Sunday, April 27, 2008

Behold the power of beer.

I just finished Ambitious Brew: The story of American beer by Maureen Ogle. I understand Budweiser now (I won't drink it, but I understand it). They've been brewing it with rice for 140 years.

In the first chapter, she describes the Milwaukee discovered by German immigrants in the 1830s:
"In Mettenheim [birthplace of Phillip Best], the land's potential might have remained cocooned in a web of restraints, dominated by lords and princes and worked by peasants burdened by illiteracy, heavy taxes, and impossible rents. Not so in the United States."

*blink* Sounds like they were escaping the United States of today, if you substitute "environmentalist wackos and nanny-staters" for "lords and princes" and "endless government regulation" for "illiteracy"...

And she quotes a letter to family back home, written by one Nicholas Frest in 1841:
"One cannot describe how good it is in America. In America one knows nothing about taxes. Here one does not need to worry about beggars as we do in Germany. Here a man works for himself. Here the one is equal to the other."

Unbelievable that he was writing about Chicago! They'll charge you 10% sales tax on a brew, on top of the alcohol, property, and income taxes the pub has already paid and included in the price, and I won't even start on the modern equivalent of "beggars."

Then there were the 1855 anti-German Beer Riots, laws passed throughout the 19th century specifically to keep Germans from drinking beer (while English-Americans were free to swill spirits), and the beatings, rapes, and lynchings of Germans during the early 20th century, and not just during WWI. See how my people have been treated! Make that reparations check out to "Heather." [This paragraph may be satire. Or not, I haven't decided yet.]