Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn't Worth Drinking

Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn’t Worth Drinking

A beer-lovers’ book which playfully examines a myriad of philosophical concerns related to beer consumption.
  • Effectively demonstrates how real philosophical issues exist just below the surface of our everyday activities
  • Divided into four sections: The Art of the Beer; The Ethics of Beer: Pleasures, Freedom, and Character; The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Beer; and Beer in the History of Philosophy
  • Uses the context of beer to expose George Berkeley’s views on fermented beverages as a medical cure; to inspect Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism through beer goggles, and to sort out Friedrich Nietzsche’s simultaneous praise and condemnation of intoxication
  • Written for beer-lovers who want to think while they drink


  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405154306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405154307
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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  1. By turns funny, lively, and erudite, Beer and Philosophy is a must-read for any beer lover worth his hops. How can you not like essays like “Beer Goggles and Transcendental Idealism”? The essays address good beer vs. bad, whether beer buddies are true friends, Nietzsche’s thoughts on intoxication, and other fun things. Most of the pieces are written by academic philosophers who appreciate beer, but there’s also essays by well-known beer writer/brewers such as Garrett Oliver and Sam Calagione. Michael Jackson even contributed the foreword. Plato and porter, Aristotle and ale, Socrates and stout– it’s all good. Of all the beer books I have read, I think this is my favorite. Highly recommended.

  2. This book was, in general, a fun read, although I can’t say either my knowledge of beer or knowledge of philosophy was increased much. The opening essay on phenomenology raises some interesting if decidedly non-pragmatic discussions of why we call a particular beer “good”, the second essay (by Brooklyn Brewery’s philosopher-brewer Garrett Oliver) investigates our cultural fascination with making imitations rather than the real things, and an essay deeper into the volume looks into the principles of pleasure and how it can be measured (i.e, do you buy the one case of really good beer or two cases of industrial lite beer?).
    However, there are also a couple essays that are painfully forced, one that is outright bizarre (discussing why beer is good in the context of Intelligent Design), and another couple about which all I can say is that they are definitely printed in this book.
    Good fodder for discussion with your beer geek friends or those who just like to argue academically. Others will be less amused.

  3. The English Campaign for Real Ale newspaper pans this book unmercifully.

    Marcus Rees’ review concludes: “…it had me reaching for a beer more from desperation than inspiration.”

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