brewing history

Higher Zymurgical Education

In the early 2000s Maureen Ogle, a professor at the University of South Alabama, set out to write a history of American brewing. She was surprised by how little had been written about the subject. That has begun to change. The spread of craft beer has led a number of American universities to make brewing studies part of their course offerings.

Meanwhile, other professors are exploring beer’s relationship with American culture, economics, labor relations, and even gender.

Randolph College professor J. Nikol Beckham brewed beer before turning her scholarly attention to it. The only African American woman in her community of homebrewers and enthusiasts, Beckham became interested in the relationship between beer and race. She discovered that during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some temperance advocates used ugly stereotypes of German immigrants and African-Americans to attack saloon culture. Drinking was portrayed as an affront to America’s dominant culture: white, Protestant, and sober.

Beckham contends that after the repeal of Prohibition, scholars lost sight of the ties between beer and American history. That trend might be reversing itself. One example is the Smithsonian Institution’s search for a scholar. His or her job will include helping the National Museum of American History collect artifacts, and conducting field research for a project on brewing in the U.S., especially during the last 50 years.

The Friday Mash (World Elephant Day Edition)

Today is the sixth annual World Elephant Day, an observance created by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark. Its purpose is to increase awareness of these animals’ urgent plight.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Beaver, Pennsylvania, where local officials want to stop a restaurant from selling beer-infused waffles. The restaurant has a license to sell beer, but some believe the waffles abuse the privilege.

Oh no! A shortage of pumpkin puree might endanger this year’s pumpkin beer releases. The culprits are unprecedented demand and drought conditions in pumpkin-growing regions.

Vice.com’s Ilkka Siren, who grew up in Finland, went home to get better acquainted with sahti, a temperamental—and much-misunterstood style—that Finns have homebrewed for centuries.

History buffs in Golden, Colorado, want to convert the Astor House hotel into a beer museum with brewing classes, tastings, food and beer pairings, and a look at Colorado brewing history.

Defying the Standells’ song “Dirty Water”, six Massachusetts and brewing beer from the banks of the River Charles. The water is treated, of course.

Craft beer is getting more expensive, for a variety of reasons: costlier raw materials, such as hops and water; higher wages; and bigger utility bills.

Finally, Alabama’s craft brewers are crying foul over a proposed regulation that would require brewers to collect the name, address, age, and phone number from anyone who buys carry-out beer. The rule is aimed at enforcing the state’s limit on purchases.

An “Iron Chef” Competition for Brewers

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is wasting no time cashing in on its “Beer City USA” co-championship. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is launching a challenge to determine which Michigan brewery will get to supply the museum with beer when it opens an exhibit on the city’s brewing heritage.

Although there’s no “theme ingredient” in this competition, competitors will have to use at least 80 percent Michigan-made malt and 50-percent Michigan-grown hops. In addition, each brewery will be able to use a “variable” of its own choosing, such as wood, herbs or spices, or a special yeast strain.

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