Beer and America

I wrote an article for Orlando Brewing’s July newsletter on America and beer. Here’s a teaser to get you to read the PDF in the previous link which not only contains a picture of me drinking a beer (go figure) but features some hot girl-on-wort kettle action:

Consider these historical facts:

  • Almost 170 years before America became America, the first brewery was established in the New World on the southern tip of New Amsterdam.
  • Low on beer, which was a dietary mainstay and probably the most potable liquid on the ship, The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock instead of their intended destination rather than risk running out of beer.
  • In a move that foreshadowed his greatness, George “I cannot tell a lie, these wooden teeth are killing me” Washington set the tone for his “Buy American” policy by writing to the Marquis de Lafayette that he would drink only American porter.

So, what do these little history lessons teach us?  That beer is an integral part of America’s history and culture.  Obviously beer isn’t uniquely American, but not much is and, like all good things, we took hold of it and made it our own.  Our modern beer history was shaped by German immigrants in the last half of the 19th century who brought over their lager and pilsner recipes along with their passion for brewing.  Early pioneers in this era are now synonymous with beer:  Adolfus Busch, Frederick Pabst, Joseph Schlitz.  These “Beer Barons” amassed great wealth and brewing empires in the late 19th and early 20th century by opening beer gardens and resorts, distributing to saloons, and acquiring smaller breweries.



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