the universe, but right in time to explore the widest variety of great beers in human history. And thats something to be grateful for.
Mark Mcdermott
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beer fans and comic fans, especially those who are both.
This book is a decently thorough, yet concise, book on beer, not only its history, but on the science behind the brewing process. Hennessey, who has written other graphic "novels" on history, and brewer Mike Smith, sift through a lot of history and come up with some new ideas. Like the fact that we can only date the history of beer back to 7000 BC because that's when people started making it in pottery that can be found today; animal skins or wooden vessels from earlier times would have decayed ...more
Joseph R.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chronicling the history of beer (starting with per-historical archaeological evidence and speculation), this book gives a quick but detailed view of the origins of beer-making by ancient peoples and follows through to the modern micro-brewing revolution in the United States. The book is entertainingly written and occasionally touches on major historical events when they are in some way related to beer (like Hitler's Beer Hall Putch). The book also gives one page information sheets on all the maj ...more
Kyle Smucker
Dec 25, 2015 rated it liked it
As a fan of both graphic novels and beer, this was a delight to read. I have some qualms, though.

First, the classic comic book art is my least favorite style of the medium, looking more like superman meets Mary Worth than the art comics and zines I find less predictable. However, the simple style does work well for non-fiction and there are some creative spins thrown in. Visualizing and cartooning the brewing process was especially cool.

Second, this book is laughably pro-beer, crediting beer w
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Rod Brown
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Put it in comic book form, and I will pretty much read about anything, even the history of a beverage that I have only sipped a couple times in my entire life and rejected as tasting godawful. This book isn't godawful, but the reliance on hyperbole, mythology and conspiracy theory makes it of dubious value as a history even while making the early chapters sort of fun. The majority of the book is quite dry in art and writing and descends into a stiffly-illustrated concordance of every mention of ...more
Jane
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
How did beer come to be? Why was it connected to sacred ceremonies (the answers to these two questions are related!)? Why, with all the fantastically diverse and complex varieties is it often looked down upon compared to wine? How did the different types come to be? And who thought up using hops? Answers to these puzzles and many more are delivered via great drawings, good narrative, surprisingly comprehensive ties to history, descriptions of a few brews you may wish to try, and more. If you're ...more
Balthasaar
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
I really hate the taste of beer. This book did not change that.
but I dig comics and my partner is a beer-snob so I got this for us to read together. And I'm very glad I did. [Thanks to Maria for the recommendation!]

I was genuinely enthralled by how this history/taxonomy told dramatic stories of how science, technology, religion, and politics have impacted beer and brewers through the ages.

Good stuff. And now I know what lots of those fancy beer words mean.
Without having to drink allot of bee
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Adan
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pretty good history of the world's favorite alcoholic beverage from ancient times to the modern day. It's filled with history, anecdote, and most importantly, science! It's told in an easy-to-read manner, though it can get a bit dry in some places. I did enjoy the 'Meet the Beer' sections though, where different kinds of beers were profiled in full-page spreads.

I will freely admit that I probably gave this book an extra star because it has a random cameo of my small childhood hometown of Porte
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CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
I like beer. I like graphic novels.

But I'm lukewarm about this.

Sort of all over the place but with a decent premise (I like to assume the grocery guy is the narrator). This had moments of decent art but the story read like a Senior research paper.

It's a good novelty but it had potential that it just didn't reach.

If you can get it from the library by all means do so but there are better books explaining the history of beer.
Evan Sass
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The meat of this book is a detailed and fascinating history of beer. It is surrounded by a sort of goofy story of someone going to the store to buy "beer" for a party and getting educated by the store's beer sommelier. This goofy overarching plot is thankfully brief. An enjoyable read.
Beth Wisniewski
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Learned quite a bit about beer that I never knew and also that I much more enjoy drinking it than reading about it.
David Schummer
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. As a kid I was always a big fan of comic books, and as a 21.5 year old I am a big fan of craft beer. Not to mention being a chemical engineering student enthralled with fermentation and an avid foodie, too. What a mingling of worlds this read was!

The book is filled to the brim - pun intended - with great information about beer, its history, and importance in one form or another to society. McConnell’s artistic style helps to deliver these concepts with the flair only beer dese
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Michael Scott
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, comics
The Comic Book Story of Beer is a chronological story of beer, in comics format. Overall, good information about beer, but just too many issues with the general story, history, and visuals.

What I liked?
1. Topic. Living in a country that is both a major producer of normal beer and a major consumer of specialty beer, I found myself interested in the topic. This book covers both the origins and technical description of about ten major types of beer. I found the recommendations per type of beer bia
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Roman Stadtler
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Fun read, though it felt like Hennessey was trying to hard in the early chapters to convince us that beer was super important in humankind's history (I think anybody picking up this thick GN is already along for that ride; he didn't have to sell it so hard), and there was some awkward uses of the comic medium, such as the sudden appearance of little metaphorical Tonka toylike steam shovel representations of yeast that show up long before the industrial revolution, yet aren't really hinted at as ...more
Joey
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 19-favorites
Do you enjoy beer? Do you have beer-appreciating friends with upcoming birthdays? I’ve got just the book for you! The Comic Book Story of Beer is a gorgeously and ornately illustrated history of the brewski. As the title implies, the 173 pages of this book covers everything from the misty origins of beer through prohibition, homogenization, and the recent fanning out of styles and breweries. It’s not too detailed to boring for the casual drinker, and it’s not so broad that beer nerds won’t learn ...more
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Can’t imagine your life without fiction? Can’t imagine your life without nonfiction? Then you’re a lot like me. I often find nothing more entertaining than some scrupulously researched historical account; and no better learning experience than a thoroughly made-up-from-whole-cloth story.

So I read (and write) both — often in deep dives into the fascinating backgrounds of everyday people and everyda
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