I’m Writing A North Dakota Beer Book!

Hi fabulous Praire Style File readers!

I’ve been a little quieter on social media lately. You might have noticed I’ve been having some of my amazing friends pen a few more guest posts than usual. Maybe you saw that my weekly posts are arriving just a little bit later or earlier than usual and you’ve wondered why.

It’s because I’m writing a book! It’s called “North Dakota Beer: A Heady History” and it will be in bookstores, on Amazon and for sale on this website in July 2017.

It’s about about beer in North Dakota and it’s one of the most exciting/terrifying projects I’ve ever worked on. It starts before statehood and continues into the present. It explores how North Dakota has evolved both as a beer drinking state and a beer producing state. (We grow a whole lot of malting barley for beer here!)

These are just some of the great beers at Rhombus Guys Brewing Company in Grand Forks. There’ll be a post coming soon!

It’s exciting because I get to interview all of the fabulous brewers in our state and try (I mean research) even more of their fantastic beer. (It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…wink, wink.) I’ve heard some great stories, learned some random facts and discovered some great beer bars that I didn’t know existed. I’ll tell you more about some of my favorites in the coming weeks.

Writing a book is great, but also terrifying because it’s such a huge project. There’s just so much information to take in. I started at the beginning and dove into the state’s history. I’ve visited the archives, museums and experts that most people think of quite a few that fly under the radar. I’m learning things about North Dakota’s earliest days that blow my mind and occasionally make me laugh out loud.

Seriously, some of North Dakota’s earliest people need books of their own. I’ve encountered gun toting pastors, prohibition beer runners, enterprising madams, blatantly corrupt officials, frontier beer brewers, hard partying cowboys, incredibly successful female farmers, outrageous saloon owners and so many more.

These are just some of the stories you can read when the book comes out next year. But I also need your help and your stories.

See, the beginning of the book is almost done and the end (the part that covers the current North Dakota beer scene) is nearly complete too. But I need your help with some of the parts in between.

The stories of the middle stages of North Dakota’s beer development aren’t old enough to be stored in history museums and not new enough to make the papers. That’s because they’re your stories — and the stories of people you know.

Truth in advertising in Harvey, North Dakota

These are the kinds of stories that it takes time to gather. They’re the stories you only get by chatting with collectors, historians and local beer fans, people who remember the time between the Depression and the turn of the last century. I’ve sat and talked with lots of old guys (I say that with love because I really like old guys — they make me laugh and they make strong coffee) and heard a lot of tales.

And now I want to hear yours. I still need a few specific stories and maybe you can help.

The questions I’ve listed below are already in the historical record, but I want to hear from someone who was there to see what the beer, the bar, the city or the experience was really like. This is the story of North Dakota beer and North Dakota people. And I want it to be as interesting, complex and egalitarian as we are.

If you can help, feel free to comment below and I’ll get in touch. Or you can email me anytime at alicia@prairiestylefile.com or find me on any of my social media platforms, which are listed at the bottom of this post. Feel free to pass this on to anyone who has an experience to share.

Beer from Buffalo Commons Brewing Company is one of many options on tap at Peacock Alley in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Were you (or someone you know/knew):
– A regular or employee at a North Dakota bar or tavern in the 40s-70s?
– A North Dakota farmer who produces barley for beer?
– A patron of Rattlesnake Creek Bar and Grill in Dickinson or The Great Northern Brewery in Fargo?
– A homebrewer before 1978?
– A beer bottle or merchandise collector?
– A regular or employee at a dance hall, ball room, beer hall or any place that specialized in dances?
– A collector of old beer, saloon or historical photographs?
– A photographer (professional or not) who loves to photograph beer and bars?

Thanks for your help, everybody! I’ll keep you informed about when the book will come out and give you all the details about how and where to buy it — including right here on this site.

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