Monday, 13 May 2013

The Oxford Coma

I have finally emerged into the light from the long time I spent immersed in the The Oxford Companion to Beer. The bizarrely polarised reactions this book generated on publication made it a must have for me, and as I intended to study the book closely it seemed appropriate to record on the OCBeer wiki anywhere I felt they'd gone wrong or an entry was lacking.

After I'd finished reading the letter A I wrote a review, most of which I still stand by. I carried on letter after letter, though after about half way my enthusiasm did wane a bit and I took some long breaks. Fortunately for me Martyn Cornell was also going through the book and putting comments on the wiki so on several occasions after reading inaccurate entries and with a heavy heart going to the wiki to start typing I was delighted to find fulsome corrections already written.

But whereas Martyn, despite his reservations, sounded more positive about the book in the end I must admit I have become more critical. Despite my dedicated beer nerdery I eventually came to realise the significance of Phil's comments about not knowing which bits are untrustworthy. There were some entries in there that I'd found interesting and informative until I got to the end and saw they could be complete Horst shit. That some entries in the OCB just cannot be trusted undermines the whole book.

Though Garrett Oliver is a great brewer and writer, and editing the book must have been an enormous amount of work, ultimate responsibility for the flaws in the book lie with him, and I can't help but think that he wasn't the right person for the job.


  1. Hi Ed,

    Brilliant title for this - made me chuckle!


  2. Cheers Jeremy, I do like to try and work obscure references into my posts and it's always nice to see when someone notices.