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Beer Research Guide: Places/Eras


As long as there has been civilization, there has been beer. And as long as there has been beer, there have been words written about its history.  

While there are books listed on this page, many of the sources you'll see are links to lists of Google Scholar search results. Google Scholar casts a wide net in its searches, so it's a convenient starting place, but not a comprehensive "one-stop shop." You'll learn about Google Scholar below. 

Google Scholar is a search engine that searches scholarly literature and academic resources. You can search across disciplines and sources for articles, theses, books, patents, and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.

Google Scholar is different from "ordinary" Google because it searches many of the same scholarly books, articles, and documents in the library catalog. It is this scholarly, authoritative focus that distinguishes Google Scholar from "ordinary" Google. There is overlap between what is in Google Scholar and our library databases, and I had better luck finding non-U.S. historical sources using Google Scholar first. 

OSU students, staff, and faculty have access to articles in Google Scholar from any computer with an Internet connection. With a few adjustments to your preferences, you can tell Google Scholar to point you to the resources the library provides for the OSU community. You can find instructions for setting up your preferences on the library guide Don't Pay for Articles: Google Scholar & OSU Libraries.

Additionally, whether or not you need to use a scholarly source depends on your research project. For my beer history research, I move between Google searches, Wikipedia articles, popular magazines, peer reviewed articles, and academic books. 



There are many terrific sources for learning about beer history. Most of the books on this list have a western focus, so please send me a message if you find books from other parts of the world. 

  • Acitelli, Tom. Audacity of Hops: the History of America's Craft Beer Revolution. Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, 2017.
  • Arnold, John P. Origin and history of beer and brewing: from prehistoric times to the beginning of brewing science and technology; a critical essay. Cleveland, Ohio: Reprint Edition by BeerBooks. (2005, 1911 original)
  • Arnold, John P., and Frank Penman. History of the brewing industry and brewing science in America: prepared as part of a memorial to the pioneers of American brewing science, Dr. John E. Siebel and Anton Schwarz. Cleveland, Ohio: (2006, 1933 original)
  • Baron, Stanley. Brewed in America: a History of Beer and Ale in the United States. Boston: Little, Brown and Company / Literary Licensing, LLC, 2012.
  • Bernstein, Joshua M. Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the Craft Beer Revolution. New York: Sterling Epicure, 2011.
  • Bickerdyke, John. The curiosities of ale and beer. An entertaining history. New York: Blom. (1977, 1866 original)
  • Cornell, Martyn. Beer: The Story of the Pint. London: Headline, 2004.
  • Downard, William L. Dictionary of the history of the American brewing and distilling industries. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1980.
  • Hornsey, Ian S. A history of beer and brewing. Cambridge: Royal Soc. of Chemistry, 2003.
  • Hoverson, Doug. The Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
  • Hoverson, Doug. The Drink that made Wisconsin Famous: Beer and Brewing in the Badger State. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019.
  • King, Frank Alfred. Beer has a history. London: Hutchinson's Scientific and Technicial Publications, 1947.
  • Ogle, Maureen. Ambitious brew: the story of American beer. Orlando: Harcourt, 2006.
  • Patterson, Mark, and Hoalst-Pullen, Nancy. The Geography of Beer : Regions, Environment, and Societies. Dordrecht ; New York: Springer, 2014.
  • Rorabaugh, W.J. The Alcohol Republic: An American Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
  • Smith, Gregg. Beer: A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries. New York: Avon, 1995.
  • Unger, Richard W. Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.


Dr. Maureen Ogle, author of the 2006 book Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (and 2019 second edition), talked to Tiah Edmunson-Morton on March 31, 2020 via Zoom about how she does her research. In her interview, Ogle talks about how she selects a topic, learns about the historical context, plans her research, and tracks her sources. She also talks about how research methods have changed since her 1996 book All the Modern Conveniences: American Household Plumbing, 1840-1890 and offers advice more specifically on conducting beer research.


HathiTrust Digital Library houses millions of digitized books and other items from a coalition of academic and research libraries. A search for terms like "brewing," "brewery," or "beer" will return results containing books and journals from the mid-nineteenth century into the late twentieth, most of which are full-text searchable. Critically, researchers are able to apply filters to the search results by date, language, place of publication, and more. For example, see the filter options for a search for "brewery," below: 




The era after Prohibition saw a dramatic consolidation of the industry and the closing of many of the breweries that were able to weather Prohibition by making soft drinks or juices.

Google Scholar: links to search results pages


Most of the "history" of the craft beer era was recorded in industry periodicals like All About Beer or local newspapers. As print journalism and beer periodicals has ceased operations, online article sites (e.g. Good Beer Hunting), podcasts, and Twitter have become popular means for sharing information. 

Depending on your topic, you will use several different types of source for researching the micro or craft brewing era. These include popular periodicals, websites, social media communities, and articles written by bloggers. While some still send e-newsletters, breweries are increasingly using social media to tell their own stories and histories on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Websites change or disappear without notice. The Internet Archive helps save that information. It includes links to websites, images of labels, audio and video interviews and brewery tours, podcasts, and tv news segments. 

Additional recommended readings: 



undefinedTravis Rupp teaches in the Department of Classics at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the Innovation & Wood Cellar Manager for Avery Brewing Company, and is a Beer Archeologist. Rupp talked to Tiah Edmunson-Morton on Zoom on May 12, 2020 about why he started studying beer, his work at Avery Brewing and research/design of beers for their Ales of Antiquity program, his recent research on Colonial era brewing, the growth of beer history scholarship since 2012, the ways he works to bridge the gap between academics studying beer and practitioners brewing, his research process, sources he values in doing ancient history work (e.g. art), the importance of on-site archival work, valuable print and online sources for his research, and how he keeps track. 


Searches in the OSU catalog and Google Scholar:

Secondary sources to check:

Norse beer history: 

See also: 


Society for Creative Anachronism's Medieval/Renaissance Brewing Homepage

Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Richard Unger

From the Ancient History Encyclopedia: Norse Alcohol & The Mead of Poetry, Joshua J. Mark

Nelson, Max. The Barbarian's Beverage a History of Beer in Ancient Europe. London ; New York: Routledge, 2005.

Google Scholar: links to search results pages


Explore the search results lists for these different regions of the globe. Even if you are not doing work on that particular region, the article descriptions, keywords, and suggested related searches might give you new ideas for researching your topic. 

There are suggestions for researching international and domestic companies on the Industry Research tab. 

United States

United Kingdom 

European Brewing




Middle East

South Africa

Latin America