Patent No. EP0091322A2: A Brewing Unit

Today in 1983, US Patent EP 0091322 A2 was issued, an invention of Noel Roy Wilkinson, for “A Brewing Unit.” Here’s the Abstract:

An improved brewing unit in which energy is saved by providing a mash tun (14), hot water tank (10) and kettle (8) in a single unit (1), by partially enclosing the mash tun with the tank and if necessary pre-heating the water supply to the tank by using the heat from wort coolers provided between the unit (1) and fermentation tank (83, 85); further improvements are provided by constructing the kettle as a combined kettle and whirlpool in a single chamber having a circular wall (2) and a tangential inlet (92) to the wall, a pump (53) and wort boiler (6) being in circuit with the kettle so that wort is continuously circulated through the boiler and tangential inlet to the kettle whilst the worts are boiled. The combined kettle and whirlpool saves space and enables the process of brewing to be shortened with resultant savings in both energy and brewing time.



GABF Awards With Photographs 2016

On Saturday, October 8, the winners of the 34th Great American Beer Festival were announced. A record 7,227 beers were judged in 96 categories by 264 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. I was on hand at the awards ceremony and thought I’d share the results again, this time along with some of the photographs I took during the awards.


The theater quickly filled up for the awards ceremony.

And competition director Chris Swersey read each of the medal winners’ names.

This was the 35th GABF, and former Wynkoop Brewing co-owner, and current Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, stopped by in the middle of the awards ceremony to present Charlie Papazian his own award.

Two, actually. One for the 35th anniversary and Charlie’s own gold medal.

[Read more…]

Patent No. 4409246A: Yeast Strain For Fermenting High Plato Value Worts

Today in 1983, US Patent 4409246 A was issued, an invention of Graham G. Stewart, Thomas E. Goring, and Ingeborg Russell, assigned to the Labatt Brewing Company, for their “Yeast Strain For Fermenting High Plato Value Worts.” Here’s the Abstract:

The specification discloses a novel brewers’ yeast strain and a method of manufacturing the same. The yeast is a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and has been deposited at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures, Norwich, England under the number 962. Morphologically the giant colony of the novel strain can be described as a circular colony having a slightly serrated periphery, a convex surface topography with a central, globular dome and exhibiting primary concentric convolutions and secondary radial convolutions which, in combination, impart a rough appearance to the surface. The novel ale strain has the advantages that it is effective in worts having high plato values and is a bottom-cropping strain.


GABF Awards 2016

On Saturday, October 8, the winners of the 34th Great American Beer Festival were announced. A record 7,227 beers were judged in 96 categories by 264 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. First, here’s some statistics about the festival:

  • 35th anniversary of the festival; 30th edition of the GABF competition
  • 780 breweries in the festival hall
  • 3,800+ beers served at the festival
  • 60,000 attendees
  • 3,600 volunteers (festival and competition combined)
  • 1,752 breweries in the competition from 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
  • 254 medal-winning breweries
  • 286 total medals awarded
  • 7,227 beers judged (not including 88 Pro-Am competition entries), a nearly 9 percent increase over 2015
  • 96 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 264 judges from 12 different countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 75 (excludes Pro-Am beers)
  • Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale: 312

This year’s GABF competition saw seven new style categories:

  • Pumpkin/Squash Beer (category 6)
  • Four new historical beer categories were added: Finnish Sahti, Swedish Gotlandsricke, and Pale and Dark Breslau Schoeps (categories 21e, 21f, 21g, 21h)
  • German Leichtbier (category 36c)
  • Specialty Saison (category 79)

Since 2002, the most-entered category has been American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 312 entries in 2016 compared to 336 entries in 2015.The top five entered categories were:

  1. American-Style India Pale Ale (312 entries)
  2. Imperial India Pale Ale (211 entries)
  3. American-Style Strong Pale Ale (169 entries)
  4. Coffee Beer (168 entries)
  5. Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (159 entries)


Only one brewery won 4 medals (Überbrew), but three won 3 (Brown Truck, Fat Head’s, Karl Strauss). By ratio, Wyoming did best (45 entries and 5 medals) for .111. In second was Hawaii (28 entries and 3 medals) with .107 and third was Virginia (200 entries and 14 medals) with .07. 464 breweries entered the competition for the first time, and of those, 41 won a medal.

