Former journalist and Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Hindy (co-author: Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery, 2005) considers craft beers and the innovators who brought them to the wider American and global markets from the 1960s to the present.
Beginning with an account of Fritz Maytag, the force behind San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company, the author draws from choice interviews, magazines such as All About Beer, anecdotes and related ephemera to explore a variety of topics. These include the legalization of home brewing in 1979; seminal writers in the early days of the practice, such as Charlie Papazian (The Complete Joy of Homebrewing) and Michael Jackson (The World Guide to Beer); the frequent path from homebrewing to microbrewery and brewpub startups; forerunners, including Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company; and numerous profiles of second- and third-generation brewers. With extensive passages devoted to the intricacies of formulating standards, initial challenges in establishing camaraderie among brewers, relationships with distributors, the sometimes-negative view of contract brewers and responses to media-fueled “wars” with larger corporations such as Anheuser-Busch, this is a book for intense aficionados. Thorough surveys of the field—from descriptions of actions by the Association of Brewers and other organizations to play-by-plays of particular company sales—reveal an insider's dedication to the business. For the generalist, chapters that emphasize the can-do spirit embodied by men and women who gambled on their dreams, and that reveal a frequent interest in giving back to the communities that supported them, offer more interesting, personal stories. Despite tensions between craft brewers, what emerges is a revolution marked by "a band of Davids" bent on confronting the "Goliaths."
Hindy balances reverence with realism, resulting in a vigorous, if sometimes overly meticulous genealogy of the burgeoning world of craft beer.