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A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland

A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland
    Book Description:

    Beer writer and Certified Cicerone Michael Agnew crisscrossed Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin sampling the astonishing variety of beers on offer at breweries and brewpubs. The result is the only region-wide survey of the Midwestern craft beer scene. Packed with details on more than 200 breweries, A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland offers actual and armchair travelers alike a handbook that includes: Agnew's exclusive choices on which beers to try at each location Entries on every brewery's history and philosophy Information on tours, tasting rooms and attached pubs, and dining options and other amenities A survey of each brewery's brands, including its flagship beer plus seasonal brews and special releases Brewery equipment and capacity Nearby attractions In addition, Agnew sets the stage with a history of Midwestern beer spanning the origins of the immigrant brewers who arrived in the 1800s to the homebrewers-made-good who have built a new kind of brewing culture founded on creativity, dedication to quality, and attention to customer feedback. Informed and unique, A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland is the essential companion for beer aficionados and curious others determined to drink the best the Midwest has to offer. Includes more than 150 full color images, including the region's most distinctive beer labels, trademarks, and company logos.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09358-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-4)

    About four years ago, while savoring a pint with a friend at my favorite local establishment, I first expressed my interest in writing this book. Exciting things were happening in the Minnesota beer scene: New breweries were opening in the Twin Cities and beyond. Restaurants that had not previously given beer a second thought were suddenly adding multiple taps of decent brews, many of them local. As I looked beyond my home state, I realized that the same thing was happening throughout the region. Wisconsin already had a well-developed craft-beer scene that was continuing to evolve. In Chicago, an industry...

    (pp. 5-8)

    The middle part of the twentieth century was a difficult time for the American beer industry. The period saw the number of companies making beer in the United States fall from 1,345 in 1915 to only forty-four in 1980. Industry experts at the time predicted that by the end of the century there would be only five. Closings and consolidation led to increasing concentration of market share to just a few large firms. By 1980, the top ten breweries controlled 94 percent of the U.S. beer market; 75 percent of the market was controlled by the top five.

    The root...

    (pp. 9-12)

    In 1850, a German immigrant named John Orth established a small brewery at the corner of Marshall Avenue and Twelfth Street in the town of St. Anthony, now the “Nordeast” neighborhood of Minneapolis. His was only the second brewery in the state. But with its opening, he set in motion a chain of events that would weave together the histories of six regional breweries and produce what many consider to be the quintessential Minnesota beer, Grain Belt Premium.

    The story of the Grain Belt brand traces the development of the brewing industry in Minnesota and encapsulates the growth, decline, and...

    (pp. 13-16)

    Every so often, sinkholes appear in the streets and parking lots of Iowa City’s old downtown district. While he can’t say for certain what’s causing them, Marlin Ingalls, an archeological historian at the State Archeologist’s Office, has a strong suspicion: networks of vaults and tunnels built in the nineteenth century for the cellaring of lager beer. From the 1850s, the area near the intersection of Linn Street and East Market was home to three breweries, each producing about one thousand barrels of beer annually. In the days before mechanical refrigeration, they needed a way to keep the beer cold as...

    (pp. 17-17)
    (pp. 19-57)

    One of the biggest challenges while creating this book has been keeping the list of breweries up to date as new ones come online, and Minnesota has been one of the biggest problem children in that regard. The state is in the midst of a massive brewery boom. Seven breweries put beer on the street in 2011; 2012 saw the addition of eight more; and 2013 brought another fourteen. As the breweries-in-planning list shows, there are many more waiting in the wings, some of which have likely already opened as you are reading this. It’s a great time to be...

    (pp. 59-119)

    Wisconsin is the nation’s symbolic “state of beer.” An influx of German immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century created an industry that spawned some of the most legendary names in American brewing, past or present: Blatz, Schlitz, Miller, and Pabst, all once among the largest breweries in the world. Milwaukee beer had a reputation for quality that led saloon keepers in other states to advertise its availability in their establishments. By the beginning of the twentieth century, beer from Wisconsin was being sold in nearly every state of the union and in Europe.

    Today Wisconsin has the largest number of breweries...

    (pp. 121-173)

    With the second-highest number of breweries in the region and a city of the size and sophistication of Chicago, one might expect that the Illinois brewing industry was long established. But that would be a mistake. Over 60 percent of the state’s breweries opened after 2006, and 38 percent of them after 2010. What the Illinois beer scene lacks in longevity, it makes up for in variety. The state is home to breweries of all sizes, making everything from traditional German lagers to tongue-punishing imperial and Belgian IPAs. While midwestern balance is still the rule, breweries like the Haymarket Pub...

  12. IOWA
    (pp. 175-200)

    Many people perceive Iowa as the state that beer forgot. I have to admit that, before starting this book, Iowa was a blank spot on my mental beer map—the place where the great beer waterfall dropped off the edges of surrounding states and plummeted into the void. As I prepared to embark on my first weeklong tour of Iowa breweries, a common response from those who knew my destination was, “There are breweries in Iowa?” Even Iowans are unaware of what’s happening in their state. A former denizen of Des Moines who had recently relocated to the Twin Cities...

    (pp. 201-204)
    (pp. 205-206)
    (pp. 207-210)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 211-217)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 218-222)