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Ambitious Brew

by Maureen Ogle

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.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer

by Maureen Ogle

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.

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