Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: Ambitious Brew

In honor of my Husband's Birthday today (love you honey!) I'm writing about beer, actually, I'm reviewing a book I just finished about beer! I don’t read very often. When I do it’s only on the plane when I’m flying two and from California. I’m also one of those people that can start a book and never finish it. Fact: I did not finish the DaVinci Code. I probably had two chapters left and I just stopped. I needed them to get to the end of the chase already and they didn’t!

But I just finished a book! And I found it both inspiring and educational.
I’d recommend this book for someone who loves both history and beer. Or that friend who always pulls out the random facts they know while socializing at the bar. If you know someone like this, I can promise you this book with make a great holiday gift.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle.

Ogle starts in the 1800s when people like the Miller family were immigrating to the United States, and ends in 2006, when Big Beers (such as Miller,) were selling their American made businesses back to overseas companies.

I loved learning that the majority of the Big Beers we know today, like Anheiseur-Busch, Miller, Pabst, and Coors were all German immigrants and most of them started in Milwaukee. I learned about their struggles, how they got through prohibition (beer trucks make great ice cream delivery trucks too!) and how they made all that money! While reading about the recipe development that is Budweiser today, I really wanted a bud heavy. If you know me, you understand why that would be an extreme choice for me. And of course – Ogle ended the book with the start up and success of the microbeer industry, an industry I support often.

Fun Facts I learned:

Anchor Steam was saved in the 1960s by the Great-Grandson of Maytag – yes, washing machines!

In 1982 the first Redhook beer was poured by Paul Shipman and Gordon Bowker – the same Bowker that founded Starbucks.

Fred Miller bought the Boston Braves baseball team and moved them to Wisconsin

When Budweiser was first brewed with rice, in the 1870s, it wasn’t to save money. It was brewed this way to mimic a Bohemian beer called Budweis that Americans seemed to like. When Anheiseur-Busch brewed with rice then, it was actually more expensive to brew with rice than barley.

Don't those few facts make you curious?

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