A celebration of beer-its science, its history, and its impact on human culture What can beer teach us about biology, history, and the natural world? From ancient Mesopotamian fermentation practices to the resurgent American craft brewery, Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall peruse the historical record and traverse the globe for engaging and often surprising stories about beer. They explain how we came to drink beer, what ingredients combine to give beers their distinctive flavors, how beer's chemistry works at the molecular level, and how various societies have regulated the production and consumption of beer. Drawing from such diverse subject areas as animal behavior, ecology, history, archaeology, chemistry, sociology, law, genetics, physiology, neurobiology, and more, DeSalle and Tattersall entertain and inform with their engaging stories of beer throughout human history and the science behind it all. Readers are invited to grab a beer and explore the fascinating history of its creation.
An imaginative natural history survey of the wide world of spirits, from whiskey and gin to grappa and moonshine In this follow-up book to A Natural History of Wine and A Natural History of Beer, authors Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall yet again use alcoholic beverages as a lens through which to gain a greater appreciation of natural history. This volume considers highly alcoholic spirits in the context of evolution, ecology, history, primatology, molecular biology, physiology, neurobiology, chemistry, and even astrophysics. With the help of illustrator Patricia Wynne, DeSalle and Tattersall address historical and cultural aspects and ingredients, the distillation process, and spirits and their effects. They also call on an international group of colleagues to contribute chapters on brandy, vodka, tequila, whiskies, gin, rum, eaux-de-vie, schnapps, baiju, grappa, ouzo, and cachaca. Covering beverages from across the globe and including descriptions of the experience of tasting each drink, this book offers an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the scientific dimensions of spirits.