From the author of "the definitive history of bourbon" ( Sacramento Bee ) comes the epic true tale of how beer conquered America, from B.C. to Budweiser and beyond
Equally irreverent and revealing, Dane Huckelbridge's masterful cultural history charts the wild, engrossing, and surprisingly complex story of our favorite alcoholic drink, showing how America has been under the influence of beer at almost every stage.Read more...
- Retail Price:
Members Save 10% Club Price
- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceThe United States of Beer (Paperback)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company$15.99The United States of Beer (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company$49.99
From the author of "the definitive history of bourbon" (Sacramento Bee) comes the epic true tale of how beer conquered America, from B.C. to Budweiser and beyond
Equally irreverent and revealing, Dane Huckelbridge's masterful cultural history charts the wild, engrossing, and surprisingly complex story of our favorite alcoholic drink, showing how America has been under the influence of beer at almost every stage. From the earliest Native American corn brew (called chicha) to the waves of immigrants who brought with them their unique brewing traditions, to the seemingly infinite varieties of craft-brewed suds found on tap today, beer has claimed an outsized place in our culture that far transcends its few simple ingredients water, barley, and hops. And yet despite its ubiquity Americans consume some six billion gallons of beer each year the story of beer in the USA is as diverse and fascinating as the country itself, overflowing with all the color and character of America's many peoples and regions.
A brewery was among the first orders of business when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and George Washington tried (but mostly failed) to produce beer at Mount Vernon. Since 1776, America has operated under the principle of E. Pluribus, Brewdog out of many regional brews, one nation of beer drinkers. The first "macrobrew" revolution was in the Midwest, where an influx of German immigrants in the 1800s changed American brewing forever. Bavarian newcomers brought their now-universal lager to St. Louis, Milwaukee, and the rest of the heartland; Busch, Pabst, and Schlitz soon followed, establishing the first great beer empires and ushering in a golden age of brewing that would last into the twentieth century. Then in 1920, Prohibition threatened the very existence of beer in America. Brewers were forced to diversity into a variety of odd products among them malted milk, porcelain, and cement in order to survive.
When the spigot finally reopened in 1933, many breweries were tapped out. By the early 1980s, a country that once boasted more than a thousand breweries was down to a few dozen, with little to distinguish among them. But stirred by the American entrepreneurial spirit, a cadre of daring young trailblazers decided our options shouldn t be limited to watery, flavorless macrobrews. The microbrew movement began on the West Coast, but quickly spread: today there are thousands of craft breweries, scattered across all fifty states.
Drawing upon a wealth of little-known historical sources, explaining the scientific breakthroughs that have shaped beer s evolution, and mixing in more than a splash of dedicated on-the-ground research, The United States of Beer offers a raucous and enlightening toast to the all-American drink."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Huckelbridge (Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit) switches his focus to "the ubiquity across the length and breadth of American civilization" of beer, of which Americans consume six billion gallons on a yearly basis. As in his earlier work, Huckelbridge delivers a fascinating look at American history, arguing that the local production of beer—"beginning with the earliest American settlers, and continuing on up to the craft brews of the present day"—reveals how local beers "actually helped to shape the distinctive regional cultures that would cohere and combine to build a nation." Displaying an enormous understanding of American history as well as a fine wit, Huckelbridge starts with the beer shortage that was a "source of stress" for all aboard the Mayflower, and notes that drinking beer was "as much a part of office life in New England" as Excel charts today. He engagingly analyzes the Dutch influence on beer-making in New York, explains the role of local corn production as an influence on the beer made in the South, details how the German migration to Midwest America in 1848 led to the darker lagers that of breweries such as Busch and Schlitz, explores how Prohibition led to the production of the "sweeter, more watery, and less flavorful" beers that still dominate the market, and looks at the "unexpected innovations" of West Coast companies such as Anchor Brewing that led to the birth of microbrewing. (June)