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Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey Paperback – September 30, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beer-enthusiast Yaeger writes about his travels throughout the country visiting microbreweries, and like most suds aficionados, he has an affinity for so-called craft beers. Throughout his odyssey—starting at the ancient Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Pa., and going West before concluding at the upstart Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware—he spends less time on the many beers he quaffs than he does on portraying the dedicated brewers running these quixotic enterprises. There's good reason for that, as the people he comes across in his journey (crashing on couches, always buying a six-pack sampler of the local brewery's wares on the way out of town) are an uncommonly determined lot. In Yaeger's chatty interviews with the brewers, they talk about the business, the post-1980s renaissance in American beer and the common need to enter into distribution agreements with the likes of Anheuser Busch (if not letting themselves be bought outright). Yaeger's book is a solid and amiable rendering of a tough business. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Playboy.com

You want to be like the guys in Sideways, only there's too much corksniffery connected to wineries. Touring breweries is your ticket to ride; Red, White, & Brew is your beer GPS. Yaeger's book is something to immerse yourself in and savor. He chronicles his travels with a narrative style that never rambles. Yaeger delves into the stories of people and places behind regional offerings. Brewmasters reveal a unique, entrepreneurial subset of the population. Their passion resonates with beer-lovers everywhere. Here's hoping that Yaeger has a sequel in him--he's a great drinkin' buddy.


“Brian Yaeger’s frothy beer travelogue is as multifaceted as the industry he covers. Amusing from the first beer (a surreptitious Coors Light from Dad’s minifridge) to the last (a Dogfish Head microbrew), Red White and Brew is the perfect beer lover’s literary trip―road sodas included!” ―Chris O'Hara, author of Great American Beer

“Let's hoist one for Brian Yaeger's beer journalism. Red, White, and Brew is like a well-made ale -- rich, tasty, interesting, and it leaves the reader with a nice buzz.” ―Ken Wells, author of Travels With Barley

“Ever wondered what beermakers really think about their work? Brian Yaeger supplies some answers in this coast-to-coast, behind-the-scenes tour of American breweries.” ―Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew

“Brian Yaeger understands that beer is more than just water, malt, and hops. It's also people, and not altogether normal people, either.” ―Dan Baum, author of Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383145
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dave Shea on November 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
As I make my way through Red, White and Brew I'm struck by how many fascinating stories there are to be told by those who make the beer we all love to drink. The strength of this book is in the history and perspectives of those personalities that Yaeger interviews along his journey through my neighbouring country to the south. (Yes, I am a Canadian who loves a good American microbrew.)

It's important to realize you won't learn much from this book about which beer you should be bringing home from the corner store; you will, however, uncover a ton of history about the brewery that made that beer, the people behind it, the business ups and downs, the process, and the blood sweat and tears that go into every bottle... uh, figuratively that is.

But the main takeaway for me was a new appreciation for how democratic beer can be. The Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors of the world might prefer you to believe that beer must come from large breweries, but the people in Red White and Brew all started down their various paths with a very different idea in mind. Beer is what you make of it, and for someone with a passion, putting *good* beer in the fridge is something you can always do for yourself. It just takes one trip down to the local homebrew store, and you're on your way.

As I've already warned my girlfriend, the day may arrive where I come home with a few bags of malt and hops, and start putting into practice the ideas I now have percolating in my mind thanks to Red, White and Brew.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brian has a nice easy-to-read format and I found the book very informative. Gives a nice sense of history to the story of craft/micro brewing in the USA. If you enjoy micro beers it's a must read book.
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Format: Paperback
Great, great read! Makes you want to road trip across America, just like Brian did. My husband has always liked craft brews and homebrews. I was mildly interested, but after reading this book we're homebrewing together and constantly on the lookout for new and different beers to try. I've recommended this book to every beer drinker I know.
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Format: Paperback
It's a pretty good read about a man's odessy (he actually uses this word many times) to travel the United States, visiting various breweries and brewpubs. He sticks mainly to long established, family run breweries and some many of the chapters are often mini-family business histories. The large Coors/ Miller / Anheiser-Busch breweries are often referenced, but aren't visited. The author seems more interested in the history of each business than the product. The strength of the book is that Jaeger is a top-notch interviewer. It's no small feat in this book, when in many cases, he had already downed a few cold ones before the interview.

Surprisingly, there's little said about how the end product of each brewery tastes. The author also visits a bunch of brewpubs on the trip, but too many times, just breezes through the visit leaving the author to wonder what each place is really like. Anyone looking for any sort of insights as to how each different place on the map fits into its time and place is going to go away a bit unsatisfied.

Given the strength and weaknesses, I'd give it 3 1/2 stars so I'll round it up to four stars. Beer enthusiasts will enjoy it, but others may want to look elsewhere in the road trip genre.
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Format: Paperback
It's (almost) every guy's dream: travel across the country from Brewery to Brewery. Sample on the way, and then write a book about it! Brian has done it: The beer-hog's guide to America.

It's filled with characters and, of course, beer. Almost every page makes you think "Shit, I wish I'd done that!" And, it's inspiring because you know that you COULD do that, though I'm not sure the world is ready for TWO US beer road books. Maybe try Germany?

The only qualm I have is the author's subtle bragging. Every stop he makes to stay with a "friend" is with a FEMALE friend. Hmmmm

But that's a minor qualm with a book that should be on top of your gift list for the beer/road trip lover in your life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author doesn't miss a beat here in this intriguing story of Microbreweries in the USA, providing what is both a great travel book and a great resource of information about the revival of the American beer industry. No punches are pulled against the big three of course, with only an abandoned Pabst brewery and numerous snide remarks reminding us that for all the flavor the author is enjoying 85% of people in America are still quaffing bud lites by the score.

Still, if you are looking for something that is a lot like Bill Bryson but with breweries I'd heartily recommend this. The author is interesting himself, and the people he meets share a great deal of information.
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As a self proclaimed beergeek, and avid homebrewer, I found Red, White, and Brew a very enjoyable read, that forces the reader to keep turning pages to see what's next on the beer menu. The author does a nice job of getting behind the scenes of some of America's best breweries, and sheds some light on what makes these unique people tick.

My only critisism of the author's writing style lies in the way he weaves his own personal life experiences in with each of the interviews. I found this to be confusing at times, not completely sure if he was spaeking about himself, or the subject of his interview.

All in all this is a book worthy of a read by anyone who enjoys the craft brew revolution underway in our country, or just likes reading about, as well as drinking beer.
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