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Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries

Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries

Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries

As long as there has been civilization, there has been beer. From the ancient Sumerians through the Middle Ages to the first American settlers, beer’s history is the world’s history, too. Home brewer and beer aficionado Gregg Smith celebrates this popular libation’s history in this entertaining and informative book.

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3 comments

  1. 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    From Mesopotamia to microbrews, February 4, 2010
    By 
    T. Burrows (New York, NY) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries (Paperback)

    In this book, Gregg Smith puts together a compelling quick history of beer, from the dawn of civilization up until the early 1990s. The emphasis is on the development of beer in the U.S.A., with Europe and the rest of the world fading into the background. There is virtually nothing about the development of beer in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. But this does not mean that the book is not worthwhile.

    After a very interesting opening in which he discusses the development of beer in its earliest forms in the Middle East and North Africa, Smith moves on to Colonial America. He has a good eye for funny anecdotes (which is just as it should be) and for amusing quotes that serve as introductions to chapters. He generally covers the territory by region – New York, Boston, and Philadelphia get special attention. Then the story shifts to the big German immigration of the 1800s and the subsequent development of large-scale lager brewing in Saint Louis, Milwaukee, and elsewhere. There is some good coverage of the rise of alcohol prohibition and its subsequent defeat, and the dramatic impact that this had on brewers around the country. Brewing consolidated around several big companies thru the 1960s and 70s, and bland American lager reached its peak of dominance. Then, with the repeal of federal anti-homebrewing laws under President Carter and an increase in tourism, Americans tastes began to change, and the rise of the micro (or craft) brewers began. Smith does a decent, if somewhat bland, job of tracing the trajectories of many of the USA’s major brewing outfits.

    This was an enjoyable and informative read. I am sure there is more to say on the subject, but this is a fine one to pop the cap on first. So cheers, Gregg Smith, and thanks.

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  2. Michael Valdivielso
    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    What a book…, September 24, 2007
    By 
    Michael Valdivielso (Alexandria, VA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries (Paperback)

    Mr. Gregg Smith loves beer. He loves the history of beer, he loves the brewing of beer, and he loves the people who brew the beer. He guides us on the journey of time and space, from the birth of beer with the first hunter and gathers who loved it so much that they became farmers, to the English with their ales, to the Germans with their lagers, to the modern microbreweries and people who love to home brew. He digs right into hops and brewing sugars, he helps us visit greats events and happenings that took part within the inns and taverns of America. Great men drank and enjoyed their beers and ciders while planning out the course of world events. In fact the book was such a delight that I have already ordered a brewing kit and additional items to home brew some of my own beer.
    And I don’t like beer. Weird, eh? I did have to take one point away. Mr. Gregg Smith knows his beer history but sometimes his general knowledge of history was shaky, outdated or just plain wrong. I would suggest any lover of history or any lover of beer to get this book.

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  3. Donald Ford (dford@midrivers.com)
    1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Interesting History, July 6, 2001
    By 
    Donald Ford (dford@midrivers.com) (Lavina, Montana United States) –

    This review is from: Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries (Paperback)

    From ancient Sumer to St. Louis, Missouri, from Charlemagne to Sam Adams, Gregg Smith’s “Beer…” is the remarkable story of humanity viewed through a glass brightly – a celebratory romp through the ages, foaming steins in hand, for all those who cherish their malted barley brew. Even though this is a very entertaining & informative book, Michael Jackson is still the bibliophonic God of beer. Like suds? Read it!

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