Taking The Pils: Drinking Pils For The Next Session

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For our 114th Session, our host will be Alistair Reece, who is Fuggled. For his topic, he’s opening up a bottle or bottles of pilsners, and states his goals quite simply in his announcement, all about Pilsners:

What I want folks to do is put down their IPAs, their Belgians, their sours, their barrel aged stuff, and hunt out a few pilsners to compare and contrast, whether they be Czech, German, Belgian, American, etc, etc. Try to get examples of Czech and German in particular to see the differences. Most of all though I just want people to re-discover what I consider the pinnacle of the brewing craft, so off hunting you go!

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So before next Friday, pick up a couple of pilsners, or more, and get with the drinking and the tasting and the note-taking. Then come back by Friday, August 5, and report on the results of pilsner fact-finding mission. Post your findings, and then post a comment with a link to your post at the original Fuggled announcement.

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Patent No. 2845196A: Bottle Crates

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Today in 1958, US Patent 2845196 A was issued, an invention of Percy Charles Brett and Cecil Roy Brett, for their “Bottle Crates.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to bottle crates such as crates for beer bottles, .and has for its object to provide a crate without criss-cross partitions which divide the box into individual bottle compartments, but one which nevertheless will retain the bottles snugly in position and will prevent the bottles accidentally falling out should the crate assume an inclined position. By obviating the partitions a crate can be made much smaller in overall dimensions as compared with a partitioned crate for the same number of bottles, and expense is reduced while the space occupied during storage and transit is also considerably reduced.

According to the invention a crate comprises an open topped rectangular box having no compartments for individual bottles and having a main elongated retaining ledge on the respective inside faces of the walls and extending from end to end thereof, said retaining ledge lying parallel to the bottom and open top of the crate and located at the height of the shoulder of the bottles for which the crate is designed. A central partition may be provided spanning opposite walls in combination with retaining ledges also parallel to the bottom and open top of the crate at the same height as the main retaining ledge. For example the central partition in one form terminates upwardly above the level of the retaining ledges and is provided with a hand-grip hole above said level, and the central retaining ledges are strip-s secured respectively to the faces of the partition. The ledges may be formed by strips of half-round section wood or the like secured by their fiat faces to their respective walls.

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Beer Birthday: Garrett Oliver

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Today is Garrett Oliver’s 54th birthday. Garrett is the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and has done more for the craft beer industry to promote pairing food and beer than just about any other person alive. If you haven’t picked up a copy of his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, you should definitely do so. He was also tapped to be the editor of the Oxford Companion to Beer, which came out four years ago (and which I also contributed to). He’s the best-dressed brewer in the world and a great person. Join me in wishing Garrett a very happy birthday.

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Garrett and Bruce Joseph, from Anchor Brewery, at the Brewer’s Dinner before GABF a few years ago.

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Tom Dalldorf, published of the Celebrator, Garrett and me share a beer at d.b.a.

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Giving a cooking demonstration with beer chef Bruce Paton at GABF in 2005.

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A happy Garrett with Randy Mosher at the World Beer Cup dinner at CBC in Chicago a few years ago.

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Earlier this year at Carlsberg in Copenhagen.


Dancing with Jessica, formerly of the Brewers Association, late one night after GABF in 2004 at Falling Rock.

Patent No. 433015A: Vent Bung And Bushing

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Today in 1890, US Patent 433015 A was issued, an invention of John Meyer, for his “Vent Bung and Bushing.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to bungs and vents, and is particularly intended for kegs and casks for beer, ale, and similar liquors, but is of course applicable to all vessels for storing liquids. Its object is to provide a vent-bung, which will at all times prevent the escape of gases from the vessel and preclude the admission of air, except when it is necessary to induce a flow of the liquid from the faucet of the vessel, which Vent will require no attention after the keg is filled and vent-bung inserted until it again be necessary to fill the vessel.

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Beer In Ads #1986: Quiet Evening At Home


Thursday’s ad is entitled Quiet Evening at Home, and the illustration was done in 1956 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #117 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a couple is enjoying a Quiet Evening at Home. He’s reading a book, she’s working some needlework, while their kitten plays with a ball of yarn on the sofa next to her. Full pilsner glasses of beer sit on the end table between them. Seems like a pretty good way to spend an evening.

117. Quiet Evening At Home by Douglass Crockwell, 1956

Patent No. 2291367A: Device For Warming And Reconditioning Beer

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Today in 1942, US Patent 2291367 A was issued, an invention of Albert A. Bezosky, for his “Device For Warming and Reconditioning Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to a device designed for reconditioning stale beer, or beer which has become flat or too cold for immediate consumption.

An important object of the invention is to provide a device of this character which may be used primarily by bartenders, and one which is of the electrical portable type which may be readily and easily immersed in a glass of beer, by the bartender, thereby replacing the head on the beer, or tempering it to render the beer exceptionally palatable.

An apparatus for treating liquid by submersion, comprising a body of pistol-like construction, electric wires extending through the body and terminating in a socket at one end of the body, said body including a handle extended at right angles with respect to the body, an electric plug adapted to be fitted in the socket, resistance wires extending from the plug and disposed in parallel relation with the handle, said resistance wires being in circuit with the wires extending through the body, and said resistance wires being formed into a loop at the free end thereof.

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From Sewer To Brewer: Making Beer From Urine

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If that headline surprised you, it really shouldn’t have. But like the beer made from John’s beard, or the chicha Dogfish Head made using human spit, it just sounds unappetizing. Until you remember that it’s all sterilized and boiled so the finished product is as sanitary as any other beer.

