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  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Linking past and present in Nuremberg

    “This will be easy to see,” said Annelise, our guide, flipping off the lights in the chilly sandstone beer cellar that had been converted to an air-raid shelter during World War II. A small plaque on the wall glowed with electric-lime phosphorescence. It was, she told us, an emergency exit sign for the 50,000 civilians who had fled — two to a square meter — to these cellars-cum-bunkers during Allied firebombings.The sign was a small but poignant reminder of how hundreds of years of beer brewing in Nuremberg — a city that was 90 percent destroyed during the war — linked past and present.Just over an hour by direct train from Munich, Nuremberg (population 510,000) is Bavaria’s often-overlooked second city. Of course, the locals say Bavaria has little to do with the place; a greater allegiance is owed to the smaller administrative district of Middle Franconia, which has its own dialect, history and cuisine. Not to mention beer....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Jeffrey P. Kahn: How Beer Gave Us Civilization

    Jeffrey P. Kahn, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is the author of “Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression.”HUMAN beings are social animals. But just as important, we are socially constrained as well.We can probably thank the latter trait for keeping our fledgling species alive at the dawn of man. Five core social instincts, I have argued, gave structure and strength to our primeval herds. They kept us safely codependent with our fellow clan members, assigned us a rank in the pecking order, made sure we all did our chores, discouraged us from offending others, and removed us from this social coil when we became a drag on shared resources.Thus could our ancient forebears cooperate, prosper, multiply — and pass along their DNA to later generations.