In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it. Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been true: Rum and whiskey were the drinks of choice in the 1840s, with only a few breweries making heavy, yeasty English ale. When a wave of German immigrants arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, they promptly set about re-creating the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind.
Just fifty years later, the American-style lager beer they invented was the nation’s most popular beverage—and brewing was the nation’s fifth-largest industry, ruled over by fabulously wealthy titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. But when anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I fed the flames of the temperance movement (one activist even declared that “the worst of all our German enemies are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller”), Prohibition was the result. In the wake of its repeal, brewers replaced flavor with innovations like marketing and lite beer, setting the stage for a generation of microbrewers whose ambitions reshaped the drink.
Grab a glass and settle in for the surprising story behind your favorite pint.
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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2006, 978-0-15-101012-7 / 0-15-101012-9From the Back Cover:
Beer's history is a tale of gamblers and entrepreneurial visionaries, of ambition and passion. It is the tale of Frederick Pabst, a sea captain who entered the beer business when he married a brewer's daughter and, forty years later, was at the helm of the world's largest brewery - and of Adolphus Busch, his greatest rival. Of Ken Grossman, a California bicycle repairman who built a brewery, Sierra Nevada, with his own two hands. Of Howard Hyde Russell and Wayne Wheeler, who established the organization that produced Prohibition. Of Carl Conrad, who imagined an American version of a Bohemian beer, one he called Budweiser, and Otto Lademan, the St. Louis brewer who tried to steal it from him. Of the Busch, Yuengling, and Leinenkugel families, who have kept their family businesses alive from one generation to the next, in one of the most competitive and volatile of industries. It is a truly American tale . . . .
"Maureen Ogle brings a historian's discipline and a breezy, accessible writing style to a fine addition to the canon of beer literature. This is a must-read for beer geeks and neophytes alike.â€ --Ken Wells, author of Travels with Barley
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