Medals Won by State:

  1. California = 68
  2. Colorado = 38
  3. Oregon = 21
  4. North Carolina = 17
  5. Washington = 14
  6. TIE: Illinois / Virginia = 13
  7. TIE: Michigan / Texas = 10
  8. Ohio = 8
  9. Pennsylvania = 7
  10. TIE: Montana / New Mexico = 6

In addition two states won 6, two won 5 and three won 4. Two won 3 medals, 10 won 2, and 7 won a single medal. Thirteen states, plus DC, did not win a medal.


The 2016 Great American Beer Festival Winners

Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer – 37 Entries
Gold: Tumblewheat, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery, Laramie, WY
Silver: Shredder’s Wheat, Barley Brown’s Beer, Baker City, OR
Bronze: Flash Bang, Excel Brewing Co., Breese, IL

Category 2: American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast – 31 Entries
Gold: White Noise, Überbrew, Billings, MT
Silver: Medley of Moods, Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Co., Greensboro, NC
Bronze: Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen, Fish Brewing Co., Olympia, WA

Category 3: American-Style Fruit Beer – 106 Entries
Gold: Slingback, High Heel Brewing, St. Louis, MO
Silver: Miss IPPA, Peter B’s Brewpub, Monterey, CA
Bronze: Apricot Cream Ale, Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro, OR

Category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer – 84 Entries
Gold: Mexican Spring, 515 Brewing Co., Clive, IA
Silver: Mango Wheat, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: Apricot Hefeweizen, Wasatch Brewery, Salt Lake City, UT

Category 5: Belgian-Style Fruit Beer – 61 Entries
Gold: Apricot Wheat, Wiens Brewing Co./Wiens Family Cellars, Temecula, CA
Silver: Cherry Busey, Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Cerasus, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, OR

Category 6: Pumpkin/Squash Beer – 10 Entries
Gold: None awarded
Silver: None awarded
Bronze: Butt-Ah Nut, BTU Brasserie, Portland, OR

Category 7: Field Beer – 92 Entries
Gold: Imperial Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing Co. – Production, Kihei, HI
Silver: Slam Piece, Coppertail Brewing, Tampa, FL
Bronze: Redbud with Cucumber, Independence Brewing Co., Austin, TX

Category 8: Chili Beer – 112 Entries
Gold: Rocky Mtn Saison, 14er Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Silver: The Contender IPA with Fresh Chilis, Duck Foot Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Bronze: Vengeance! Jalapeno Cream Ale, Jack Pine Brewery, Baxter, MN

Category 9: Herb and Spice Beer – 114 Entries
Gold: NoDajito, NoDa Brewing Co. – Davidson, Charlotte, NC
Silver: Ginger American Ale, Broken Compass Brewing, Breckenridge, CO
Bronze: 1634 Ale, Brewer’s Alley Restaurant & Brewery, Frederick, MD

Category 10: Pumpkin Spice Beer – 39 Entries
Gold: Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale, 4 Noses Brewing Co., Broomfield, CO
Silver: Twisted Gourd, South Street Brewery, Charlottesville, VA
Bronze: 5 Phantoms Pumpkin Spice Barleywine, Philipsburg Brewing Co., Philipsburg, MT

Category 11: Chocolate Beer – 46 Entries
Gold: Chaos, RAM/Big Horn Brewery – Wheeling, Wheeling, IL
Silver: The Ticket Chocolate Beer, ZwanzigZ Brewing, Columbus, IN
Bronze: 4th Gear (4th Anniversary), Kinetic Brewing Co., Lancaster, CA

Category 12: Coffee Beer – 168 Entries
Gold: Gusto Crema, Georgetown Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Silver: Dusk ‘til Dawn – SC, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
Bronze: Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout, New English Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 13: Specialty Beer – 54 Entries
Gold: Campfire Stout, High Water Brewing, Stockton, CA
Silver: Good Conduct, Fieldwork Brewing Co., Berkeley, CA
Bronze: GAZPROM!, Lion Bridge Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids, IA