So when I saw the headline from Reuters, “Belgian scientists make novel water-from-urine machine,” and another, First We Feast, “Scientists Have Finally Discovered a Way to Turn Human Urine Into Beer,” my first thought was “sure, why not.” The story, it turns out, is about a team of researchers at Ghent University who have invented a “machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, a technique which could be applied in rural areas and developing countries.” The explanation of how it works, from Reuters:

While there are other options for treating waste water, the system applied at the University of Ghent uses a special membrane, is said to be energy-efficient and to be applicable in areas off the electricity grid.

“We’re able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy,” said University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese.

The urine is collected in a big tank, heated in a solar-powered boiler before passing through the membrane where the water is recovered and nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are separated.

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First We Feast added:

The scientists recently put their invention to the test during a 10-day festival in Ghent. Using the hashtag #PeeForScience, the team encouraged festival-goers to stop by their stand and donate to the cause by relieving themselves. The researchers ended up collecting a whopping 1,000 liters of pee from everyone who participated.

The team believe its machine will have its biggest impact in rural areas, wherever water is scarce and throughout the third world. But apparently as in other projects the Ghent team was involved in, they’ll use some of the water collected to make beer. Program director Derese called this part of the plan “from sewer to brewer.”

There’s many old jokes about American beer being horse piss, so maybe now it really can be. If it reduces costs even a little, you know the megabrewers would be willing to give it a try.

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Patent No. 456872A: Process Of Manufacturing Malt

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Today in 1891, US Patent 456872 A was issued, an invention of Frederick W. Wiesebrock, for his “Process of Manufacturing Malt.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

It is the purpose of my invention to provide a novel process for the manufacture of malt to be used in the production of fermented liquors, said process being of such a character that it may be practiced at all seasons of the year. It is my purpose, also, to materially cheapen the production of malt, to render the same independent of skilled labor, and to produce more uniform and better results than have been attainable heretofore.

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Beer In Ads #1985: Hi Fi


Wednesday’s ad is entitled Hi Fi, and the illustration was done in 1956 by Haddon Sundblom. It’s #116 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, some couples lounge in a pink room, drinking beer, and listening to those old-fashioned vinyl disks that used to hold music in grooves. One woman pages through a book of records, with another woman watching, as if they’re looking at a scrapbook. As usual, they got pretty dressed up to listen to some records at a listening party. Opera, sure. The den? Not so much.

116. Hi Fi by Haddon Sundblom, 1956

Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick J. Stegmaier

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Today is the birthday of Frederick J. Stegmaier (July 27, 1861-April 23, 1915). He was the son of Charles Stegmaier, who founded the Baer & Stegmaier Brewery with his father-in-law in 1857. It eventually became known as the Stegmaier Brewing Co., and ran it with his sons, Christian, Fred and George. Fred became president when his father passed away in 1906.

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Here’s his obituary, published on Find a Grave:

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The Stegmaier brewery in 1870.

And here’s another obituary, from the Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography Illustrated, Volume 7:

Frederick J., son of Charles and Kathleen (Baer) Stegmaier, was born in Wilkes-Barre, July 27, 1861, and died at his home on South Franklin street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, April 22, 1915. He was educated in the public schools, St. Nicholas Parochial School, and Wyoming Seminary, being a graduate of the last named institution. He then became actively associated with his father in business, and at the death of Charles Stegmaier, the father, Frederick J. Stegmaier succeeded him as president of the Stegmaier Brewing Company. It was through the foresighted planning and energy of the sons of Charles Stegmaier that the business founded by the father was developed until it became one of the largest and best equipped plants of its kind in the country. In addition to his responsibilities as head of the company, Frederick J. Stegmaier had other large and important interests. He was for many years president of the South Side Bank, a position ill health caused him to relinquish. He was a director of the First National Bank, director of the Fenwick Lumber Company, director of the Stegmaier Realty Company, and largely interested with his brothers and Abram Nesbitt in the Wales Adding Machine Company. When the last company was threatened with absorption by rivals, these men fought for a number of years to retain the company as a separate plant manufacturing an independent machine, and finally succeeded. Mr. Stegmaier was interested in many other projects, but failing health during his latter years compelled him to withdraw from active participation in many. For four years he lived under the constant care of his physician and knew that his days were numbered, but he neither lost courage nor became despondent. He passed the last winter of his life in the south, but after his return spent nearly every day in his office, literally “dying in the harness.”

He was kind and considerate, very generous, charitable organizations having in him a liberal friend, and when his will was read it was found that Wilkes-Barre City Hospital, Mercy Hospital, United Charities, Nanticoke Hospital, Wilkes-Barre Home for Friendless Children, the Florence Crittenden Shelter and Day Nursery, and the Ladies’ Aid Society had been generously remembered, as had the Home of the Good Shepherd, St. Patrick’s Orphanage, and St. Patrick’s Foundling Home, of Scranton. During his life he served as a director of the City Hospital, knew its needs, and did his full share there as elsewhere in relieving suffering. He was a member of St. Nicholas Church (Roman Catholic) and was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, who after a solemn high mass of requiem in the church conducted final services at the Stegmaier mausoleum in Hollenback Cemetery. He was also a member of the Franklin Club and the Concordia Singing Society.

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Stegmaier Brewery workers c. 1894.

And here’s one more from American Brewers’ Review from 1915:

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