Book Review: The Search for God and Guinness

I recently listened to an unabridged audio version of Stephen Mansfield’s book. I actually stumbled across it looking through the “Biography” section of my library’s online collection.

As a pastor, I’m interested in God (that should come as no surprise).

And when I saw the word “God” on the cover alongside a pint of Guinness Extra Stout, I was intrigued.

A pint of Guinness on tap is still, by far, the best tasting beer I have ever experienced. And I’m not alone in this. It is estimated that over 10 million pints of Guinness Stout (or porter) are enjoyed every day.

I’ve enjoyed Guinness for over 25 years. But even I was dumbfounded to find out that the Guinness story is over 250 years old!

Stephen Mansfield – who admits he’s not a beer drinker – dives deep into the history of beer (which goes back over 6000 years) to set the stage for the Guinness story.

This story has in its roots the history of the Church, particularly the Reformation, and the social concerns – and needs – of 18th and 19th Century Great Britain.

What intrigued me the most was the reach Arthur Guinness – the founding father of the brand – had in subsequent generations.

His Christian faith was the foundation of all that he did – from brewing beer (picking up on Martin Luther’s doctrine of Christian vocation) to “loving God and loving neighbor” (see Matthew 22:36-40).

So much so that not only did sons and grandchildren follow in his brewing footsteps, but also became doctors, medical missionaries, and clergymen.

While Mansfield’s book is an interesting history and biography of a man and his brewing empire, it is also an intriguing book on the formation of faith within a man’s family.

I highly recommend Stephen Mansfield’s In Search For God and Guinness.

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