Category 14: Rye Beer – 81 Entries
Gold: Breakside Rye Curious?, Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR
Silver: Rock-Biter Roggenbier, Hop Dogma Brewing Co., El Granada, CA
Bronze: Runaround Rye Ale, Roundhouse Brewery, Brainerd, MN

Category 15: Honey Beer – 64 Entries
Gold: Jetty Cream Ale, Great South Bay Brewery, Bay Shore, NY
Silver: Spring Fever, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA
Bronze: Belgian Honey Blonde Ale, No Clue Craft Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Category 16: Session Beer – 52 Entries
Gold: PSB Session IPL, Perry Street Brewing Co., Spokane, WA
Silver: Oatmeal Stout, Benchmark Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Bronze: Slippery When Wit, South Street Brewery, Charlottesville, VA

Category 17: Session India Pale Ale – 118 Entries
Gold: Trump Hands, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Pace Car Racer, Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Production Facility, Cloverdale, CA
Bronze: Mosaic Session IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – San Diego, San Diego, CA

Category 18: Other Strong Beer – 46 Entries
Gold: Anodyne Wheat Wine, Revolver Brewing, Granbury, TX
Silver: Black Muddy River, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, OH
Bronze: Muir Woods Coastal Red, Barebottle Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA

Category 19: Experimental Beer – 87 Entries
Gold: Dry Hopped Systema Naturae – Scuppernong & Lily, D9 Brewing Co., Cornelius, NC
Silver: Wineification II, The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Bronze: Oyster Weiss, Scratch Brewing Co., Ava, IL

Category 20: Fresh or Wet Hop Ale – 45 Entries
Gold: Melvin IPA, Melvin Brewing – Jackson, Jackson, WY
Silver: Acequia IPA, Bosque Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Bronze: IBUsive, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, OH

Category 21: Historical Beer – 43 Entries
Gold: Valhalla, El Rancho Brewing, Evergreen, CO
Silver: Grosse Teufel, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA
Bronze: Wild & Crazy Rye, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Boulder, Boulder, CO

Category 22: Gluten-Free Beer – 37 Entries
Gold: Dark Ale, Ground Breaker Brewing, Portland, OR
Silver: Copperhead, Greenview Brewing, Madison, WI
Bronze: Grapefruit IPA, Ghostfish Brewing Company, Seattle, WA

Category 23: American-Belgo-Style Ale – 70 Entries
Gold: Mischief, The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Silver: #4.5 Hops with Saison Added, Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC
Bronze: White Wall Wit, Crank Arm Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC

Category 24: American-Style Sour Ale – 142 Entries
Gold: Queen of Tarts, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – San Diego, San Diego, CA
Silver: Heart of Gold, Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR
Bronze: Excommunication, Forte Cerise, Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, Atlanta, GA

Category 25: Brett Beer – 53 Entries
Gold: Touch of Brett, Alesong Brewing & Blending, Eugene, OR
Silver: Dreamy Thing, Cerebral Brewing, Denver, CO
Bronze: Brett Saison, Ardent Craft Ales, Richmond, VA

Category 26: Mixed-Culture Brett Beer – 65 Entries
Gold: Fünke Hop Farm, Sudwerk Brewing Co., Davis, CA
Silver: White Label, Almanac Beer Co., San Francisco, CA
Bronze: DAM Wild Marionberry Pink Peppercorn, Flat Tail Brewing Co., Corvallis, OR

Category 27: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer – 66 Entries
Gold: Drama Queen, Denver Beer Co. – Canworks, Denver, CO
Silver: Brett Saison, Blackberry Farm Brewery, Walland, TN
Bronze: Rye Robustito, Drake’s Brewing Co., San Leandro, CA

Category 28: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer – 159 Entries
Gold: Silent Warrior, TAPS Fish House & Brewery – Corona, Corona, CA
Silver: Mélange À Trois, Nebraska Brewing Co. – Papillion, Papillion, NE
Bronze: 15th Anniversary Ale, Island Brewing Co., Carpinteria, CA

Category 29: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout – 131 Entries
Gold: Barrel-Aged Darkness, Surly Brewing Co., Brooklyn Center, MN
Silver: The Event Horizon, Olde Hickory Brewery, Hickory, NC
Bronze: Little Nonsense, Verboten Brewing, Loveland, CO

