Hoppy moments in beer history

4,300 BC — Oldest-known written recipe — a formula for beer — inscribed in clay cuneiform tablet.

500-1000 AD — Brewing begins in Europe; hops added to process.

1490 — Columbus finds Native Americans making beer from corn and tree sap. They do not sing drinking songs together.

1612 — First commercial New World brewery opens in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan, in New York City).

1620 — Mayflower docks at Plymouth Rock; ship’s log notes landing hastened by fears over dwindling supplies, “especially our beere.”

1772 — Porter (a dark-and-light-malts mixture) is born in England.

1810 — 132 operating breweries in United States.

1820s — English brewers create strong, heavily hopped brews — now known as India Pale Ales — to withstand long sea voyages to Asian colonies. First bitter-beer faces made.

1842 — Golden lager launched in Plzen, Bohemia. (Pilsner Urquell is still the best beer made, sez my old man).

1844 — Milwaukee brewery later to become Pabst Brewing Company opens. Many years in the future, Asheville hiccups.

1873 — 4,131 U.S. breweries (peak number).

1900 — Carrie Nation takes an axe to saloons.

1920-1933 — Prohibition (18th Amendment to Constitution) makes manufacture, sale of beer illegal in U.S.

1930s-’80s — Rise of mass-market mega-brewers; smaller local/regional breweries perish by the score.

1935 — Canned beer introduced. (Pop-tops come later.)

1953 — Anheuser-Busch buys St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball affiliation does nothing to improve their beers.

1965 — Fritz Maytag (sometimes called the “spiritual father” of the craft-brewing movement) uses part of washing-machine fortune to rescue failing Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco.

1965 — Short-lived New Albion Brewery, recognized as first American “microbrewery,” opens in California with two-barrel brew house.

1977 — Billy Beer surfaces, sucks. Jimmy Carter, as it happens, not elected to second presidential term.

1978 — Feds legalize home-brewing.

1979 — I attempt to brew beer for sixth-grade science project. Results are horrific. World takes no notice whatsoever.

1983 — Yakima Brewing and Malting Company (the first modern brew pub) opens in Washington state; 51 U.S. breweries (record low), most making similar pilsner-style lager; top six breweries — Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Heileman (later bought by Stroh), Stroh (later bought by Pabst), Coors and Pabst — control 92 percent of U.S. beer production.

1987 — I sample Guinness Stout at the mother brewery in Dublin, Ireland. No big moment for beer; huge moment for me.

1994 — Highland Brewing Company opens in Asheville, sparking this state’s most successful professional craft-brewing environment.

1997 — More than 1,200 U.S. breweries/brewpubs.

[Various online beer guides were consulted for this list.]

— F.R.

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