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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lager Library: Land of Amber Waters

If you have an interest in the history of brewing "Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota" by Doug Hoverson is the definitive volume on beer in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Published by the University of Minnesota Press, Land of Amber Waters (352 pgs., $39.95) is lavishly illustrated with more than 300 color photos including historic brewery photographs, label art and advertising. Hoverson traces the history of Minnesota brewing back to 1849, touching in detail on many of the 300 breweries that have turned out lagers and ales in the state. Hoverson, the associate editor of American Breweriana Journal, a homebrewer and certified beer judge, is a social studies teacher in Minnesota. He combines all of this expertise in showcasing how beer and breweries reached into every corner of Minnesota.

One of my favorite aspects of Land of Amber Waters is looking at the various ways beer has been marketed during the last 150 years. One poster for Grain Belt Beer, with the headline "We've Come a Long Way Baby" and an illustration of a young woman reclining in a field of barley, had to be recalled by the brewer after complaints that it was too suggestive. The poster would hardly cause a second glance in today's world.

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