30 Second Beer

30 Second Beer. Edited by Sophie Atherton. Ivy Press. 2019. 160 pp. Hbk. £14.99.

This well illustrated book covers 50 beer related topics each of which is explained in around 200 words.  There are also various glossaries of beer terms and some short biographical essays. The book is edited by Sophie Atherton who is a British beer writer, journalist and PR consultant.  She was the first women in the UK to be accredited as a Beer Sommelier. She has written for the Guardian and Morning Advertise and this is her first book.

The short articles are written by some of our best known beer writers including: Pete Brown, Jeff Evans and Roger Protz as well as Sophie Atherton.  The book is divided into seven chapters: Basics, History, Brewing, Beer Styles, Beer Culture, Beer Industry and Beer Appreciation.

We learn about people such as Josef Grohl (1813 – 1887) who invented Pilsner lager and Ernest Salmon (1871 – 1959) who was the founding father of hop breeding.  Michael Jackson ((1942 – 2007) the founder of modern beer writing and Arthur Guinness) 1725 – 1803) founder of the brewing dynasty all get a well-researched entry.

We learn about the individual ingredients of beer: water, malt, yeast and hops as well as the main beer styles.  There are entries on home brewing, pubs, beer tasting, storage and beer festivals.  The book is written for a UK readership which makes a change from the many international titles that are around.

It is a very well designed book with each full page article complimented by some original beer related images. This seems to be a trend with many beer books in that they are meant to be looked at as well as read.  Personally I would have swapped some of the illustrations for lengthier articles or perhaps a more comprehensive look at beer styles. This would make a good present for a beer lover as it covers almost everything you need to know about beer from its history to the current craft beer revolution.

David Harris