Fans of good beer will enjoy Noel’s explorations, which make for a useful cautionary tale as well.



Mass-produced beer? You’re soaking in it—and sometimes, as this foamy exposé relates, under the guise of a trendy indie label.

Every hipster worthy of his chest-length beard may be a connoisseur of artisanal beer these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Just a few decades ago, apart from homebrew wizards who made grog in their basements, the ordinary stuff of American consumption was watery, sudsy, corporate lager. Then came the pioneering heroes, foremost among them John and Greg Hall’s Goose Island brewpub, a well-kept Chicago secret much beloved of drinkers. Goose Island innovated constantly, particularly by aging its brew in whiskey barrels, a technique that soon, as Chicago Tribune beer maven Noel writes, “became a necessity for any ambitious brewery.” Goose Island plied a lonely trade for a time; as the author notes, “the only craft brands with velocity in the city were Sam Adams Boston Lager…and Pete’s Wicked Ale.” Even there, the most popular of Goose Island’s many experiments was a blonde ale that was as close as it came to brewing a mass-produced beer. There’s portent there, and in Goose Island’s later production of a pilsner that was even closer to store-bought stuff, for when Anheuser-Busch came calling, the owners were only too glad to sell out, and to “the company that had spent decades thwarting the American beer industry with confusion, trickery, and dullness.” That big companies swallow up the little innovators is a standard plank in corporate capitalism, and Noel’s offended sensibility can be a little heavy-handed at times. However, Goose Island may prove an outlier, for, as the author also notes, whereas when Goose Island began, craft beers and their makers were rare, now there are northward of 2,500 breweries in the U.S., so that “after decades of Big Beer’s bland dominance, American beer is rife with choice.”

Fans of good beer will enjoy Noel’s explorations, which make for a useful cautionary tale as well.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61373-721-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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