With what dynamic ascendancy does Ken Wells wield such hypnotic power in his quest throughout the American brewing landscape? Travels With Barley – A Journey Through Beer Culture in America, published by Free Press/ Simon & Shuster, 2004, may well become the premier Bible for an industry that has undergone explosive achievement, particularly since the craft-brew revolution began in the United States some twenty-seven years ago.
A long-time career journalist originally hailing from Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, Ken Wells is a Wall Street Journal Pulitzer Prize finalist with a gift for weaving a masterpiece in words. His “River of Beer” extends the length of the Mississippi, from the heart of Minnesota to the delta of Louisiana. Along the way, he displays a tapestry of the finest hops and malts, accented with an exuberance for the complexity that is the heart of the brewing world.
Wells satisfies the thirst of beer lovers - from the social drinker to the aficionado - with tales of gangsters, extreme beer brewers, power giants and designer ingredients – all the while, searching for exemplary examples of the "perfect beer joint" in an industry that boasts of creative entrepreneurs and cordial camaraderie.
He diverts this journey to extend beyond the limits of the Mississippi. An incurable hophead, Wells explores the ultimate in triple zymurgy and designer beer, speaks with experts like Garrett Oliver and the relationship of beer to food, and explores the accomplishments of the contemporary capital of the brewing world, also known as “Brewvana.” We can glimpse into the far reaches of California’s beer-yeast rustlers. “Among the Yeast People, there is nothing simple or ordinary about beer yeast. It is beautiful, glorious, mysterious, magical, sexy, and, of course, to them, the single most important ingredient in beer,” writes Wells.
This is a must-read for all beer lovers throughout the North American continent! The Beer Fox recommendation: Travels With Barley – A Journey Through Beer Culture in America, by Ken Wells.