Civilization began because of beer. Not until early man stumbled upon patches of slurpable grain made wet by rain and fermented by yeast -- perhaps as much as 10,000 years ago, some say -- did he find potent reason to abandon his nomadic ways for the stationary, interdependent life of a farmer and to cultivate the crops necessary to swill at will. Connecting the dots from that sociological innovation through the alcohol-fueled pillaging of the Vikings (dubbed "the most beer-drunken people that have ever lived" by cultural anthropologist Alan Eames), the inebriated yet still fruitful reign of England's Queen Elizabeth I (noted to have favored a breakfast of bread and ale), the Pilgrims and early colonial taverns, any thorough beer history must wend its way through America's brewing capital: us. The Lemp family business started here in the 1840s and is widely regarded as the first to bring lighter, golden-hued lagers to American taste buds. By the 1860s, St. Louis was a city of 40 suds-houses -- Anheuser-Busch only the 29th largest among them that year, though it would become the first national beer brand in 1880 and achieve world domination by the time the World's... More >>>