For millennia, beer has been a favorite beverage in cultures across the globe. After water and tea, it is the most popular drink in the world, and it is at the center of a $450 billion industry. Beer is, as the saying goes, "proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." The first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, The Oxford Companion to Beer features more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 160 of the world''s most prominent beer experts. Attractively illustrated with over 140 images, the book covers everything from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and the social and political implications of sharing a beer. Readers will enjoy vivid accounts of how our drinking traditions have changed throughout history, and how these traditions vary in different parts of the world, from Japan to Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil, among many other countries. The pioneers of beer-making are the subjects of biographical entries, and the legacies these pioneers have left behind, in the form of the world''s most popular beers and breweries, are recurrent themes throughout the book. Packed with information, this comprehensive resource also includes thorough appendices (covering beer festivals, beer magazines, and more), conversion tables, and an index.