Ancient Brews

Rediscovered and Re-created
Narrated by: Tom Perkins
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: History, World
4.2 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Patrick E. McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time to the dawn of brewing, when our ancestors might well have made a paleo brew of wild fruits, honey, cereals, and botanicals. Early beverage makers must have marveled at the magical process of fermentation. Their amazement grew as they drank the mind-altering drinks, which were to become the medicines, religious symbols, and social lubricants of later cultures.

McGovern recounts how the re-created ancient ales and spirits of Dogfish Head came about as he circles the globe - to China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico. He interweaves archaeology and science and tells the stories and struggles in making the most authentic versions possible of these liquid time capsules. Accompanying homebrew interpretations - brimming with unusual spicy, fruity, and malty aromas and tastes - help bring the past alive as our senses and imaginations travel the globe.

©2017 Patrick E. McGovern; foreword copyright 2017 by Sam Calagione (P)2017 Tantor

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Such a shame, especially as an audiobook

This book, the further I get into it, feels more like a 6 hour ad for dogfish head beers, and less like anything else. There are a slew of problems with the book, but the two main ones are that: 1) the archaeology (which is good) is all done in service to highlighting the gravitas of the company rather than informing the reader about cultures and 2) the crafting chapters are tensionless, haughty, banal crawls that can all be summarized in the same sentence: “we found some interesting things, but not enough to make a beverage true to form, so we made it up, and Sam made a cute sticker, and everyone loved it.” Rinse and repeat. Often, the author and narrative entirely lack engagement, and the steps/setbacks taken to arrive at conclusions too often read like someone complaining about how their company weekend getaway was, “we had trouble getting things back from the airport, and we struggled to get the FDA to approve of xyz.” These do not feel like real problems that require complex thinking and solutions, but rather details that add nothing to the context, (again, other than to advertise dogfish head). If nothing else, I don’t want to hear about company getaway problems from people I personally know, let alone some person I’ve never met. The part where I laughed the hardest and had to stop what I was doing though, more than anything else, was when the narrator read off ingredient and recipe lists that were pages long. At one point, someone walked in just fo ask what the hell I was listening to, to which I responded with complete admission, “I have literally no idea.” Kudos to the narrator for doing it, but after the 9th recipe, I looked to find the accompanying PDF of the recipes, which of course must have been there, since it makes zero sense to do it just by oral narration right? Wrong. There is no pdf, so if you want just the recipes, you need to get a hard copy, which makes this, at least to me, effectively a waste of time. Save yourself the time, and buy the hardcopy, (or don’t, since it’s not that great of a story).

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect World Pat loved it

I have always wanted to learn about beer and other fermented beverages from the ground up. this is truly the most comprehensive record available of man kinds genesis in brewing. And a great bunch of adventure stories. loved it.