Author: Horst D. Dornbusch
This book is a wonderful primer on the rich history of German beer and brewing. Dornbusch takes us on an adventure spanning 3000 years, from the brewers of the fertile crescent all the way to modern German brew masters. It is a great book for anyone who loves both interesting history and well crafted beer. History truly comes alive as you flip through the pages of this outstanding history book.
In the beginning, Dornbusch describes the origins of brewing, starting with the first accidental batch of homebrew. He then explains the progression of brewing in the ancient world, explaining the socioeconomic impact that beer has had throughout time. We learn how inseparably tied the bakery and the brewery were and what a huge impact beer played in the lives of every day people. He then marches forward, discussing the role of the church and the state as they battled for supremacy over what could reasonably be described as the most important beverage of their existence. The book weaves through time, highlighting various landmarks in German brewing history.
Towards the end of the book, Dornbusch tells us about the evolution of modern German beer styles. We learn about the rivalry between the Cologne Kölsch and the Dortmunder Alt beer, along with many other fun and unique facts about the beers we know and love today. It gives the drinker a whole new perspective when they discover the history inside of their beer stein. Some of the beers covered include: Hefeweisse, Dunkel, Alt, Kölsch, Pilsner, Helles, and many others.
As a huge beer nerd and a general lover of history, I could not put this book down. Not only is the information interesting, but the writing style is very entertaining with a definite element of the author’s pleasant personality coming through in every page. The only flaw to this book is the flow of information, which seems to skip around through various points in time. To the author’s credit, he does an excellent job making a cohesive tale out of a chaotic history. Overall it is an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who loves brewing history.