Ambitious Brew


I devoured this book over the course of three days. That is usually a good sign. In this case, only partially so. If you want a book that timelines the big industrial brewers and promotes big capitalism then this will suit you just fine. For me, this was a slice of history. No where in the same league as Last Call by Daniel Okrent.

Here are my quibbles:
1. It starts with the Anheuser and Schlitz gang. Why not start at the beginning with Washington and the founding of beer in America. How can that not be interesting.
2. Regional breweries between 1776 and 1860 get no mention. Why?
3. Trying to praise the Budweiser, Miller and Pabst beers even in their classy heydays is really pushing it at best. I never drank it and it was better in the past but that is surely damning by faint praise.
4. Short shrift to great beer meccas. Portland barely gets talked about. Neither does Seattle or Brooklyn or name a pioneering city.
5. Marketing and business savvy are not the prime directive here. It’s the beer.

On the plus side, there is good history facts in here and she is spot on with how trends in eating and culture affected the buying patterns of beer consumers. I give this a barely recommend. Choose a Pete Brown book first.