Category 30: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer – 64 Entries
Gold: Sour Project Ale, Adirondack Pub and Brewery, Lake George, NY
Silver: Avant-Chard, Historic Brewing Co., Flagstaff, AZ
Bronze: Angelina, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids, MI

Category 31: Fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer – 82 Entries
Gold: Razz-Jerry Tart, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Brea, Brea, CA
Silver: Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Framboise, DESTIHL, Normal, IL
Bronze: Pi, Propolis Brewing, Port Townsend, WA

Category 32: Aged Beer – 40 Entries
Gold: Doc’s Scotch Ale, Millersburg Brewing, Millersburg, OH
Silver: Expedition Stout, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, MI
Bronze: Winter Wheatwine 2007, Rubicon Brewing Company Pub, Sacramento, CA

Category 33: Kellerbier or Zwickelbier – 69 Entries

Gold: Sunnyside Dweller, Ocelot Brewing, Sterling, VA
Silver: Kelly Alt, Snake River Brewing Co., Jackson, WY
Bronze: Pilsner, Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM

Category 34: Smoke Beer – 65 Entries
Gold: Raucher, Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor, MI
Silver: Cowboy Curtis, Arts District Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Bronze: Croydon Is Burning, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co., Croydon, PA

Category 35: American-Style or International-Style Pilsener – 66 Entries
Gold: Robot Crush, Aeronaut Brewing Co., Somerville, MA
Silver: Pelicano Extra!, Pelican Brewing Co., Tillamook, OR
Bronze: Mexican Logger, SKA Brewing, Durango, CO

Category 36: American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager – 21 Entries
Gold: #10 American Lager, Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC
Silver: Lightner Creek Lager, Carver Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: Coors Light, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO

Category 37: American-Style Lager or Ice Lager or Malt Liquor – 34 Entries
Gold: Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Silver: Coors Banquet, Coors Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Bronze: Lager, Craft Brew Alliance – Omission, Portland, OR

Category 38: American-Style Cream Ale – 65 Entries
Gold: El Sully, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro, CA
Silver: Old Style Lager, Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Bronze: Broadway Light, Detroit Beer Co., Detroit, MI

Category 39: American-Style Amber Lager or Dark Lager – 108 Entries

Gold: Casa Azul, El Segundo Brewing Co., El Segundo, CA
Silver: Tragedy of the Commons, Iowa Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids, IA
Bronze: Lighter Than I Look, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Buellton, Buellton, CA

Category 40: German-Style Pilsener – 115 Entries
Gold: Industry, The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX
Silver: Bosque Lager, Bosque Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Bronze: Lokahi Pilsner, Kohola Brewery, Lahaina, HI

Category 41: Bohemian-Style Pilsener – 62 Entries
Gold: Sweet Ride, Bagby Beer Co., Oceanside, CA
Silver: Polaris Pilsner, Chainline Brewing Co., Kirkland, WA
Bronze: Torch Pilsner, Foothills Brewing Co., Winston-Salem, NC

Category 42: Munich-Style Helles – 84 Entries
Gold: Chuckanut Helles, Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Silver: Helles, Dry Dock Brewing Co. – South Dock, Aurora, CO
Bronze: Hell Yes, The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX

Category 43: Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest – 46 Entries
Gold: Dortmunder Mifflin, Emmett’s Tavern & Brewing Co. – Palatine, Palatine, IL
Silver: Longboard Island Lager, Craft Brew Alliance – Kona Brewery, Kailua-Kona, HI
Bronze: Figtoberfest, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Westlake Village, Westlake Village, CA

Category 44: Vienna-Style Lager – 67 Entries
Gold: Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost Production Facility, Lexington, VA
Silver: 13.FIVE Ofest, Blue Mountain Barrel House and Organic Brewery, Arrington, VA
Bronze: Churchville Lager, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co., Croydon, PA

Category 45: German-Style Maerzen – 79 Entries
Gold: Zirkusfest Oktoberfest Lager, Hi-Wire Brewing – Big Top Production Facility, Asheville, NC
Silver: Seven Bridges, Jekyll Brewing, Alpharetta, GA
Bronze: Fruhauf Oktoberfest, Pollyanna Brewing Co., Lemont, IL

