Without beer, many would say college life would be different.
Charles Bamforth, author of the new third edition of Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing would take it a step further and say that life itself would be incomplete without this popular drink.
Bamforth has served up his new book with roughly 30 to 40 more pages of added material on beer and brewing. Bamforth has been at UC Davis for ten years, serving as UC Davis‘ Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences and former chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology.
Bamfoth taps into the hearts of students every quarter with UC Davis‘ third most popular class, “Intro to Beer and Brewing” (Food Science and Technology 003).
The California Aggie spoke with Bamforth about his new book edition and insights with the world of beer.
What changes have occurred in the brewing industry since 2003, when the second edition of your book was published?
The brewing industry has changed a lot. I know that Miller and Coors are merging their interests in North America. There has been a huge growth in the market with China, changes in what types of beer are being drunk and so on. So there have been a huge number of changes that I wanted to update.
Also, I have expanded the book quite a lot, I have put new sections in, and I’ve added lots of new sidebars and a whole different range of technical issues and also things like advances in the understanding impact of beer on health. I move into historical things like how Margaret Thatcher is decimating the British brewing industry.
In your second edition you say that beer “can make a significant and beneficial contribution to the diet.” What contributions to health can beer make?
Well [beer] is now recognized by most people around the world that the active ingredient in alcohol drinks that puts down the risk of your blood vessels from blocking atherosclerosis, the inactivity of alcohol. So beer just like wine, in moderation can certainly, for drinkers later in life, cut down their risk of atherosclerosis [syndrome affecting arterial blood vessels].
I also point out there are lot of studies which indicate that moderate consumption of beer cuts down the risk of kidney stones, of osteoporosis, of late onset diabetes, and much more. Beer has got some nutritional value; it has a significant source of vitamin B. So, it is not empty calories it actually has some nutritional components.
Is there any new information in the third edition that students can look forward to reading about?
Well, the second edition was described as “brilliant” not to be egotistical – I would like to think that if the second edition was brilliant than the third is even more brilliant. My ego and modesty will prevent me from saying that. What I tried to do is put into one book a lot of information about the beer world, the beer markets and beer industry. But also to lead the reader quite gently into the technical issues of making beer which are very, very complicated. The book will be the standard text for my “Introduction to beer and brewing” class, FST 3, which is the class where we introduce people into the wonderful world of beer.
Did you drink any beer during the course of writing this book? For research purposes?
Of course. I also ate, bathed, taught, breathed, meditated …
Where is the most beer consumed in the world?
The top volume of beer brewed is the biggest in China, so the biggest beer market is China. The per capita consumption, the most that people drink individually, is the Czech Republic.
Anything else you would like to add about your new book?
It’s a wonderful book, perfect for a Christmas or holiday present for everybody in the family [laughs]. But really, it is a labor of love. The fact that it went to a third edition speaks to the fact that it is unlike other books that you will find on beer … in this book I really go into the heart of beer, what it is and what it means sociologically around the world.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.