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The United States of Beer: A Freewheeling History of the All-American Drink

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  47 reviews
From the author of Bourbon, “the definitive history” (Sacramento Bee), comes the rollicking and revealing story of beer in America, in the spirit of Salt or Cod.

In The United States of Beer, Dane Huckelbridge, the author of Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit—a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance bestseller—charts the surprisingly fascinating history of America
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by William Morrow (first published May 31st 2016)
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Steven Peterson
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable book. It is sprightly, well written, and the author does not take the subject too seriously. The book is organized around different regions of the country and their predilections and contributions to the evolution of beer. Among regions considered: New England, New York and the Mod-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, the West, and--finally--the West Coast. Along the way, we get a history of beer, from early origins thousands of years ago. It is fascinating to see the different ...more
This was a light, short and fun book that, I think, just scrapes the surface of most of the events described. For a book that seems like it was pitched as an excuse for the author to drive around the country drinking different beers, this book is actually fairly well-researched, but it does not seem to rise all the way to the level of a serious work of scholarship.

This seems like a great book to read on a vacation or right when you start getting into homebrew. I'd be very interested to see a muc
Bryan Alkire
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Good enough if basic book on beer in US history. The book is a nice topic, though it’s starting to be a bit cliché with the rise of craft beer. The book is short and aside from the travelogue, there’s nothing bad about the writing. That said, there’s nothing great here, just a very basic look at beer over the course of American history. Other than the names of famous for their times regional beers, there’s nothing new or really interesting here that hasn’t been said elsewhere. I was a bit disapp ...more
Ron S
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, beer
A light, frothy and fairly satisfying look at the history of beer in America. Don't expect a definitive encyclopedia, or much coverage of the craft beer explosion of the last decade though. Author Dane Hucklebridge is also the author of Bourbon: the Definitive History.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ok look at beer brewing. Very dry at times.
Ken Dowell
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A lightweight history of the U.S. as viewed through beer goggles. Huckelbridge goes from region to region, identifying how beer made its debut in each. Of course, like most of U.S. history, we tend to think things only started to happen when the Europeans arrived when in fact Native Americans were brewing corn beer long before Columbus or anyone else set foot ashore.

Nonetheless, if you see a guy in a MAGA hat swilling a can of MillersCoorsBud, you might want to point out the hypocrisy. American
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be. I stumbled across this title on BookBub and it cost me a whole $1.99 of my husband’s money. You see, my husband, and his father, are both avid beer enthusiasts. Me, not so much. While they can taste supple notes of caramel and my husband can recall which hops were used, I am limited to stating, “Yep. That’s beer alright.” It’s not that I dislike beer, I just don’t have the true appreciation for it like them.

Enter “United States of Beer”

I was h
Mona Ammon
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
TITLE: The United States of Beer: A Freewheeling History of the All-American Drink
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: It met my reading challenge criteria, being connected to the book before it, Health at Every Size, both being about "food" consumption
REVIEW: I really don't care about beer all that much. I will drink it from time to time, especially if I get an opportunity to drink something a little bit different. I mainly picked this because it allowed me to continue the flow of my reading challenge. But i
Leslie Basalla
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Breaking down the history of beer in the United States region by region, this book occasionally reveals some unexpected insights with regard to how native traditions and ingredients mingled with patterns of immigration and settlement to influence styles of beer we still recognize today. Ultimately, though, there is no way a book this short is going to offer anything resembling a deep and comprehensive picture. Think of it as the printed equivalent of a cold, American pale lager - light, frothy, ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, cooking
Solid book with A nice twist

