I've been a bit of a beer bore recently. "Nothing new there I hear you say", but more than usual anyway, though a hop bore would be more precise. I really need to give it a bit of rest, and get out for some fresh air.
But having said that there's always more to learn about beer, and as I now own the Oxford Companion to Beer I have been dipping into it. The book caused some controversy amongst my fellow internet beer nerds when it came out, and it was suggested you should wait for the second edition before getting a copy. But I couldn't be doing with waiting for years so I got a copy for xmas.
Most of the criticism focused on some of history parts that were, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. From the few articles I've looked at I wouldn't say the book is rubbish, though it's not brilliant either, it's more a mixed bag of the good and the bad jumbled up.
There are articles from world class experts: when you see they've got Geoff Palmer writing about the aleurone you know they've not only got an expert, but the right expert. Some of the articles are not so good though, in fact they look like they've been written after a quick google. The editing looks decidedly ropey in places too: there's an entry for Corn (maize) but further on there's an entry for Maize (corn) by a different author. And I've spotted one absolute howler, which I'm sure will shock you as much as it shocked me, when it says Staphylococcus and Clostridium are Gram negative. That one got me ranting, oh yes.
I have joined the wiki that was set up to comment on the book so I can point out the things I've spotted but I really do have more important things to be getting on with. Like obsessing about the origin of hop varieties.