Beer Is Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

Beer came to America on The Mayflower in 1620, when the passengers were forced to make an early landing because of a shortage of the precious beverage. In those days law regulated the consumption and the early settlers were allowed two quarts for breakfast alone. In those early years clean drinking water was hard to come by and people drank beer the way we drink water and soda today and in the very early part of our history the English colonists were dependent on beer shipped from England. However the New Worlds first brewery had already been established in 1612 in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now Brooklyn) and that area quickly became the biggest brewing center in America even after the British purchased it and renamed it New York. In the late 17TH century Philadelphia had also become a large brewing center of The Colonies. Many of the gentlemen that signed The Declaration of Independence were brewers and in 1789 George Washington, one of the best brewers (whose recipe for beer can be found in the New York Public Library) in the country became the first President of the United States.

All these early beers were ales like the beers found today’s microbreweries. In 1840 a huge wave of German emigrants brought their lager beers and they proceeded to sweep the country. When brewers in California tried do duplicate the process, which requires cold fermentation, the warm weather created a more carbonated product that spewed white foam when the kegs were tapped. The term and style Steam Beer was born in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. The mass produced lager style beer consumed in this country got its start at the same time. The early success of the lager style propelled men named Pabst, Schlitz, Hamm, Coors, Stroh, Weinhard and Anheuser to the well-known names they are to this day.

These companies were because of their success also able to survive the Volstead Act also known as Prohibition when 1,568 breweries closed in 1920. Prohibition was on the law books for thirteen years until the 21ST Amendment also known as Repeal was enacted in 1933 ( on that evening Americans consume nearly one million gallons of beer)and over 2,000 breweries failed to reopen. This period created a young customer base that had not been exposed to any beer during their lifetimes and had been drinking soda water. That fact combined with the Industrial Revolution and the World Wars created a market for the light fizzy style that is still favored by the majority of Americans today.

The Anchor Brewing Company began bottling in 1971 and in 1977 The New Albion Brewing Company, the first microbrewery opened in Sonoma, California. At this time large numbers of Americans were returning from vacationing in Europe with the taste of full flavored beer still on their tongues and demanding these quality brews. In 1981 only 41 breweries were operating in the United States and today there are nearly 2000.

So since you don’t have to wait for breakfast time to enjoy a finely crafted malty beverage get out there and taste the handiwork of “the Chefs” of the brewing industry.


Chef Bruce