Beer Birthday: Shaun Hill

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Today is the 38th birthday of Shaun Hill, who founded the Hill Farmstead Brewery. After learning to homebrew, he took a job at a local brewpub, the Shed, and eventually became its brewer. After a stint brewing in Copenhagen at Nørrebro Bryghus, he returned to his hometown of Greensboro, Vermont and founded his brewery in 2010. His brewery and beers have gone on to win many accolades. Certainly, the ones I”ve tried have been terrific. I first met Shaun when he was visiting Russian River Brewing a couple of years ago and again at the last two Rate Beer Best events here in Sonoma County, and it’s been great fun getting to know him a little bit. Join me in wishing Shaun a very happy birthday.

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At this year’s Rate Beer Best Awards dinner.

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At Rate Beer Best’s first beer festival in 2016.

Beer Birthday: Jim Koch

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Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., known primarily for their Samuel Adams beers, is celebrating his 68th birthday today. Jim was instrumental, of course, in spreading the word about craft beer, especially in the early days when Samuel Adams was often the first one to be available in many pockets of the country. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

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Daniel Bradford and Amy Dalton, both with All About Beer, sandwiching Jim Koch, and flanked by drinks writer Rick Lyke, who writes online at Lyke 2 Drink.

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Jim and me at the annual media brunch and Longshot winner announcement at GABF in 2009.

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After judging the finals for the Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason Alstrom (from Beer Advocate), Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend (a food & drinks columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly (on assignment for Celebrator Beer News), Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Todd Alstrom (also from Beer Advocate).

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Jack McAuliffe and Jim at Boston Beer’s annual media brunch during GABF week four years ago.

New Old Beer Words: Nazz’d

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Here’s still another new word that should be added to the beer lexicon. Well, it’s not exactly a new word, but has been around 1876, and most likely earlier. It showed up as the word of the day yesterday on my “Forgotten English” page-a-day calendar.

The word is nazz’d and is described as “confused through beer or liquor; slightly drunk. Nazzy, stupified through drink.” It was apparently listed in “C. Clough Robinson’s Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.”

Trying to find out more, I found “Nazzle,” defined as “to be in a dreamy, stupid, abstracted state,” also apparently originating in Yorkshire, and listed in “Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905.” They certainly sound like related words, though I can’t be absolutely certain.

And I also found this definition:

Nazz’d, or Nazzy, adj. slightly drunk. Stupified. “Gying nazzling alang,” sauntering in a state of abstraction.

That one’s from “A Glossary of Words Used in Swaledale, Yorkshire,” by Captain John Harland, published in 1873.

So my interpretation of the word is that it’s meant to describe a very specific type of intoxication. Maybe buzzed is close to it, although I’ve come to hate that word due to the prohibitionist’s appropriation of it, but an intoxication that’s not complete, falling down, incoherent drunk, but closer to that sweet spot where you’re in a dreamlike state. That’s a good place to be.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Nicholas Kessler

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Today is the birthday of Nicholas Kessler (May 26, 1833-December 11, 1902). Kessler was born in Luxembourg, but came to the U.S. in 1854, eventually settling in Montana, where he bought into a brewery there, which was eventually known as the Kessler Brewery.

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From “A Luxembourg Pioneer in Montana,” by Fausto Gardini:

Nic(h)olas Kessler, originally the name was spelled Kesseler, is born, the youngest of a family of six children. He arrives in New York on January 10, 1854, continues on to Sandusky, Ohio and settles for a while at Detroit, Michigan. Later, he removes to Chicago, Illinois and is active in the feed business. Like many other immigrants, he succumbs to the gold fever and heads west prospecting in Colorado before heading to Montana in August of 1863. In Virginia City, Nick starts a bakery, restaurant and liquor business. In 1864, Nick travels back to Luxembourg to visit with family and friends. When returning to America, according to a contemporary, he had learned that back in Luxembourg men had to relax and when they relaxed many of them found solace and entertainment with friends over a stein of brew. So rather than continuing panning for gold in 1865 he acquires a brewery at Helena, Montana. Over the years, he grows the Kessler Brewery into one of the most prosperous breweries far and wide. His Lorelei beer is a favorite for many decades. Nicholas Kessler, dies on December 11, 1902, in Helena, Montana.

Fausto has more about Kessler, the Montana Pioneer from Luxembourg, and there’s a lot of great information at Helena As She Was.

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Their most popular beer was called Lorelei Beer.

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And this account is from the “History of Montana,” by Joaquin Miller, 1894:

Nicholas Kessler, one of the prominent and enterprising businessmen of Helena Montana, is a native of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Germany, born May 26, 1833. His youth and early manhood were spent in Germany and in 1854 he emigrated to America, landing there in January of that year and locating in Sandusky Ohio. In 1856 he removed from Sandusky to Chicago, where he was engaged in the commission business until the winter of 1859-60, then starting for Pikes Peak, Colorado. He arrived in Colorado in time to aid in the elections of the first Recorder of California Gulch, where Leadville is now located. During the summer and fall of 1860 he was engaged in mining there, then mined in Montgomery, Colorado until 1862 and from that time until August 1863 he landed in Virginia City Montana and for one year was engaged in the liquor business at that place. In 1864 he made a visit to his old friends in Germany but returned to America the following year, and gain took up his abode in Montana, this time in Helena. Since April 1865 he has been identified with the interests of this city.

