Beer, Plymouth Rock and Pilgrims: The real story

Bob Skilnik, beer historian and author whose latest book, "Beer & Food: An American History," was reviewed on this site, has come up with a timely Thanksgiving tale on his own site.

Says Skilnik (right):

"Since the release of my seventh book, I’ve posted a few ... cutting room floor stories that have rubbed against the grain ... .

"So, I was a bit hesitant to write about another popular bit of U.S. beer folklore, beginning with the silly notion that the 'Pilgrims' chose to land at Plymouth Rock because they had run out of beer. But, after reading another blog that noted with solemn pride that the first structure the Pilgrims built when they arrived in the New World was a brewery, the glove of historical accuracy was thrown down. ...

"The Pilgrims put to shore at Plymouth on December 19, 1620. It was winter, their supplies were low, they were dying and in need of shelter. Who in their right mind would believe that the first building the Pilgrims put up would be a brewery? People were already beginning to die because of cold weather, disease and poor nutrition. By the time spring arrived, more than half of the 102 settlers would perish ... and we're to believe that a new brewery had top priority on the Pilgrims' 'Things To Do Today' list?"

His essay makes for interesting and perhaps enlightening reading.

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