Historical Tidbits: Lager Beer In 1869

When I’m researching a book, most of what I read doesn’t make it into the final version of the manuscript. If I quoted from or referred to everything I found, my books would end up being 2,000 pages long and who the hell wants to read a doorstop? (Not me!) The result is that I have to pick and choose and I often leave out some juicy stuff.

I was reminded of that yesterday while working on my new book (which is about meat, not beer). I tracked down a copy of a book titled The Great Metropolis, which was published in 1869, because it contains a chapter on New York City’s markets.

And then I remembered that this book also contained a chapter on lager beer gardens — and that it was quite comical. Just the kind of thing you beer buffs might want to read — and you can do so for free online. (Hooray for digital databases!) This book, and zillions of others, is at a website called Making of America, which is hosted by the University of Michigan and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Frankly, the search mechanism is crude and clunky, so I’m creating a link that will take you directly to the chapter in the book itself. Just in case that link goes haywire (although I did test it): The site is Making of America. Once there, use the “browse” feature (not the little search box, which won’t get you anywhere) to find a book called The Great Metropolis. The author is Junius Browne, and the lager beer chapter begins on p. 159. But the link above should take you straight to correct page. Enjoy!

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