So synonymous is local beer writer Jeff Alworth with Portland beer that his long-running blog is named Beervana. For virtually two straight years he has turned his attention, and frequent flyer miles, to exploring the entire world of beer—yes, it exists beyond our tasty little bubble—for a tome of biblical proportions. Join him tonight at Belmont Station for the release of The Beer Bible (Workman Publishing).
This may be a cheap trick for a book that puts beer into words, but let’s start with some numbers to illustrate how voluminous those words are. Alworth traveled some 17,000 miles to research this book. (Be jealous, but also be reverential since that’s easier said than done.) He wrote over 600 pages' worth. And the book weighs 1.14 pounds. But here’s the most impressive number: one. The Beer Bible was written by one man. Put that in contrast to The Oxford Companion to Beer, which required 166 contributors (of which I was one) from 24 countries.
Delving so deeply into so many facets of the world’s second favorite beverage (after tea) in just two years seems unfathomable. Two years? It would take even the most dedicated beer lover to find himself or herself in half as many places over twice the timespan just to drink the beers, let alone write about their styles, ingredients, and appellations in this much depth.
As for the content itself, it is simultaneously geared toward newbies, mid-grade beer lovers, and high-octane geeks. It is both a jumping-off point and a refresher course, and contains beer travel insights that even the most globetrotting beer nerds will salivate over. Hundreds of beer styles and brands are dissected, spanning the globe and the ages.
And it does not require reading starting on the first page, since experiencing beer has always been like those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Why, just flipping to, say, page 479, readers learn about Anchor Steam beer from San Francisco, whereas a page earlier we’re learning about zoigl breweries—think the community garden of brewing—that are popular in a region of the Czech Republic called the Oberpfalz, dating back centuries.
(Sidenote: Alworth's other book, Cider Made Simple, comes out in a month.)
I’m sure Gideon was cool and all, but just imagine how awesome it’d be if travelers checking into hotels, or local Airbnbs, opened their nightstand drawers and found Alworth’s Beer Bible instead. (Another sidenote: Workman Publishing previously published The Wine Bible, which now has 550,000 copies in print.)
Tonight, August 11, the book, ridiculously fair in price at $20, can be purchased at Broadway Books and signed by the author at Belmont Station (4500 SE Stark) starting at 5 pm, with a speech and toast around 6 pm.
On Thursday, August 13, Alworth will be signing at the new Block 15 Taproom (3415 SW Deschutes) in Corvallis at 6:30-8:30 pm.
On Saturday, August 15, he’ll be at Ninkasi Brewing (272 Van Buren) in Eugene at noon-1:30 pm.
And finally, on Monday, August 31 back closer to home, he’ll be at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing (3415 SW Cedar Hills) in Beaverton at 7 pm.