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197 × 120 × 17 mm
160 pages
57 illustrations, 37 in colour
01 Apr 2014

Beer A Global History Gavin D. Smith

Pilsners, blonde ales, India pale ales, lagers, porters, stouts: the varieties and styles of beer are endless. But as diverse as the drink is, its appeal is universal – beer is the most-consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. From pubs and inns to restaurants, bars and microbreweries, beer has made itself a staple drink around the globe. Celebrating the heritage of the world’s favourite tipple, Gavin D. Smith traces beer from its earliest days to its contemporary consumption.

After exploring the evolution of brewing technology, the book travels from Mexico to Milwaukee, Beijing, Bruges and beyond, demonstrating the dazzling variety of beer styles and brewing processes to be found around the world. Once brewed in monasteries to be consumed as ‘liquid bread’ on fast days, beer is now the drink of choice at festivals and celebrations worldwide. Containing a wealth of detail in its concise, wonderfully illustrated pages, Beer will appeal to connoisseurs and casual fans alike.

Beer: A Global History is the latest addition to the Edible Series . . . as reading about food and drink is second only in pleasure to consuming it, this might be one of the most ingenious publishing ideas of all time. Gavin D. Smith traces brewing history from the neolithic peoples of Asia Minor to beers current pre-eminence . . . [a] splendid little book.’ — The Spectator

‘Beer is the world’s most interesting beverage because of the endless local differences in drinking habits, beer styles, and pubs. The world’s biggest brewers are larger and more international than they were in the past . . . But as Gavin Smith shows in this short and engaging book, the familiar global brands are the least interesting ones.’ — The Weekly Standard

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Gavin D. Smith is a freelance journalist and the author of many books and articles on drink-related topics, including The Scottish Beer Bible (2001). He lives in the Scottish Borders.


1. Origins
2. Beer in a Commercial World
3. Beer Comes of Age
4. The Art of Brewing
5. Great Brewing Nations
6. Drinking Beer
7. Beer and Culture

Appendix: Great Beer Brands
Select Bibliography
Websites, Associations, Festivals and Museums
Photo Acknowledgements