boy, did you say a mugful expatgirl.
once, america was in the forefront of beers, in both quality and production. of course many german, belgian, english and irish beers have always been world class (i left out canadian just to annoy them...
a little over a century ago, mechanization from the industrial revolution - with all of it's socio-economic effects on the country, and a large german emmigration to the u.s. created a boom in beer. men like adolphus busch, frederick pabst, george ehret, jacob ruppert, joseph schlitz, and philip best created beers that won gold medals in every beer competition around the world.
but prohibition, the temperence movement, and an anti-german sentiment after wwI was the end of the great years in american brewing.
the bright side is that in the last 20 years, many small breweries are springing up as a market grows for higher quality beers. hopefully, we're in the beginning of a new era of what will become another great beer age.