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Book Review: Ambitious Brew

Submitted by on August 27, 2009 – 9:13 AMNo Comment
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ambitiousbrewAmbitious Brew, by Maureen Ogle, covers the history of American beer from the mid-nineteenth century to present times.  Written for beer aficionados and history buffs alike, this book covers all facets of the industry.  Beginning with the introduction of beer to America through German immigrants, Ogle engages the reader by focusing on familiar names.  The histories of Anheuser, Busch, Pabst, and Schlitz are all uncovered, not only through family history, but also in a cultural sense.

Dispelling the notion that the Big Brewers killed quality beer by bringing corporations into the industry, Ogle explores the true history of the various breweries, from their simple, motivated start, to global sales.  When cracking open a Busch or Nati Light, few people stop to think about the origins of the beer.  It is now known to be cheap, tasteless, and for college students.  After reading this book your view of American beer will change completely.  These companies had such simple, admirable starts, and Ogle researches how American culture affected them through the century and a half following their inception.

When drinking beer, only a few factors are considered.  Maureen Ogle looks beyond these factors and takes into account the various cultural factors Big Brewers faced throughout the ages.  From Prohibition to World War II to the freedom-filled Sixties, these companies learned to adapt in order to survive, and their story is fascinating.  Moving beyond the Big Brewers, Ogle also investigates the microbrewing revolution that started in the Seventies.  Though companies like Schlitz, Pabst, and Miller aren’t highly revered today, knowing of their humble beginnings places them in an entirely differently light.

About the Author (taken from the back cover of the book):

mogleMaureen 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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