If you're looking for a history of beer, or a cultural look at various sections of the US, you're going to enjoy this book. The historical aspects are more researched then the culture, which now about recounting writing a book then the areas involved. Overall it's worth a beach read.
Mo Coghlan
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cicerone-study
This books gives a fantastic overview of the history of Beer in America and the economic and political causes of its evolution. This book has the most clear, evidenced explanation for the growth of American Lagers that I have ever read.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As can be judged by the title, the book is a history of Beer in the United States. There are, of course, a few sidetracks to Germany and England. Different regions of the US have different beer histories, and this is discussed.
Jon Tyler
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A really great read about the rollicking history of beer in (and out of) the United States. Any beer lover or history buff would enjoy.
Joshua Gentzler
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun read. It centers around the peoples who brought their version of beer to the US (the Germans, Dutch, and English) and traces the beer we drink today back to the styles made in Europe.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Lots of interesting tidbits. My biggest gripe was that I listened to this on audio, and the narrator (who was not the author) mispronounced some words: nascent and saguaro were repeat offenders.
Sean Kottke
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Most enjoyable when it focuses on American beer production and regional variations. Historical context and detailed consideration of other spirits was less engaging; just get to the beer, man!
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a bad read. Very light, and I liked the research. Still, it felt like a long magazine article.
Felisa Rosa
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title is self-explanatory. I enjoyed that this is a book for beer-lovers and history buffs more than it's a book for beer snobs. Huckelbridge has a knack for picking out interesting facts, stories, and details, and thus manages to weave an engaging history that wouldn't bore or alienate the casual reader. He's a good writer, though I was occasionally annoyed by questionable syntax and the sort of folksy/hokey turns of phrase that are common to periodicals. (As a writer for periodicals, I'm g ...more
Kevin Payne
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and informative. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. The importance of beer in the colonial era and in early Britain had to do with the fact that beer was safer than water since the water was boiled. Early beer was very low in alcohol so it could be consumed in relatively large quantities and by children ("small beer"). Many early brewers were women ("alewives") who brewed for the family. American Indians had alcohol including beer but it was mostly co ...more
Dennis Garone
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not the first history of beer in America I have read but certainly the one that seeks the answers to questions I have sought about how we got to today.

Mr Huckelbridge (pardon the expression) bridges a long beer history from the rest of the world to bring us to what is unique and diverse about American’s many phases of beer production and consumption.

While one of the chapters may get a little tedious of the many styles of our Native North American ancestors, I thought he brought home the notion
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun read! I learned quite a bit about the history of beer in the United States (and beyond). I especially liked the attention paid to different regions throughout the country. I listened to the audiobook, so hearing the descriptions of drinking at a particular bar or getting up during a Yankees game came across a little corny. But I appreciated the personal narrative. An interesting overview of beer's influence throughout American history.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure how truly detailed the book could have gotten, but I thought it was a fantastic overview of the story of how beer got to where it was in the US of A. Lots of great history on old-world beer origins, too. Learned a lot, and it gives me a better appreciation for how beer and world history are connected.
Matthew Philips
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well-written story of the history of the US in parallel with beer. I really like the concept of starting in the east and moving west as the country expanded with beer’s impact along the way. I’ve read several booze books at this point and I rarely fail to pick up some new piece of info. Keep them coming!
Shawn Dvorak
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
An informal, free-wheeling history of beer making (and drinking) in the United States. More a collection of individual stories, Huckelbridge covers our history region by region as well as through time.
Sarah Scherer
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the best history book I've ever read. I learned a surprising amount! The history story ended before the year I started drinking myself, and I really didn't imagine American beer could go through so many changes over the ages (before I was relevant.) I highly recommend, if you drink beer.
Cook Memorial Public Library
A 2016 staff favorite recommended by Mary.

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Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read.

Very interesting read. Learned a lot, and always interesting to see how various beverages (beer, rum) have impacted our lives as they change through the times.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good history & fun to read

A book written for its subject. Lots of good background and general information. For a homebrewer like me, it was a fun read.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable read through the history of beer in the US and in the old world. Interesting story about how it progressed across the the country and then in reality back again.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, audiobook
A beer-centric history of the United States, with some explanations of greater beer history or developments.
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Dane Huckelbridge was born and raised in the American Middle West. He holds a degree from Princeton University, and his fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Tin House, Literary Hub, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and The New Republic. His debut novel CASTLE OF WATER was published by St. Martin's Press in 2017, and his book NO BEAST SO FIERCE was published b ...more

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