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The World of Beer: Tastes of History, Science, and Culture

From IPA and cream ale to Doppelbock and Rauchbier, taste the fascinating history of beer from around the world.
The World of Beer: Tastes of History, Science, and Culture is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 9.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from The title was right on with the lectures. Dr. J Jackson-Beckham did an outstanding job in these 12 lectures. Taking us through the history of beer to modern times. Her passion for beer is clearly shown in the ways she presented her lectures.
Date published: 2024-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Straight to the point Level headed and highly informative. Jackson-Beckam gets her point across with economy and clarity without ever being dull.
Date published: 2023-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Most Excellent Course As the presenter mentioned Wondrium has two courses about beer. The first I watched was The Everyday Guide to Beer presented by Charles W. Bamforth. And now there is this one, The World of Beer presented by J. Jackson-Beckham. As Professor Jackson-Beckham mentioned, they do complement each other very nicely. A bit of confession, that tells more about me than it does anything else. When I have thought about a “beer expert” the image I had in mind was more in the line of Mr. Bamforth. The lesson here is do not go by stereotypes. Professor Jackson-Beckham is passionate about her subject, and very versed in beer and the history and culture of beer. I had no idea there was such a thing as a Cicerone. I have a buddy who is home brewer. I only thought he was super passionate about beers until I encountered this lady. I’ve been spouting off facts I learned in this course to anyone who would listen. I enjoyed it immensely, but then I do love trying different types of beer. If you like beer or history or both, I heartily recommend this course.
Date published: 2023-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best of over 100 courses I've watched! As a long-time Great Courses/Wondrium user, I'm always surprised at how they keep coming up with interesting new topics. Last year, I watched a series on one of my favorite subjects - beer. The expert was engaging, fun and knowledgeable. I only wished there was even more on the topic. Then I discovered this new offering. I was captivated by the prof's knowledge and passion for beer. She explored history, economics, science, cultural of beer, and s wonderfully tied them all together to explain why so many of us love beer. And I highly recommend watching the series if for no other reason than her "tastings" in each episode. She selects, opens and tastes a variety of beers, and is so good at her descriptions that I can almost taste the beer myself. Finally, some will and some will not enjoy her wrap-up to the course since she editorializes her thoughts on beer in culture. Personally, I enjoyed her perspective and thought it was a perfect ending to an excellent course. Drink up! POSTSCRIPT: if you're wondering whether to watch this series on the world of beer or the other one on the everyday guide to beer, I suggest watching both! They're very different, and insightful in their own ways. I would suggest you start with this series to get the background, and then move on to the everyday guide to beer.
Date published: 2023-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Done! Bravo! Deep knowledge of subject matter! I learned a lot. Very inspiring
Date published: 2023-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful class, even if you're not a beer-drinker The prof covers history, archaeology, taste, composition of the beers. If you are a typical beer lover, listening to her technical dissertations on smell, mouth feel, taste will blow your mind. Beer may have been the impetus to the development of the domestication of grain - bread, etc.! - according to archaeologists. Getting to know how beer has been part of our human ancestry with this instructor is - great fun! The ways that beer intertwines with cultures around the world, and how we can learn about so many non-beer subjects by studying beer - pure science. So science, history, culture - this is a great education experience - and great, great fun! The video presentation - seated, close ups, etc - is so superior to the older-style standing and walking. Feels more cozy and has to be easier for the prof. Kudos, kudos!
Date published: 2023-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Course I enjoyed this exploration of beer from many perspectives and learned a great deal about history in the process. Professor Jackson-Beckham is an excellent presenter and knows her material very well. I enjoyed the visuals in the course and the perspectives that the professor offered. I previously completed the Everyday Guide to Beer and The World of Beer Course is a fantastic combination. I now have a much more informed approach to tasting various beers and appreciate the flavors they offer.
Date published: 2023-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The World of Beer - A survey, History and Taste Professor J Jackson Beckham provides the learner with an excellent survey of the history, tradition and tastes of beer. I greatly enjoyed the professor actually tasting and evaluating the beer in each lesson. The beers selected for tasting are generally historical pillars of the beer world, each with an established exemplary legacy in their category. Professor Beckham delivered a tasting review that the learner could actually imagine. I found myself walking through the varied variety tasting with my own sample and comparing flare notes. I would have hope the professor would have enhanced the Imperial Stout session with a discussion of the history of Russian Imperial Stouts and the current bourbon barreled aged Russian Imperial Stout rage, one that is the highest priced beers currently. I also, would have enjoyed a discussion of the global battle for who can develop the highest alcohol content beer which currently stands at 67.5%, (Scottish beer Brewmeister Snake Venom). Also, the discussion of Small Beer, a veery low alcohol beer used where local water quality is/was so poor a weak beer was supplanted in it place. Very common is the coal ming area of eastern Pennsylvania during the 1940's. This is an excellent course, one I greatly enjoyed, and if coupled with the previous EXCELLENT beer course: The Everyday Guide to Beer: provides the learner with a deep and rich view of the tasty world of beer!
Date published: 2023-06-24
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Overview

What can beer teach us about the great wide world? In The World of Beer: Tastes of History, Science, and Culture, beer educator and expert J Jackson-Beckham has crafted an engaging, highly interactive series that looks at—and invites you to taste—beer through the lens of history, mythology, botany, marketing, and more.

