BREWED IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: A History of Beer-Making in Oregon and Washington, by Gary and Gloria Meier (Fjord Press: $25.95 , cloth; $12.95 , paper; 220 pp., illustrated) For beer nuts only, this heady little history goes back to the Bible to set the scene: Noah had an Arkful of suds on board; the Pilgrims didn't, which explains their premature stop at Plymouth. Two centuries later, brewers trailed prospectors and loggers into the Northwest--predictably followed by saloon-keepers, gamblers and "ladies of ultimate accessibility." Soon virtually every hamlet boasted its own distinctive beer, touted as giving "health to all who drink it, especially the nursing mother and convalescent." Under Prohibition, home breweries sprouted. (Advertisement of one civic-minded malt seller: "Do not add yeast to this product, since that will create alcohol, which is illegal.") With Repeal came consolidation. Only three brew-chippers remain--Reinhard, Olympia, Rainier--though microbreweries mushroom: Anyone for a Maid Marion? A Terminator? A Black Butte? Norm!

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