Thursday, 20 November 2008
Before travelling to Denver last month for the Great American Beer Festival, I thought I better mug up on the history of beer and brewing from a US perspective.
A google search found me a very cheap copy of Ambitious Brew by Maureen Ogle. This book is an entertaining history of American beer from the German immigrants of the 1840's to the microbrewers of 1980's.
I read most of it on the flights but have only just finished the book.
While Maureen Ogle is no Bill Bryson, she does keep the book flowing with a similar engaging style. The book covers in sufficient detail the growth of the famous family brewers such as Anheuser Busch and Miller, although it is rather a love-in for their industrial beers. There is also a very good description of the causes and context of the years leading up to Prohibition and the years subsequent (but little detail of those middle years when brewing was illegal).
The early days of the US craft brewing scene are covered well but given the book was published in 2006, I had hoped for a more up to date analysis of the current boom in micro breweries.
Altogether an excellent book and one I would definitely recommend for anyone interested in the history of beer and brewing over the pond.