Behavioral economics, Cognitive taste, Fearless Critic, The Beer Trials

The Beer Trials: a sneak preview

Here’s a sneak preview of The Beer Trials, which I co-authored with Seamus Campbell. The preview (in PDF format) includes a press release, the preface, our list of beer ratings, and a few reviews from the book.

The book, due out on April 15 from Fearless Critic Media (distributed by Workman Publishing), rates and reviews 250 of the world’s most prominent beers (craft brews, macro-lagers, and everything in between), based on blind tastings by a panel of brewers and experts in the beer mecca of Portland, Oregon—Seamus’ hometown. We also include a broad and (hopefully) accessible reference guide to the world’s major beer styles, flavors, and regions.

The collaboration was, I must admit, a bit lopsided: Seamus (who is a brewer and one of the world’s 96 Certified Cicerones) did the lion’s share of the work. I contributed the “Trials” concept (building on the ideas set forth in The Wine Trials) and co-wrote the first few chapters, which discuss the effects of behavioral marketing, perceptual bias, and the placebo effect on the beer industry.

In Portland, Seamus and I also conducted a beer experiment together in which we tested people’s ability (or, um, lack thereof) to discriminate between major European brands of mass-market lager beer. Johan Almenberg and Anna Dreber, the Swedish economists with whom we collaborated on much of the experimental research behind The Wine Trials, helped us analyze the data.

Seamus, along with his partner (and my old high school friend) Laurel Hoyt, assembled an excellent blind-tasting panel of brewers and beer experts in Portland. Seamus and Laurel tirelessly ran the blind tastings, procuring beer samples from all over the world, storing them in climate-controlled conditions, and running up to five tastings per week for months on end—all the while keeping the tasting panel happy and well-fed.

Seamus also crafted the reference guide to styles, flavors, and region, which more or less boils his brain’s enormous body of esoteric beer knowledge down to what’s most useful to readers and beer drinkers. The project was a blast, and I hope the book turns out to be helpful both to beer enthusiasts and to everyday beer drinkers.

This sneak preview PDF includes a press release about The Beer Trials; the book’s full preface; the book’s full beer ratings list; and 11 sample beer reviews.

The Beer Trials hits stores nationwide in the third week of April. It can be ordered online from

For media requests, please contact Fearless Critic Media.

1 Comment

  1. This book says everything about every person opinion about european brands to other brands that we usually drink.

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