Mr. Kessler built and is the proprietor of the largest brewing establishment in Montana. He owns and operates the
brickyards which have furnished nearly all the brick that have been used in the buildings in Helena. He is also largely interested in Helena real estate and lands in Lewis and Clarke and Cascade counties and has extensive stock interests besides. With the various commercial and fraternal organizations of the city he is prominently connected.

Mr. Kessler was married in New York, April 2, 1873 to Louisa Ebert, who died December 18, 1880 leaving three children, two sons and one daughter. Both sons are now efficient help to their father in the management of his extensive business while the other children are attending school.

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An etching of the Kessler Brewery around 1892.

And here’s Kessler’s obituary from the Anaconda Standard:

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Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Theurer

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Today is the birthday of Joseph Theurer (May 24, 1852-May 14, 1912). Born in Philadelphia of German descent, who became a well-known brewer in both his native Pennsylvania and Illinois. After he married Emma Schoehofen, he became VP of his father-in-law’s Chicago brewery, the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Company in 1880. After Peter passed away in 1893, Theurer became president and remained at the helm until his own death in 1912.

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Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:

Joseph Theurer, who was of German descent, was born in Philadelphia in 1852. He became one of the most knowledgeable brewers of his day. He served as Treasurer of the Illinois State Brewers Association from 1898 to 1911 and he held title of President of the United States Brewing Association from 1903 to 1905.

Joseph arrived in Chicago in the Fall of 1869 and worked as an apprentice to brewers Adam Baierle and K.G. Schmidt. In 1871, he had been working at the Huck Brewery for less than a week when the brewery was destroyed in The Great Chicago Fire.

So he returned to Philadelphia for a year to work at the brewery of Bergdoll & Psotta. And then headed back to Chicago in 1872 to work at Bartholomae & Leicht brewery until 1874. He was also employed for one season at the Clybourn Avenue Malthouse of F. Wacker & Co. before returning to Philadelphia until his marriage to Peter Schoenhofen’s daughter, Emma Schoehofen, in 1880.

Upon his marriage to Emma, he became Vice President of Schoenhofen Brewing Company in Chicago until his father in law Peter’s death in 1893. Joseph took over as President of Schoenhofen Brewing from 1893 until 1911.

In 1896, Joseph commissioned what is now known as the Theurer-Wrigley Mansion. The Mansion, built in the late Italian Renaissance style, was designed by Richard Schmidt and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The 20,000+ square foot mansion features 11 bedrooms and 6 baths. Furnished with nearly all Tiffany light fixtures, many have been removed by previous owners or sold. An original Tiffany stained glass window from the Mansion is currently on display at the Chicago History Museum. Recent reports show the Mansion being listed for 9.5 million dollars as a foreclosure in 2011, but it has since been purchased and is currently occupied by a single owner.

On May 14, 1912 Joseph died from pneumonia and was laid to rest along with Peter Schoenhofen in the magnificent Egyptian revival style tomb in Graceland Cemetery. Services were conducted on May 17th in front of the tomb and conducted in both English and German. Attendees included members of the Illinois and Cook County Brewers Associations as well as a large number of charitable organizations, family and close friends.

Joseph was survived by his widow Emma, two sons, Peter S. and Joseph Jr., and two daughters Miss Margareta Theurer and Mrs. Marie (Richard) Ostenrieder.

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The Encyclopedia of Chicago has a concise history of the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Co.:

Peter Schoenhofen, a Prussian immigrant, was in Chicago working in the brewing trade by the 1850s. In 1861, he started a partnership with Matheus Gottfried; they were soon operating a brewery at Canalport Avenue and 18th Street where, during the early 1860s, they made about 600 barrels of lager beer a year. In 1867, Schoenhofen bought out his partner, and the company became the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Co. By 1868, annual output had increased to about 10,000 barrels. During the 1890s, when the business was owned by the City Contract Co. of London, England, annual output reached 180,000 barrels. Around 1900, the Schoenhofen family regained control of the company, which employed about 500 people at its brewery on West 12th Street by 1910. During this time, the company was also known as the National Brewing Co. The company’s “Edelweiss” brand of beer was a big seller. Operations shut down during Prohibition, but by 1933, after the national ban on alcohol production was lifted, the company was back in business as the Schoenhofen-Edelweiss Co. After being purchased by the Atlas Brewing Co. in the late 1940s, Schoenhofen became part of Dewery’s Ltd. of South Bend, Indiana, in 1951, and thereafter assumed the Dewery’s name. By the beginning of the 1970s, there was nothing left of its Chicago operations, although Dewery’s reintroduced the famous Edelweiss brand in 1972 after nearly a decade-long hiatus.

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Today, the land where the brewery was located is known as the Schoenhofen Brewery Historic District and to see earlier photos of that area, Forgotten Chicago has a short history, with lots of pictures.

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Beer In Ads #2285: Three Rings, Killing Turkeys


Tuesday’s ad is for Ballantine, from 1948. In this ad, part of a series progressing from one, to two, to three rings, this one shows a man holding a hatchet chasing a turkey around in circles, presumably trying to kill him for Thanksgiving dinner. After running rings around the farmer at least three times, he’s kicked up three rings on the ground forming the Ballantine logo.

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