Mark Denny

I'm a science writer, and my books explain how things work.

. (4) Froth! The science of beer

Well, it's an important subject, and I have been brewing my own beer for years so I thought I'd write a book about it. Yes, there is a lot of fizzics in a pint of beer. Once again, my approach is a historical one: there have been several key technological innovations that have changed the way that man (or woman, historically) brews beer and these innovations are explored here, along with other scientific aspects of brewing. 

A cold glass of my homebrew.


"In this book accomplished homebrewer and physicists Mark Denny has crafted a scientific, yet extremely accessible, investigation of the physics and chemistry of beer." Beers of the World, May 2009.

"Thanks to Mark Denny's entertaining little book on the science of beer, I now know that for many years I have taken great delight in drinking yeast excrement. Alcohol, that is. Cheers Mark, I'll bear that in mind on my next visit to the pub." New Scientist, August 1, 2009.

Also check out Amazon for many on-line reviews:

Readers seem to like the humor and the science. Some homebrew purists don't like the way I brew my beer --you decide.

For more about the book, see the publisher's website:

For those of you in Seattle, the book is available at Pike Brewery ( I led a beer tasting there in May--try their IPA! Another beer tasting--and another excellent IPA--at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore ( in October. Same trip (the "Booze Cruise") saw beer tastings at the Heartland Brewery, NYC ( and the Capitol City Brewery, Washington DC (www.capcitybrew). Twenty-four different craft beers in one week. It's a tough job, but somebody has got to do it. In November the final (so far!) beer tasting took place in the Steelhead Brewery, San Francisco (

 Additional material:

 I included a picture by the Impressionist Edouard Manet in my book--of a barmaid serving beer. Here is another, also set in Paris: "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere". Both pictures have a historically significant beer content. Note the bottles with a red triangle, on the bar. These contain Bass Pale Ale. The pale ale revolution swept Britain during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and briefly won over many converts on the continent of Europe before falling to the mighty Pilsner style of beer. Pale Ale has survived--indeed thrived--in Anglo-Saxon countries.

 Hop flowers. These ones are Hallertau, used mainly for lagers, though I have used them as aromatic hops for my pale ale.