And so I was delighted, but not overly surprised, when I discovered a
new book about one of my favorite subjects from Ten Speed Press,
The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from
7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution. The authors make a
great team. Jonathan Hennessey and Aaron McConnell, the author and
illustrator respectively, have published two previous nonfiction graphic
novels dealing with American history, and Mike Smith, who also
appears in the book in the chapter on “The Brewing Process,” is head
brewer at Back East Brewing Company in Bloomfield, Connecticut
and presumably contributed the technical minutiae of the process.
Together they have crafted a most compelling, informative, and above
all fun book about the history and science of beer.
The Comic Book Story of Beer grows from the premise of a young
man who is asked to come meet up with some friends who are
unexpectedly in town. He is instructed to bring the beer, but not, as
his friend makes clear, the stuff he usually drinks. Our hero goes off to
the store (West Point Market as it happens, but whether it is the iconic
specialty store in Akron, Ohio we are left to wonder), but when faced
with the daunting selection of craft brews in the beer aisle (“Lambic?
Bitter? Kölsch? Porter?” Oh my), he panics. Just then a salesperson
steps up, asks if he needs help finding something, and in response to
the man’s obvious bewilderment, launches into a paean to this ancient
and revered beverage that is consumed in some form or another in
virtually every culture on earth.
The authors begin in the ancient world, positing on the origins of
beer – China possibly the earliest, followed by Scotland and elsewhere
– a discovery that was likely made over time in more than one place.
As the authors recount the oblique history and the various legends,
myths, delights and prejudices of beer through the centuries, it
naturally leads to a brilliant chapter on the beer making process in
which they cleverly, and of course graphically, explain the basics of
malting, roasting, fermenting, how yeast works, and a general picture
of the modern brewery.
this ancient and
that is consumed in
some form or another
in virtually every
culture on earth.
5 Quench Beverage Bookshelf