The Taproom

Welcome to the Taproom

By Pavla Šimková When I started doing research in beer history, I had no idea what I was getting into. I doubt there is a beer pun in the world I haven’t heard yet. People have wished me hoppy holidays. They can barely contain their excitement about interesting beer articles they have just read.

On a sunny day, tens of thousands of people flock to the festival grounds, the ‘Theresienwiese’. Source: Pixabay

Reclaiming Oktoberfest: Celebrating Sustainability Instead of Consumerism

By Elmar Ujszaszi-Müller Every year in late September, the atmosphere in Munich becomes thicker when Oktoberfest takes place. The intense odors of roasted almonds and grilled chicken mingle with those of specially brewed lager and the sweat of thousands of people roaming the festival grounds.

Picking Hops in Nineteenth-Century Wisconsin

By Jennifer Jordan From 1873 to 1879, in Dellona, Wisconsin, Ella Seymour kept a sporadic record of her life. Her careful handwriting curled across the blue and red lines of the little ledger she used as a diary. She recounted the weather, illness, chores, and visits like so many of her fellow diarists of the…

This sign from the tiny Hortonville Brewing Co. placed more emphasis on their artesian well than on the beer itself. (Sign c. early 1900s.) Photo credits: University of Minnesota Press. Photo by Robert Fogt, Collection of National Brewery Museum, Potosi, Wisconsin.

A Fluid History of Wisconsin Breweries

By Doug Hoverson During my research for Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota, a retired employee of the Theo. Hamm Brewing Co. in St. Paul told me: “Beer is 97 percent water, and the other three percent is none of your damn business.”

Wine Rhine Nature View Germany Vineyards

Pushing Wine in a “Bierland”: The Case of East Germany

By John Gillespie In some way or another, all modern states establish alcohol policies. One important question in any study of these systems is whether or not the type of drink makes any difference.

Black and white print of chromolithograph advertising poster for Valentin Blatz’s premium export Milwaukee Lager Beer [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Lager Beer Revolution in the United States

By Jana Weiß In November 2015, a record that had lasted 142 years was broken: for the first time since 1873, the peak number of breweries passed 4,131. Since then, the number of US breweries has continued to reach new heights.

Illustration of Gaza’s Old Town. Source: The British Library, taken from Henry Baker Tristram, Scenes in the East [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Gaza’s Happy Hour? When Late Ottoman Palestine Met the Victorian Drinking Culture

By Dotan Halevy If we could travel back in time to the town of Gaza in March 1886, we would probably be joining a large crowd gathered on the beach to catch a glimpse of the Troqueer, a grain-carrying steamship—a behemoth of thirteen hundred tons—lying on its side about a mile offshore.

Historical postcard from the 1910s depicting Qingdao. Source: [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

German Beer and the Making of a New China

By Shen Hou The first commercial filmed in China was a 1947 effort to sell Tsingtao Beer, one of the world’s most famous brands. “Tsingtao” is an older spelling of the name “Qingdao,” the city that is still home to the beer company.

Pyrprew (Brewer) Herttel. Image: By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Brewing Boom of the Middle Ages

By Richard W. Ungar Until 1200, beer brewing in Europe was largely a small-scale affair. Hops soon changed that. Based on practices in Bremen and other ports along the North Sea coast of Germany, a seemingly minor change laid the foundation for a booming industry in Renaissance Europe, one with a scale and reach unmatched…

Federal Minister Strobel tests pure Bavarian beer at a televised promotional event for the Reinheitsgebot with the Bavarian Brewers’ Association in the summer of 1969. Source: Bayerischer Brauerbund e.V. Geschäftsbericht 1968/69 – 1969/70, insert between pp. 80 and 81.

The Reinheitsgebot: Between German Consumer Culture and the European Market

By Robert Terrell On 15 July, 1987, West German federal president Richard von Weizsäcker received a letter from one Andreas Z., which began: “Much has been written about the Reinheitsgebot lately.”

Empire in a Bottle: Tales of a Beer Historian

By Malcolm F. Purinton “Why don’t you write your literature review about alcohol?” my African colonialism professor asked me during my master’s degree. “I can do that?!” I replied. The possibility of researching and writing on the history of beer and alcohol was, honestly, mind-blowing.

“Around the World in 80 Beers.” Image courtesy of

The Global Invention of Lager Beer

By Jeffrey Pilcher “Around the World in 80 Beers.” It’s an arresting image of the globalization of beer. This map on the PureTravel website depicts each country according to its bestselling or iconic national brand: from Budweiser in the United States and Corona in Mexico, to Tsingtao in China and Oettinger in Germany.

Un trago amargo—A Bitter Drink: Beer, Water, and Globalization

By Susan Gauss A truck drives down the street in Zaragoza, Coahuila, its loudspeaker reminding residents to conserve water or face fines. Local farmers also feel the pain, as they scale back planting due to a lack of water. Yet nearby, water is flowing well through an aqueduct carrying it to a factory 40 kilometers…

To view this series as it originally appeared, click here.

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