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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Bitter Brew

I like beer. I like books. I like reading about really ridiculous family histories that make my family seem super boring.

So when William Knoedelseder's (I'm so glad I can just type that and don't have to try to pronounce it) Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer came up on a list of options to review, I requested it immediately. And after a sort-of slow start, I loved it.

I mostly read Bitter Brew on the train during my 40-minute work commute and I loved seeing people take second glances at the cover, which pays tribute to the iconic Budweiser bottle label. And even after an intense 40-minute read, I couldn't put it down. I do not recommend doing so and potentially injuring yourself, but I continued to read as I departed the train and walked the block to my office in the morning.

I loved reading the history of the Clydesdales and the Budweiser brand, seeing prohibition from a brewer's perspective and learning more about the competition between American breweries. I also really enjoyed the chapter titles, which I would get so excited about I'd text photos of them to my friends... which isn't a normal habit I have while reading.

I think one of my favorite parts of Bitter Brew is how Knoedelseder takes you all the way up to present day. I'm not sure why that was an unexpected end to the book for me, but it was. I feel like maybe Budweiser is such a big part of America's history, at least brewing history, that it doesn't seem like it should be a living history. Kind of like how when my dad took me to see Bob Dylan and it felt weird because Bob Dylan is such a legend it seems like he should be dead by now (please don't die Bob).

I'm trying to decide which of my friends to pass this book on to now that I've finished it. I think if you like drinking alcohol, learning about family dynasties and watching HGTV shows about ridiculous homes, you'd enjoy Bitter Brew as much as I did.

Buy it here

Also, welcome to 2013. I'll have another post up shortly with my normal blogging resolutions about posting more regularly (aka not abandoning my blog like I have for the past two months). But this time I really mean it, especially because I just started Meghan Laslocky's The Little Book of Heartbreak and I'm already excited to post about it.


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