The Beer Bible by Jeff Alworth is an ambitious title. The use of the word Bible implies an all-encompassing coverage of the topic in question. The 644 page tome does indeed go into great detail on mankind’s favorite beverage, and is a comprehensive guide to everything beer, with sections covering the history of brewing, how beer is made, and the author’s descriptions of 52 breweries in six countries he’s visited over his two years of research spanning more than 17,000 miles.

A large portion of the book is devoted to delving into the four beer families—ales, lagers, wheat beers, and tart and wild ales—with more than 100 beer styles—from IPA to lambic, porter to pilsner, sahti to saison—with in-depth profiles of each.

Historians will appreciate the background provided on each style and how that style came to be, influences of geography and history, the little-known lore and amusing anecdotes, the ingredients and flavors and how it’s progressed over the years.

Those looking for a guide to beers they’d like to try have a bevy of specific beer descriptions and factual info about the brewery they are brewed at, to steer them towards broadening their beer horizons.

Travelers will appreciate a guide to beer tourism that includes global pub culture, the best way to order another round in various countries, must-visit breweries and beer festivals around the world, and virtual tours of 18 of the world’s most fascinating, innovative, and storied breweries.

Also included are infographics to explain and illustrate essential beer knowledge such as the brewing process, appropriate glassware for each beer, how to decipher a label, how to say “Cheers!” in various languages, a description of pub games and a primer on food pairings that includes the “three Cs”—complement, contrast, or cut.

Appendixes are devoted to a glossary of beer terms, style origin maps, descriptions of hop varieties, a bibliography and index.

What makes The Beer Bible an easy read are the photographs, maps, and illustrations throughout. I found it easy to peruse and hard to put down, and suspect any true student of beer would as well.

The author, Jeff Alworth, lives in Portland, Oregon and has been writing about beer for more than 15 years. He is the author of The Beer Tasting Toolkit and Cider Made Simple and has also written for Draft, All About Beer, Sunset, The Oregonian, and other publications, as well as his popular site, Beervana.

The Beer Bible is published by Workman Publishing. For more information or to order the book, visit