Book Review – Lager by Mark Dredge

I have already posted about my excitement for this new book about Lager from Mark Dredge and I finally got my package from Powell’s in the mail and dug into it quickly.

And there is a lot to like about the book. Dredge starts with a bang, in Germany with the Reinheitsgebot. But that tone of beer fan then cuts to lager history and that playfulness goes with it to an extent. It is clear there are some aspects of lager that really excite him, like the dive bars of Vietnam where gas tanks hold the beer and other areas where it seems he had to include to complete the story but leaves quickly like China.

This split personality structure stopped me from enjoying the book especially in the latter half which becomes a chapter by chapter tour of various countries and their part in the lager legacy.

I would have liked to have seen a more novella approach. Part 1 being German lagers and the foursome of brewers who started it. Part 2 being the American side of the story. Part 3 Asian influence and then Part 4 could slide into talk of the future. Then Dredge could have really dove in and the anecdotes would have packed more punch.

Overall, there are a lot of golden nuggets of lager knowledge to be found within the pages but the book’s momentum stalls out too many times.