Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Artesanos de la Cebada" segment from Peru TV

A video segment on microbreweries in Lima from Panamericana Televisión's Panorama news program:

Part 1 (7:52 mins)

Part 2 (8:13 mins)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Session


Seventy-five years ago, on December 5, 1933, the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah ratified the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment, which had banned the import to, export from, and "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors" in the United States.

The end of Prohibition meant that after 13 years Americans could again legally produce, sell, obtain, and give away alcoholic beverages - including beer. At the time this came as a great relief and joy to millions, and it no doubt also meant an almost immediate improvement in the quality of drink available after more than a decade of clandestine moonshine, bathtub gin, and questionable homebrew.

Today we continue to reap both the bitter fruit of Prohibition and the sweet fruit of its end.

Prohibition brought down a fine brewing tradition harkening back to the earliest days of the European settlement in North America. Before Prohibition the United States had a wealth of local and regional breweries producing a variety of old-world lagers and ales, reflecting the tastes and styles of the peoples who settled each area. After prohibition we were left with a few, mostly larger, breweries and the bitters, porters, ales of days past were replaced with watery, weak-bodied and nearly flavorless lagers.

Luckily, that has now changed, as Americans have slowly rebuilt the traditions of old, researching and reconstructing the old recipes, reviving old styles and bringing regional brewing cultures back to life. From Anchor Steam on the West Coast, to Sam Adams on the East, and from a million microbreweries and home taps in between, we are able to taste the fruit of the 21st Ammendment.

Thinking of all that and upon what a momentous event ocurred in people's lives seventy-five years go, I cannot help but think that today of all days it is doubly true that, "Surely, it must be Happy Hour somewhere," and that here, where I sit -glass of homebrew in hand- it is Happy Hour indeed! So I invite all and sundry to raise a glass, mug, shot, or stein to the 21st Ammendment.


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