Thursday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1950. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features “American actor, director, producer, and writer in theater, film, and television” Burgess Meredith wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale.
Today is the birthday of Pedro Rodenbach (June 8, 1794-January 20, 1848). He was a military officer and fought in the Battle of Waterloo. When he left the army in 1818, he married a brewer’s daughter, Regina Wauters, who was from Mechelen in Belgium. After Pedro’s father died, he and his brothers, Alexander, Ferdinand and Constantijn, bought a brewery in Roeselare. When their agreed-upon partnership ended after fifteen years, Pedro and Regina bought them out. It was originally called Brasserie et Malterie Saint-Georges, but later became known as Brouwerij Rodenbach.
This is a translation of his Dutch Wikipedia page:
Pedro Rodenbach was the youngest brother of Alexander and Constantin Rodenbach. Like his older brothers Ferdinand Constantin and he enlisted in the French army. He joined there in February 1811 as a volunteer the Imperial Guard. He made the disastrous Russian campaign note (1812), and was second lieutenant in the 14th regiment of cuirassiers under in March 1813 Colonel About that last action came during the Battle of Leipzig (1813). Back in Belgium, he joined as a lieutenant (Belgian) carabineers, which were integrated into the Dutch army and battled in the Battle of Waterloo (1815).
Rodenbach took in 1818 resigned from the army. He married that year in Mechelen Regina Wauters, a rich brewer’s daughter. After the death of his father in 1820 he began working with his brothers Alexander and Ferdinand and his sister a company which included a distillery and a brewery.
In preparation for the Belgian revolution made by Pedro name to King William I to hand over a petition in June 1829, drawn up by his brother Alexander, the release of Louis de Potter and other political prisoners. At the outbreak of the revolution he was in the front row, he founded the “Reunion Central”, a revolutionary club including Rogier, Chazal and Ducpétiaux. He took charge of a company of volunteers, and drove at the September day gallop to Lille to the exiled Louis de Potter back to Brussels to accompany.
Pedro Rodenbach joined the new Belgian army as a colonel and was tasked to organize the 1st regiment of hunters on horseback. From August 1831 to February 1839 he was the military commander instead of Brussels.
In 1836 he bought the fortune of his wife Regina, his brothers share in the joint venture over. It was renamed Brasserie et Malterie Saint-Georges, later known as Brouwerij Rodenbach. However, he continued to live in Brussels, after his discharge from active military service in June 1839, and the effective management of the company was owned by his wife in Roeselare.
And this is the history currently on the brewery website:
The Rodenbachs moved from Andernach am Rhein to Roeselare in West Flanders. The Rodenbach line boasted numerous military men, poets, writers, brewers and entrepreneurs, as well as pragmatic revolutionaries and politicians.
Pedro Rodenbach took part in Napoleon’s Russian campaign and was instrumental in the Belgian revolution in 1830, which led to an independent Belgium. Three Rodenbachs were members of the constitutional congress when Belgium was founded. Constantijn Rodenbach was the author of the “Brabançonne”, the Belgian national anthem.
In 1836, Pedro Rodenbach, together with his entrepreneurial wife Regina Wauters, founded the brewery. However, it is Eugène Rodenbach whom RODENBACH has to thank for its unique quality and masterful character. Not only did he study the vinification of beer, but also optimised the maturation process in oak casks, or “foeders” (maturation casks). The world-renowned cask halls with their 294 oak casks, some of which are 150 years old, are protected as part of the industrial heritage of the Flemish Community.
The 19th and early 20th century is filled with accounts of quacks and patent medicines sold by snake oil salesman. All sorts of wild claims were made and almost without exception they were complete bunkum. I just came upon one I hadn’t seen before, something called Coza Powder, from the Coza Institute in London, England. Here’s the ad, from “The Strand Magazine,” published in 1907. I also found examples of the same ad as late as 1909, and even a couple in Spanish, so it appears to have been sold worldwide.
There’s a lot not to like about Coza Powder, but it’s an amazing ad. First, there’s that horrific image of the bottle man being squeezed, then there’s the idea that someone could put it in your drinks without you even being aware of it. That sure sounds like a great idea to promote. They try to sell it by explaining it has “the marvelous effect of producing a repugnance to alcohol in any shape or form.”
And it’s guaranteed to be safe? Of course it is. Thank goodness for that, it hadn’t even occurred to me to wonder until they brought it up. And let’s all beware of imitations, only get genuine Coza powder from the Institute itself, the “only genuine powder for Drunkenness.”
Sounds reasonable, right? Not everybody thought so, even at the time. No less than The British Medical Journal took a look at what was in Coza powder, among other such remedies of the day and in 1909 published their findings in an article entitled “The Composition Of Certain Secret Remedies.” On the page concerning the cure for drunkenness, the first one they examined was Coza powder:
Not surprisingly, the BMJ found that Coza powder was nothing more than bicarbonate of soda, cumin, and cinnamon. And essentially it’s 90% sodium bicarbonate and the remaining 10% is equal parts cumin and cinnamon. They put the cost — in 1909 — at 1/30th of a penny for 30 packages of the powder.
I don’t know if this is relevant, but in Portuguese, “coza” means “bake.”
Today is the 47th birthday of Van Havig, co-founder and master brewer at Gigantic Brewing in Portland, Oregon. Van used to be the brewer at Rock Bottom in Portland, but left shortly after the merger between Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch, when some offhand remarks got him the boot. That’s when I first became aware of met Van, when he brewed a beer called Ned Flanders for OBF, a Flanders red that was aged in five different kinds of barrels and then was blended back together. And this was back in 2006, long before sour beers became trendy. I remember enjoying the beer near the line for it and overhearing someone complaining about the beer, saying to a friend that it didn’t taste right and that something was wrong with it. Laughing to myself, that persuaded me it was a very bold choice of a beer to make for the festival, as there was clearly nothing else like it at OBF that year. I spent a morning with Van, Ben Love and John Harris, from Ecleptic Brewing, during OBF a few years ago as they brewed a collaboration together, which afforded me an opportunity to discover what a thoughtful, philosophical brewer Van is, and what a pleasure he is share a beer with. Join me in wishing Van a very happy birthday.
During a collaboration brew at Gigantic a few years ago during OBF, with John Harris (from Ecliptic Brewing) and Gigantic’s Van and Ben Love.