The United States of Beer: A Regional History of the All-American Drink.
Booklist Reviews 2016 June #1
Those killjoys who forced Prohibition on us early in the last century were indirectly responsible for another unwelcome burden: income tax. According to Huckelbridge's heavily researched history of beer, Congress saw what was happening and in 1916 established an income tax to make up for the coming loss of alcohol revenue. That's the sort of I'll-be-damned detail that makes this book so engrossing. The author forges those riveting details into the story of how beer shaped "the regional histories of this country." We learn, for example, that the megabreweries of the nineteenth century—Anheuser-Busch, Pabst—were midwestern because the heartland offered the huge open space these behemoths required. The beer barons created sprawling beer gardens that became among "the first truly American mega-amusement parks." He halts frequently to lament the belly wash that American beer became after WWII, but rallies for a hope-for-the-future ending. He's convinced that the microbreweries are serving up beer like it used to be: "darker, richer, more character-driven." Those adjectives apply to this book, too: good reading, fascinating history. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2016 June #2
In this lively romp through American history with beer at the center, Huckelbridge (Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit) goes from east to west, combining regional background with a roughly chronological approach. The author begins with the beer rations on the Mayflower and continues to discuss the brewing practices of the Founding Fathers, ending with the California origins of the craft beer movement that has spread across the United States. Stories and anecdotes are intermingled with thorough research, including explanations of the historical scarcity of beer in the early South (barley didn't grow well, and bourbon traveled better), the influence of European immigrants on American beer culture, and the lasting effects of Prohibition. Huckelbridge explains how savvy marketing and the rise of technology (especially refrigerated railroad cars) enabled a handful of Midwestern breweries to dominate the industry and spread their style of German-inspired lager beers nationwide. VERDICT The author's breezy style is a perfect match for his subject. For readers interested in American history and a must-read for all beer lovers.—Nicholas Graham, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill[Page 93]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.