Category 46: European-Style Dark Lager/Munich-Style Dunkel – 38 Entries
Gold: I Dunkled in My Pants, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Buellton, Buellton, CA
Silver: Piney Ridge Dunkel, Front Range Brewing Co., Lafayette, CO
Bronze: Prunkle’s Dunkle, Horse Thief Hollow Brewery, Chicago, IL

Category 47: German-Style Schwarzbier – 47 Entries
Gold: General Schwarz, Central Coast Brewing Co., San Luis Obispo, CA
Silver: Alternate Present, Fiction Beer Co., Denver, CO
Bronze: Once You Go Schwarz…, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande, CA

Category 48: Bock – 36 Entries
Gold: Breakline Bock, Rip Current Brewery, San Marcos, CA
Silver: Numbskull, Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom, Travelers Rest, SC
Bronze: Bridge Street Bock, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Phoenixville, Phoenixville, PA

Category 49: German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock – 29 Entries
Gold: Warning Sign, Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co., Castle Rock, CO
Silver: Frankenwald Eisbock, ZwanzigZ Brewing, Columbus, IN
Bronze: Apocalyptinator, Nevin’s Brewing Co., Plainfield, IL

Category 50: Baltic-Style Porter – 41 Entries
Gold: Danzig, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp, Roseland, VA
Silver: Apogee Baltic Porter, Morgan Territory Brewing, Tracy, CA
Bronze: Siberian Silk, La Cumbre Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM

Category 51: Golden or Blonde Ale – 115 Entries
Gold: Kirby, Echo Brewing Co., Frederick, CO
Silver: Miss Conduct, Moonraker Brewing Co., Auburn, CA
Bronze: German Blonde Ale, Bemidji Brewing Co., Bemidji, MN

Category 52: German-Style Koelsch – 111 Entries

Gold: Light of Cologne, Ornery Beer Co., Woodbridge, VA
Silver: Vacation, Daredevil Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Lü, Solemn Oath Brewery, Naperville, IL

Category 53: English-Style Summer Ale – 68 Entries
Gold: Hometown Blonde, RAM/Big Horn Brewery – Lakewood, Lakewood, WA
Silver: Ridgway Blonde, Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, Ridgway, CO
Bronze: Liquid AC, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – La Jolla, La Jolla, CA

Category 54: Classic English-Style Pale Ale – 38 Entries
Gold: Extra Pale Ale, Summit Brewing Co., Saint Paul, MN
Silver: Breakside ESB, Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR
Bronze: HopFish IPA, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Somerdale, NJ

Category 55: English-Style India Pale Ale – 43 Entries
Gold: Gatecrasher, Temperance Beer Co., Evanston, IL
Silver: Face Plant, Lost Rhino Brewing Co., Ashburn, VA
Bronze: Live Wire, Roak Brewing Co., Royal Oak, MI

Category 56: Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale – 90 Entries
Gold: Drop Bear Australian Pale Ale, Lynnwood Brewing Concern, Raleigh, NC
Silver: Mai Tai P.A., Alvarado Street Brewery, Salinas, CA
Bronze: Breakside Lunch Break ISA, Breakside Brewery & Taproom, Milwaukie, OR

Category 57: American-Style Pale Ale – 157 Entries
Gold: Stick’s Pale Ale, Bootstrap Brewing Co., Niwot, CO
Silver: Monterey Street, Central Coast Brewing Co., San Luis Obispo, CA
Bronze: The Charlatan, Maplewood Brewery, Chicago, IL

Category 58: American-Style Strong Pale Ale – 169 Entries
Gold: Good Green, Highland Park Brewery, Los Angeles, CA
Silver: Rippin, Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR
Bronze: HFS, Alpine Beer Co., San Diego, CA

Category 59: American-Style India Pale Ale – 312 Entries
Gold: Bodhizafa IPA, Georgetown Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Silver: Super Cali IPA, Riip Beer Co., Huntington Beach, CA
Bronze: Breaking Bud, Knee Deep Brewing Co., Auburn, CA