About

J Jackson-Beckham

Beer is woven throughout the history of civilization. It offers us a window into a human endeavor that dates back 13,000 years.

INSTITUTION

Brewers Association

J Jackson-Beckham is the Equity & Inclusion Partner for the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association for American craft brewers, and is the founder of Crafted for All, a consultancy and professional development platform. She earned her PhD in Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has published extensively on various aspects of beer history and the modern beer industry. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, USA TODAY, and VICE and by the James Beard Foundation. In 2020, she was named the Beer Person of the Year by Imbibe magazine.

By This Expert

The World of Beer: Tastes of History, Science, and Culture
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The World of Beer: Tastes of History, Science, and Culture

Trailer

Beer Tasting: From Helles to Lambics

01: Beer Tasting: From Helles to Lambics

Start your adventures in the world of beer with a step-by-step look at the best way to taste beer. You’ll explore how to choose the right glassware (or adapt to what you have on hand), how to pour a beer correctly, and the four sensory markers you want to evaluate every time you take a sip of a new beer.

35 min
Beer Archaeology: Civilization and Ancient Ale

02: Beer Archaeology: Civilization and Ancient Ale

What if a beer could take you back in time? What would it tell you about the people and places of the past? Find out with a dive into ancient history and archaeology as seen through the lens of beer. Topics include the brewing cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and the Indus River Valley—plus a guided tasting of an Ethiopian mead.

35 min
Beer Biology: Yeast, Fermenting, and Saisons

03: Beer Biology: Yeast, Fermenting, and Saisons

Plunge into the fascinating science of yeast and the microbiology that drives brewing. Along the way, taste a couple of beer styles that illustrate some of the biochemical processes involved in the art of brewing: a saison (fermented with a specialized yeast strain) and an Oud Bruin, or Flanders Brown (which has roots dating back to the 1600s).

36 min
Beer Botany: Barley, Hops, and IPAs

04: Beer Botany: Barley, Hops, and IPAs

Beer is a thoroughly agricultural product which emerged as humans began to congregate in urban civilizations. Here, get a crash course on the two agricultural products that are used in nearly all modern beer: malted barley and hops. Finish with a guided tasting of a beer style known for highlighting hops: the India Pale Ale, or IPA.

39 min
Beer Geography: Terroir, Caves, and Guinness

05: Beer Geography: Terroir, Caves, and Guinness

While terroir isn’t a big deal for beer, there’s no doubt that physical and human geographies have deeply shaped beer culture and global beer styles. Explore how some beer styles—like Rauchbiers (smoked beers) and Burton Ale (from a town in the United Kingdom)—powerfully evoke a sense of place with every sip.

36 min
Beer and Religion: Monks, Bocks, and Trappists

06: Beer and Religion: Monks, Bocks, and Trappists

Learn about the critical roles religion and ritual have played in shaping our beer tastes, and how beer, in turn, has influenced the way we practice our faiths. You’ll explore the relationship between beer and the divine (or sinful), the rise of brewing culture in medieval monasteries, and a sampling of some Trappist beer.

36 min
Beer Legends: Myths, Witches, and Vikings

07: Beer Legends: Myths, Witches, and Vikings

Here, investigate some ancient and modern legends surrounding beer. Among them are folk songs welcoming guests for a drink, specific ales brewed for women in labor, the role of alewives in witch symbols and imagery, the custom of pouring a beer out for the dead, and even the (patently false) idea of sucking on a penny to pass a breathalyzer test.

35 min
Beer and Society: Taverns, Darts, and Witbier

08: Beer and Society: Taverns, Darts, and Witbier

Poke your head inside taverns, pubs, inns, and other places where beer has brought people together for thousands of years, and the role they’ve played in cementing beer as the drink of the common folk. Also, explore the role of pub games like darts, and the style of beer that co-evolved with English pub culture: the traditional “pint of bitter.”

35 min
Beer Industry: Porters, Steam, and Bottling

09: Beer Industry: Porters, Steam, and Bottling

By the late 19th century, industrialization was in full swing and opening up the next big era in the history of beer. Follow the rise of the first truly international beer style, the London Porter; Anheuser-Busch and America’s first national beer brand; and more. Also, sample steam beer: a cheap, low-quality lager brewed to serve America’s thirsty masses.

34 min
Beer Politics: Purity Laws and Prohibition

10: Beer Politics: Purity Laws and Prohibition

Since as far back as the Code of Hammurabi, legal and political pressures have profoundly shaped beer culture, composition, and even styles. In addition to learning about the rise of temperance movements and America’s Prohibition Era, sample two beer styles that emerged in response to laws: the Märzen (or March Beer) and an American Cream Ale.

35 min
Beer Marketing: Advertising and Light Lager

11: Beer Marketing: Advertising and Light Lager

Brewers have marketed their beer for a long time, but only in the 20th century did marketing practices reach bold new heights. Explore the rise of Budweiser as the first mass-marketed beer brand (with a tasting of the American classic), as well as other successful entrants into the global beer market, and the price competition that followed.

36 min
Beer’s Future: Craft Brews and New Styles

12: Beer’s Future: Craft Brews and New Styles

Turn now to the explosive craft beer revolution that continues to sweep through the United States. First, get a solid definition of a craft beer (and a craft brewer). Then, take a closer look at how today’s brewers push the boundaries of brewing with unexpected ingredients (including marshmallows), and even low- and zero-alcohol beers.

34 min