Sunday, September 15, 2013

At Tears of joy.

On the occasion of Louisville Craft Beer Week and IndieFest, my bimonthly column at is devoted to drinking locally ... in Salzburg. The column has been published previously elsewhere, but not at, and I trust my occasional recycling in hectic times does not offend.

Tears of joy at the Augustiner, 1985

Coming of age in the Ohio Valley in the 1960’s and ‘70’s meant witnessing on a depressing, first-hand basis the very nadir of beer culture in America.

In Colonial times, our beer making and drinking customs reflected English origins. Later, when Germans began coming to the United States in large numbers, their traditions traveled with them and remained intact. All big American cities and most of the smaller ones had breweries that took procedural, technical and atmospheric cues from the time-tested Central European playbook. It was a lovely thing, while it lasted.

Xenophobic sentiments in World War I did not help matters, and the idiocy of Prohibition sealed the deal, obliterating American beer culture for decades after. Following WWII, the imperial-era American preference for bland, manufactured uniformity wrenched beer from its fresh, local foundation, rendering it into watery oblivion, and subjecting beer to the multitudinous regulatory irrationalities of Bible Belt superstition.

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