Franconian Beer Message Board

OT: Brewing in the Americas, brewing traditions
Posted by DonS on 2012-01-09 07:59:47
"The native Americans" describes a gigantic range of people - two continents, wildly varying cultural developments, and so on. In South America, yes, there is a traditional fermented cereal-grain beverage, chicha, made with the likes of maize or quinoa. Chicha brewing is nearly as ancient as the Eurasian grain-based fermented beverages, very much pre-Columbian. If anything, it has more in common with Japan's sake or perhaps southern Africa's Chibuku "Shake-Shake." In North America, not nearly so much, if at all. The natives were wholly unaccustomed to and unprepared for the influx of alcoholic beverages that accompanied the European settler-invaders, and when they started consuming beverage alcohol, the results were nothing short of disastrous, which also describes most of the native North Americans' experiences with the European settler-invaders in general. And now, tradition. What a funny term. "Tradition" says that beer originated in what is now the Middle East and North Africa, in ancient bygone places like Mesopotamia, Sumeria, and ancient Egypt. All that we regard today as "traditional" brewing was, at one time, nearly nonexistent in their places of current practice. "Tradition" can be, and is, routinely tossed out in favor something newer. Much of what is now northeastern Germany (aka "Mitteldeutschland") had brewing traditions more akin to what we now associate with Belgium; Gose and sour Weisse are the barest remnants of those traditions. Those traditions went by the wayside with the 19th century unification, which saw Bavarian "tradition" adopted nearly nation-wide. Even the legendary and notorious Reinheitsgebot had the side effect, intended or not, of putting paid to much that was at one time "traditional" in beer-making, for better or for worse. Brewing in the modern-day Americas is directly derived from modern-day "traditions" of Europe, as it was developed by immigrants from Europe. The USA, in particular, was subjected to The Great Interruption in brewing tradition, in the form of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which established alcohol Prohibition. Ken Burns's television miniseries, "Prohibition," is strongly recommended brewing for any and all who want to get an understanding of this oddly American phenomenon, and what a colossal and disastrous failure it came to be. Its ripple effects lasted for decades after the 21st Amendment was passed, including the pathetic dilution and dumbing-down of beer and brewing traditions in the USA.
             OT: Prohibition in the Americas by Nick B. on  2012-01-09 09:52:40
               OT: Prohibition in the Americas by Uncle Jimbo on  2012-01-09 15:17:01
                 OT: Prohibition in the Americas by Nick B. on  2012-01-10 00:24:18
                   OT: Prohibition in the Americas by barry on  2012-01-10 09:16:06