Russell Shorto

Hip Hops

Not long ago, I found myself in a beer-tasting room in upstate New York, looking out on a field of hops and sampling the craft brews of a company called Indian Ladder Farmstead. Among the list of beers chalked on a blackboard was one particularly hoppy creation named “Dr. Paul Matthews I.P.A.” Naturally I felt obliged to inquire about the eponymous doctor. The owner, Dietrich Gehring, told me that the name was an homage. He said his passion for wild hops had led him to Matthews, to whom he referred as the Lord of the Hops…

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3 Replies to “Hip Hops”

  1. Gary Gillman says:

    Dear Mr. Shorto:

    I found this posting through a twisting path. While I have often written of beer history on my blog, this time it was on gin, which as you know is of Dutch origin. My current posting (see link below) inquires whether there are links between Dutch gin, c.1800 Manhattan gin, and American rye and bourbon whiskey.

    The reference to Pennsylvania Germans and Scots-Irish is because those groups are said to have developed rye whiskey in the mid-1700s in Pennsylvania and certain proximate areas (West Virginia and Maryland especially).

    Bourbon is a further development of rye whiskey.

    I’m wondering now though whether the Dutch may have have started the idea of making spirit from rye and corn in America.

    I write this to you simply because I thought it would interest you given your writing on early Manhattan history.

    Your “Island” book is on my “buy-soon” list.


    Gary Gillman, Toronto.

    1. russell says:

      Hi Gary. Thanks for writing. My short answer: I have no idea. But I can check with some people who might. I’ll get back to you if I learn something interesting.

  2. Gary Gillman says:

    HI Russell:

    Many thanks for this. Maryland is old whiskey country, incidentally, especially the western counties; I’m planning a post soon on this.

    All best.


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About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar