I am studying a book and there is a sentence: "By early fall, war was brewing in Iraq."
What does brew mean in this context? I thought 'brew' could only be associated with a beverage.
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A dictionary should give you the various definitions.
Brewing is that process through which by means of heating up a substance immersed into a liquid that liquid becomes a solution of that substance in the liquid (beer, coffee, tea, etc.); this concept has given rise to the metaphorical definition of the verb "to brew (up)" used only in the continuous tenses (OALD, 4).
As the substance progressively adulterates the liquid and turns it into something else, the belligerent trends in the societies adulterate the ways of thinking and turn them into ways of thinking receptive to the idea of war.