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Miracle Brew: Hops, Barley, Water, Yeast and the Nature of Beer

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, but few who enjoy it know much about how its four ingredients – malted barley, hops, yeast and water – miraculously combine.

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
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by Unbound
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  85 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
enjoyed this detailed book looking at the 4 things needed to make beer
52/45 books read in 2017
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Great resource for anyone interested in beer, the production of beer or just who are interested in the production and history of produce. This book is divided into 6 parts: the Nature of Beer, the 4 ingredients (barley, water, hops, yeast), and Reinheitsgebot. This makes it easy for the reader to start with the ingredient that interests them the most (or they know least about).

Personally I loved all of the history
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beer
Entertaining read, basically about the four ingredients of beer.

"All four of beer's basic ingredients are perfectly natural, but each one has been carefully modified, each subjected to a long history of scientific exploration."

Brown, longtime beer writer, starts off this book with his surprise about the collective ignorance about beer. Not among fellow beer geeks but the general public. For one of the most popular beverages in the world people generally know very little about it's ingredients
Murray Slater
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pete has made me fall in love with beer all over again with this book. Being a professional beer judge and being a bit saturated with beer recently my love had waned. However this incredible well-woven account of beer's four ingredients which explores the microbiological, the history, the politics, the social economics and the absurd of beer. Beer truly is a miracle and if you don't believe me read this book. Read it with a good beer in hand and as you swallow each sip and read your appreciation ...more
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Miracle Brew is a fantastic, fascinating look at the four seemingly-simple ingredients that go into every beer: barley, yeast, water and hops. Rather than a how-to for brewing or a guidebook for best beers, this book tells you the backstory - WHY humans have made and drank beer for thousands of years, and WHY we love it.

Though Brown could've gone full nerd and gotten too into the weeds
Carole Sparks
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"American hops are widescreen and loud, occasionally brash and overbearing, but always exciting. ... By contrast, European hops are more reserved. Central European Noble Hops are elegant and refined, while English ale hops such as Fuggles and Goldings are earthy and rustic..." (pg. 132-133)

If you find the above quote interesting, you will like this book. Part travel journal (which I love), part history, and part science book, Miracle Brew lifts the lid on beer barrels around the world to show us
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy a good craft beer and enjoy having conversations about the beer when I am at a brewery. I have learned a lot about beers and brewing over the years, but I wanted to learn more. I hate asking too many questions. This book is divided into six sections with numerous chapters in each section. Those sections are The Nature of Beer, Barley, Water, Hops, Yeast, and Reinheitsgebot. Each of these sections is broken into various topic related chapters. While I looked to read this book to ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also known as "Adventures in the Nature of Beer" Pete Brown, the award-winning food and drink writer travels Europe and America exploring each of the main components of beer i.e. malt, hops, yeast and water. He visits farms, laboratories, breweries and festivals speaking to a wide range of experts across the field. This results in a well-researched and fascinating exploration into the nature of the ingredients as well as providing excellent anecdotes, stories and occasional farce or tragedy. ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sponsored through as a crowd-funded publication this is a fascinating and wide-ranging tour through the ingredients of beer in its many forms.

I've taken a shine to Pete Brown's writing after reading three of his earlier books but this is in quite a different league, frankly, in its coverage and scope.

Written in Pete's usual friendly, chatty and conversational style, it covers not only the ingredients of beer but also a lot of the history and developments in brewing and brewer's
Chad Walker
Very, very entertaining. Not to overdo the comparison, but like a good brew, this tale is one that you can either take in quickly, just enjoying the ride, or you can dip in and out of slowly, savoring its components. Brown has a dry, jokey sense of humor (British Dad jokes is the best descriptor I can muster), and the individual chapters seem almost incidental at times, but as someone who seriously thinks about and reads about beer on an almost daily basis, I was still surprised a few dozen ...more
Michael Travis
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With this book you take a journey with Pete Brown, as in his other books, on a beer filled adventure. All the ingredients are exhaustively discussed with colorful stories tied to each. A nice read for those that are casual beer drinkers or serious craft beer geeks that enjoy the history and makings of this treasured drink!
Peter Hall
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hugely informative and an entertaining read. A must for all beer devotees.
Kevin Louth
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic read from Pete Brown. Informative, accessible and funny throughout.
Lesley Arrowsmith
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Pete Brown's writing - and I know a lot more about what goes into beer now!
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting exploration of beer and beer ingredients with some travelogue thrown in for good measure.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Have you ever had a conversation with someone (at a party etc) who is passionately fond of and knowledgeable about a subject? Those people I've met who are really really REALLY into something, a hobby, a passionate study of a particular subject, even the most obscure things, generally enjoy talking about them.

One of two things happen, after 20 minutes or so, you're willing to fake a heart attack to get away from them or you're suddenly catching the fever and find yourself signing up for a
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There is more than one author with this name

Pete Brown is an English writer who has written extensively on the subject of beer and drinking cultures around the world. He has written three books; Man Walks Into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind, and Hops and Glory. Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and now lives in London.

Above bio is from Wikipedia. Photo is from Flickr user epicbeer.