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Capital Beer:: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C. (American Palate) Paperback – March 4, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Why'd it take us [DC's brewing culture] so long to get back on the wagon? Capital Beer will answer all your questions in the endearing style of your history buff friend who you can't take to museums (in a good way!)." - DCist, March 20, 2014. 

"Ever wonder what beer was like in Washington before DC Brau brought brewing back to the Capital in 2011? Grab a pint with local historian Garrett Peck. The beer scholar's new book, 'Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C.,' traces the area's beer beginnings back to 1770, and explains why, after Prohibition, it took decades for the District to start brewing again." - Washington Post Express, March 27, 2014.

"In brisk and lively prose Peck covers 240 years of local brewing history, from the earliest days of British ale makers through the influx of German lagermeisters and up to the present-day craft breweries....Richly illustrated with photographs both old and new, as well as a colorful collection of her art, Capital Beer is almost as much fun to read as 'sitting in an outdoor beer garden and supping suds with friends over a long, languid conversation.'" - The Hill Rag, April 2014. 


"It turns out that a beer glass isn't a bad window onto history after all." - Capital Cooking, April 27, 2014.

"It's hard to finish this book and not thirst for a tall cold one." - Washington Independent Review of Books, May 22, 2014. 


"Garrett Peck's Capital Beer is a very good book that completely describes the history of brewing in the District of Columbia, Alexandria and Arlington. It should become a standard reference for anyone interested in the breweries of this region." - Mid Atlantic Brewing News, June/July 2014.

"Garrett Peck is to be commended for producing a very readable account of Washington, D.C.'s brewing past." - Journal of Brewery History, Spring 2014 

About the Author

Garrett Peck is a literary journalist, local historian and author of five books. Capital Beer is his fifth book and sequel to Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren't. He leads tours of Seneca quarry and the Temperance Tour in D.C. Peck worked with the DC Craft Bartenders Guild to have the Rickey declared Washington's native cocktail. A native Californian and graduate of VMI and the George Washington University, he lives in Arlington, Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Palate
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626194416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626194410
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Garrett Peck is an independent historian and literary journalist. His sixth and latest book is "Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America's Great Poet." Peck was involved with the DC Craft Bartenders Guild in lobbying the DC City Council to have the Rickey declared Washington's native cocktail. He researched and pinpointed the site of the Washington Brewery at Navy Yard, and is particularly proud that Green Hat Gin is named after a character Peck wrote about in his book "Prohibition in Washington, D.C.": congressional bootlegger George Cassiday. He has lectured at the Library of Congress, delivered the Ruth Ann Overbeck Lecture, and often speaks at literary clubs, historical societies, and trade associations.

Peck leads a number of history-related tours in the Washington area, including the Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites in the nation's capital, which has been featured on C-SPAN Book TV and the History Channel program "Ten Things You Didn't Know About" with punk rock legend Henry Rollins. He also leads the Walt Whitman Tour, Jazz History Tour, brewing tours of Alexandria and DC, and many others.

Peck graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and earned a master's degree in international affairs at George Washington University. Peck has worked two decades in marketing and is a former U.S. Army officer. A native Californian, he lives in Arlington, Virginia. www.garrettpeck.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By theatergeek77 on April 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
Move over Boston, Philly and Portland! As Garrett Peck tells us in his engaging, entertaining way, Washington, D.C., more than holds its own as a beer-brewing town -- both in the past, and today. Whether you live inside or outside the DC region... whether you sip IPA, lager or, heck, whiskey on the rocks... you'll find something to love in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOHN DEFERRARI on April 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
Garrett Peck has a knack for bringing to life nuggets of cultural history, and he has struck pay dirt again with his delightful new book on the history of beer making and beer drinking in the Nation's Capital. Peck begins with the very earliest brewers making English-style ales and porters in the late 1700s, covers the rise of the Germans and their lagers in the 1800s, and recounts the dramatic death and rebirth of D.C. beers in the 20th century. You'll find fascinating portraits here of the great brewers of the past, like Robert Portner and Christian Heurich, as well as a vivid look at how and why the city's great breweries went extinct for such a long time. But it's not all a sad story. Peck seems to know all the exciting craft brewers that have flocked back to D.C. with delicious new beers, and he offers as knowledgeable a glimpse of where beer is headed now and in the future as he does of its storied past. Highly recommended for beer lovers and local history aficionados alike!
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Format: Paperback
A succinct overview of brewing in the Washington area, it is a worthy introduction to readers interested in the subject. A journalistic history rather than a scholarly one, it appears based overwhelmingly on secondary sources and interviews with knowledgeable folks, plus some newspaper articles, Christian Heurich’s memoirs and, presumably, Washington’s city directories and censuses. The appendix’s list of area breweries is largely drawn from published compilations. Seeking to “leave no stone unturned,” the author nonetheless offers little info on the majority of breweries listed; the amount of coverage seems proportionate to the amount already published on each. That’s OK, as those most covered—Portner’s, Heurich’s and National Capital—were the largest of their day, but it slights many of the more obscure, and there are a lot of good stories. The publisher likely set constraints on length that compromised depth. Subjects such as the brewing process, brewery technology and architecture, and labor get fairly short treatment in the book. Brewery research, like other fields, calls upon a broad range of sources; particularly useful are deeds and mortgages to understand fully the development of breweries and their relationships to investors, suppliers and saloons. Perhaps the book’s greatest contribution is its concentration on recent breweries and brewpubs, which are often as ephemeral as their eighteenth- and nineteenth-century predecessors. As modern information is copious yet just as ephemeral, capturing the present generation of small breweries and brewers will be a great service to posterity. The book is also useful from a brewing-tourism perspective, with its focus on former sites, contemporary breweries, and the burial places of historic brewers. Happily, it leaves the field open for additional in-depth research.
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