STATES DURING THE COLONIAL, EARLY NATIONAL, AND ANTEBELLUM
Beer brewing dates back to the beginning of human existence. Almost all civilizations have some record of consuming fermented beverages. Yet some countries, as they developed, turned more to wine, some to sprits. The United States is a beer drinking country. Americans drink an average of twenty-two gallons of beer a year.1 How did beer become America’s national beverage? To answer that, let us start with the making of beer.
The brewer begins with malted barley or another grain cereal. Malted barley is dried, sprouted, or germinated barley which the brewer grinds and then heats with warm water, which converts the starches to sugars. The brewer filters this “mash” to remove solids, and then boils the resulting wort after adding hops. When the wort has cooled, the brewer adds the yeast which will ferment and ultimately produce beer.2 Hops give beer its distinctive bitter flavor; before the Dutch introduction of hops brewers used a variety of spices for flavoring.3 Malt is an ingredient in beer, whiskey, vinegar, and malted milkshakes. Both heating and cooling are essential parts of the brewing process. Prior to the devel
1 Nathan Littlefield, “Holiday Cheer: The World’s Most Bibulous Countries,” The Atlantic Monthly 294.5 (Dec 2004): 57.
2 “Post-Fordism and the Development of the Full Sail Brewery as a Quality Craft Brewer,” http:// www.lclark.edu/∼soan221/99wlc/fullsailonline.htm (accessed March 3, 2006).
3 Gregg Smith, Beer in America: The Early Years 1587–1840 (Boulder, CO: Siris Books, 1998), 16.