Do you like “craft beer”? The earliest beer served in America was an English Ale. This kind of beer was thick and syrupy and had to be consumed within a day or so because it would spoil. The popularity of this drink was due to nothing else being available. It’s nick name “bitters” tells the whole story.
When the Germans began to migrate to America they brought the recipe for Lager style beer. Lager had a clean and refreshing taste compared to ale and as long as it was kept chilled it needed no preservative. The Germans make good stuff.
When lager was introduced production couldn’t keep up with consumption. Because of the need for refrigeration (lager was stored underground or in caves with big chunks of ice that has been harvested in the winter months) all lagers were local and every town had it’s own brewery or several breweries if it was any more than a village.
Early on beer was not considered an intoxicant. Whiskey was America’s favorite intoxicant. The average American was consuming 7 to 8 gallons of whiskey per year. Some drank whiskey for medicinal reasons and some drank whiskey because there were insufficient medicinals at the time. Either way 7 to 8 gallons is a lot of whiskey.
All beer whether ale or lager consists of a grain (usually barley or corn), hops, yeast and water. The type of hops and the type of yeast determines the finished product.
In recent years there is a great resurgence in the production of local (or craft) beers. These craft beers often contain an extra ingredient: pumpkin or raspberry or wheat for example. I don’t think that pumpkin or raspberries or wheat are great addition to beer. The beer isn’t better but the names are more amusing. The names Old Milwaukee, Budweiser and Lone Star are ok….but better names are Pumpkinator, Fermentation Without Representation and Punkuccino. Isn’t craft beer fun?
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