Saturday, April 24, 2010

Birthday in Beer: Bob Skilnik

Today's Birthday in Beer belongs to Bob Skilnik, the author of Beer & Food: An American History. He's written a well-researched story of beer in America from Colonial days to the present, in which he places beer in context, connecting it with the nation's food and cuisine. The book is one part history, one part beer-as-ingredient cookbook, and one part beer myth exposé.

Beer & Food

Bob is definitely a beer curmudgeon; he delights in deflating beer myths. For example, from his blog, Beer (and more) in Food, you'll learn:
  • what Ben Franklin did NOT say about beer
  • the true history of Pilgrims and beer and the first Thanksgiving
  • how beer came to be available on the very day the manufacturing of 3.2% alcohol-by-weight beer became legal in 1933. 
The beer now available had been brewed under the old Prohibition formula for near beer. <...> This would explain how the brewers had hundreds of thousands of cases of beer ready for sale in such a short period of time. After all, old-time local brewers had been stating for decades that their beer required two months for lagering purposes. Despite the loud protests of local brewers, Chicagoans were getting a weakened version of the kind of beer they had drunk before Prohibition. City brewers continued to insist that their beer was up to government standards but week-end arrests for drunkenness indicated otherwise. Police records showed only 63 persons were charged with drunkenness on Saturday night in Chicago. This was about one-third of the normal arrest figures during a typical Prohibition-era week-end.

Bob is a young 72 today. His blog is subtitled  Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!. That's appropriate.

  • Bob is the author of Does My Butt look Big in This Beer, which lists nutritional analyses for 2,000 beers.
  • More of my short list of Birthdays in Beer: here.
  • Follow the Brookston Beer Bulletin's much more comprehensive calendar of beer birthdays. It's a marvelous resource for learning more about the folk who brew, deliver, and write and talk about beer.

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