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Why is wine considered more sophisticated even though the production of beer is much more technologically complex? Why is wine touted for its health benefits when beer has more nutritive value? Why does wine conjure up images of staid dinner parties while beer denotes screaming young partiers? Charles Bamforth explores several paradoxes involving these beverages, paying special attention to the culture surrounding each. He argues that beer can be just as grown-up and worldly as wine and be part of a healthy, mature lifestyle. Both beer and wine have histories spanning thousands of years. This is the first book to compare them from the perspectives of history, technology, nature of the market for each, quality attributes, types and styles, and the effect that they have on human health and nutrition.