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Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer

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Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"I won't be switching from Deschutes to Bud anytime soon, but Ogle has diminished my dislike of the big brewers — no small task, that. Whatever type of beer you prefer, Ambitious Brew makes for good reading while quaffing your favorite. Along with Ken Wells's entertaining romp Travels with Barley, this is highly recommended for any beer fans on your gift list (including yourself)." Doug Brown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the 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 1840s, with only a few breweries making heavy, yeasty English ale. When a wave of German immigrants 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 they invented was the nation's most popular beverage — and brewing was the nation's fifth-largest industry, ruled over by fabulously wealthy titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. But when anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I fed the flames of the temperance movement (one activist even declared that "the worst of all our German enemies are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller"), Prohibition was the result. 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.

Grab a glass and settle in for the surprising story behind your favorite pint.

Review:

"Conventional wisdom has it that giant breweries, driven by corporate greed, have flooded the U.S. with inferior-tasting swill, and the only beer worth drinking is from scattered boutique microbrewers. Nonsense, says Ogle: companies like Miller and Anheuser-Busch are actually near-perfect embodiments of the American dream (in which 'liberty nurtured ambition, and ambition fostered success') — and if their beers became noticeably blander 50 years ago, it's because consumers wanted it that way. Ogle (All the Modern Conveniences) looks back at the early years of brewers like Phillip Best, Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch as they rose to success making European-style beers for fellow immigrants, converting plenty of native palates along the way. Such men, she claims, should be heralded as captains of industry like Gilded Age icon J.P. Morgan. This material is strong, as is Ogle's analysis of the slow but steady rise of the Prohibition movement, but her narrative loses momentum as she tries to encompass the post-WWII era and add the most successful microbrewers to her list of heroes. Her exuberant musings on the American spirit become distracting, but there's more than enough drama in the family sagas to keep even the soberest of readers turning the pages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Ogle gives flavor to her heady portrait of the American brewing craft....And she's just as adept delineating the frothy stuff's intricate business history. A beer garden of a book that leaves no stein unturned." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Ambitious Brew does a masterful job of placing American beer in the context of American history. Ogle...persuasively illustrates the many links between a humble alcoholic beverage and many of the social issues fermenting in the nation." San Diego Union-Tribune

Book News Annotation:

Bunk is what Ogle, a historian in Ames, Iowa, calls the familiar myth: thousands of local breweries making wonderful beer, destroyed first by Prohibition then by rapacious corporations until the beer resurrection of the 1980s. She tells a more complex tale, involving an ambivalent attitude toward alcohol, a passion for invention and creativity, an ability to reshape old ideas and things, gamblers, entrepreneurial visionaries, and cultural clashes. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it.

Synopsis:

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 Americas drink of choice, beer finally took its top spot in the nations 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 nations most popular beverage—and brewing was the nations 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.

About the Author

Maureen Ogle is a historian whose previous books include All the Modern Conveniences and Key West. She lives in Ames, Iowa.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 

CHAPTER ONE German Beer, American Dreams 

CHAPTER TWO “I Must Have Nothing But the Very Best” 

CHAPTER THREE “Masters of the Situation” 

CHAPTER FOUR The Enemy at the Gates 

CHAPTER FIVE Happy Days? 

CHAPTER SIX “You Have to Think About Growth” 

CHAPTER SEVEN Make Mine Small, Pure, Real, and Lite 

CHAPTER EIGHT Something Old, Something New 

EPILOGUE 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

ENDNOTES 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

INDEX 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Doug Kubr, November 15, 2006 (view all comments by Doug Kubr)
Loaded with brewing trivia that will impress your fellow drinkers at the bar (and maybe win you some bar bets).
Debunking myths and setting the record straight. This book will make you thrist for more.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780151010127
Subtitle:
The Story of American Beer
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Author:
Ogle, Maureen
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Brewing
Subject:
Beverages - Beer
Subject:
Corporate & Business History - General
Subject:
Beer -- History.
Subject:
Brewing -- History.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
October 2, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
One 16-page black-and-white insert
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.48 lb

Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Beverages » Beer and Beermaking
History and Social Science » Americana » General

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 432 pages Harcourt - English 9780151010127 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Conventional wisdom has it that giant breweries, driven by corporate greed, have flooded the U.S. with inferior-tasting swill, and the only beer worth drinking is from scattered boutique microbrewers. Nonsense, says Ogle: companies like Miller and Anheuser-Busch are actually near-perfect embodiments of the American dream (in which 'liberty nurtured ambition, and ambition fostered success') — and if their beers became noticeably blander 50 years ago, it's because consumers wanted it that way. Ogle (All the Modern Conveniences) looks back at the early years of brewers like Phillip Best, Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch as they rose to success making European-style beers for fellow immigrants, converting plenty of native palates along the way. Such men, she claims, should be heralded as captains of industry like Gilded Age icon J.P. Morgan. This material is strong, as is Ogle's analysis of the slow but steady rise of the Prohibition movement, but her narrative loses momentum as she tries to encompass the post-WWII era and add the most successful microbrewers to her list of heroes. Her exuberant musings on the American spirit become distracting, but there's more than enough drama in the family sagas to keep even the soberest of readers turning the pages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "I won't be switching from Deschutes to Bud anytime soon, but Ogle has diminished my dislike of the big brewers — no small task, that. Whatever type of beer you prefer, Ambitious Brew makes for good reading while quaffing your favorite. Along with Ken Wells's entertaining romp Travels with Barley, this is highly recommended for any beer fans on your gift list (including yourself)." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Ogle gives flavor to her heady portrait of the American brewing craft....And she's just as adept delineating the frothy stuff's intricate business history. A beer garden of a book that leaves no stein unturned."
"Review" by , "Ambitious Brew does a masterful job of placing American beer in the context of American history. Ogle...persuasively illustrates the many links between a humble alcoholic beverage and many of the social issues fermenting in the nation."
"Synopsis" by , In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it.
"Synopsis" by ,
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 Americas drink of choice, beer finally took its top spot in the nations 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 nations most popular beverage—and brewing was the nations 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.
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