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Ambitious Brew, the first-ever history of American beer, tells an epic story of American ingenuity and the beverage that became a national standard. Not always America's drink of choice, beer finally took its top spot in the nation's glasses when a wave of German immigrants arrived in the mid-nineteenth century and settled in to re-create the beloved biergartens they had left behind. Fifty years later, the American-style lager beer they invented was the nation's most popular beverage-and brewing was the nation's fifth-largest industry, ruled over by titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. Anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I fed the flames of the temperance movement and brought on Prohibition. After its repeal, brewers replaced flavor with innovations such as flashy marketing and lite beer, setting the stage for the generation of microbrewers whose ambitions would reshape the brew once again. Grab a glass and a stool as Maureen Ogle pours out the surprising story behind your favorite pint.
From the Book Jacket: In this first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the German immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it. Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been true: Rum and whiskey were the drinks of choice in the 1830s, with only a few breweries making heavy, yeasty English ale. When a wave of Germans arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, they promptly set about re-creating the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind. Just fifty years later, the American-style lager beer that they invented was the nation's most popular beverage-and brewing was the nation's fifth-largest industry, ruled by fabulously wealthy titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. But anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I inflamed an already aggressive anti-drink campaign (one activist even declared that "the worst of all our German enemies are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller"), and Prohibition ended brewing's first golden age. In the wake of its repeal, brewers replaced flavor with innovations like marketing and lite beer, setting the stage for a generation of microbrewers whose ambitions reshaped the drink. With panoramic scope and sweep, Maureen Ogle creates a portrait of the innovators and entrepreneurs behind our familiar brews and restores an essential piece of our American story. MAUREEN OGLE is a historian and the author of two previous books, All the Modern Conveniences and Key West. She lives in Ames, Iowa, a town of fifty thousand whose only stand-alone liquor store stocks nearly six hundred different beers.
The untold story of how meat made America: a tale of the self-made magnates, pragmatic farmers, and impassioned activists who shaped us into the greatest eaters and providers of meat in history "Ogle is a terrific writer, and she takes us on a brisk romp through two centuries of history, full of deft portraits of entrepreneurs, inventors, promoters and charlatans.... Ms. Ogle believes, all exceptions admitted, that [the food industry] has delivered Americans good value, and her book makes that case in fascinating detail." --Wall Street JournalThe moment European settlers arrived in North America, they began transforming the land into a meat-eater's paradise. Long before revolution turned colonies into nation, Americans were eating meat on a scale the Old World could neither imagine nor provide: an average European was lucky to see meat once a week, while even a poor American man put away about two hundred pounds a year.Maureen Ogle guides us from that colonial paradise to the urban meat-making factories of the nineteenth century to the hyperefficient packing plants of the late twentieth century. From Swift and Armour to Tyson, Cargill, and ConAgra. From the 1880s cattle bonanza to 1980s feedlots. From agribusiness to today's "local" meat suppliers and organic countercuisine. Along the way, Ogle explains how Americans' carnivorous demands shaped urban landscapes, midwestern prairies, and western ranges, and how the American system of meat making became a source of both pride and controversy.