Joshua M. Bernstein is a fountain of beer-centric knowledge, and if you found yourself sitting next to him at the bar you’d probably get your ears filled with talk of saisons, cask ales, and Berliner weisses.
Brewed Awakening, subtitled Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution, is well-written in an engaging style, but it’s clear from the get-go that Bernstein’s strength is in talking about beers and not beer. What do I mean? Bernstein’s book waxes poetic about dozens, perhaps hundreds, of individual bottlings of beer, including commentary from their brewers. What it doesn’t succeed in is organizing this in a coherent and easily searchable way.
In large part this is a design problem. The entire book is printed on what looks to be butcher paper — which is fine — but headings and subheadings are not well signposted. Each of the sections in the book is backed by a sidebar — sometimes quite expensive — with “beers to try” that match what Bernstein is talking about. Helpful material, but you have to flip around a lot to match the beers to the section they’re in — which isn’t necessarily well-named — and the font this is presented in is meant to look like all-caps handwriting. This can go on for several pages, and it it’s very hard to read.
Flipping around in Brewed Awakening may help beer nuts find a few new brews to try, but those looking for an in-depth encyclopedia of how various beers are made should check out Drinkology Beer instead.
B+ / $15 / [BUY IT FROM AMAZON]