Category 60: Imperial India Pale Ale – 211 Entries
Gold: Humulus Insani, Überbrew, Billings, MT
Silver: Nobility, Noble Ale Works, Anaheim, CA
Bronze: Hop JuJu Imperial IPA, Fat Head’s Brewery, Middleburg Heights, OH

Category 61: American-Style Amber/Red Ale – 114 Entries
Gold: Ole Prospector Red Ale, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Santee, CA
Silver: Better Off Red, Vintage Brewing Co., Madison, WI
Bronze: Sabre-Toothed Squirrel, Smog City Brewing Co., Torrance, CA

Category 62: Double Red Ale – 78 Entries
Gold: The Red Glove, Boxing Bear Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Average at Best, Überbrew, Billings, MT
Bronze: RIPA, Carson’s Brewery, Evansville, IN

Category 63: Imperial Red Ale – 62 Entries
Gold: Paradocs Red Imperial IPA, Raised Grain Brewing Co., Waukesha, WI
Silver: reDANKulous – Backstage Series, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Bronze: Wreak Havoc, Bootstrap Brewing Co., Niwot, CO

Category 64: English-Style Mild Ale – 44 Entries
Gold: Workman’s Compensation, Lion Bridge Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids, IA
Silver: Saddle Bronc Brown, Black Tooth Brewing Co., Sheridan, WY
Bronze: Old Town Brown, Auburn Alehouse, Auburn, CA

Category 65: Ordinary or Special Bitter – 39 Entries
Gold: DBA (Double Barrel Ale), Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
Silver: Drop Top Amber Ale, Craft Brew Alliance – Widmer, Portland, OR
Bronze: Special Bitter, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Arcata, CA

Category 66: Extra Special Bitter – 71 Entries
Gold: Redfeather, Black Raven Brewing Co., Redmond, WA
Silver: Red Fish, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Somerdale, NJ
Bronze: Mother Earth ESB, Mother Earth Brew Co., Vista, CA

Category 67: Scottish-Style Ale – 46 Entries
Gold: White Street Scottish Ale, White Street Brewing Co., Wake Forest, NC
Silver: Scottish Ale, Two Kilts Brewing, Sherwood, OR
Bronze: McGreagor Scottish Ale, Kootenai River Brewing Co., Bonners Ferry, ID

Category 68: Irish-Style Red Ale – 80 Entries
Gold: Highlander Devil’s Hump Red Ale, Missoula Brewing Co., Missoula, MT
Silver: St. James Irish Red Ale, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Glenwood Springs, CO
Bronze: Riley’s Irish Red, The Packinghouse Brewing Co., Riverside, CA

Category 69: English-Style Brown Ale – 47 Entries
Gold: Tri-Town Brown, Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel, Erie, CO
Silver: Sir Williams, Grapevine Craft Brewery, Grapevine, TX
Bronze: Not Brown, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, Fort Collins, CO

Category 70: American-Style Brown Ale – 84 Entries
Gold: Brown, Culture Brewing Co., Solana Beach, CA
Silver: Upslope Brown Ale, Upslope Brewing Co. – Flatiron Park, Boulder, CO
Bronze: Face Down Brown, Telluride Brewing Co., Telluride, CO

Category 71: American-Style Black Ale – 61 Entries
Gold: Once You Go, Lynnwood Brewing Concern – Production Facility, Raleigh, NC
Silver: Midnight Moonlight, Fat Head’s Brewery, Middleburg Heights, OH
Bronze: Alpha Force Double Tap, Überbrew, Billings, MT

Category 72: German-Style Sour Ale – 141 Entries
Gold: Gose, Reuben’s Brews, Seattle, WA
Silver: Gose, Kulshan Brewing Co., Bellingham, WA
Bronze: Farmers Market Citrus Gose, Sudwerk Brewing Co., Davis, CA

Category 73: German-Style Altbier – 57 Entries
Gold: Little Red Cap, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Loveland, CO
Silver: Deep Roots, Red Cypress Brewery, Winter Springs, FL
Bronze: On-Sight Alt, Hutton & Smith Brewing Co., Chattanooga, TN

Category 74: South German-Style Hefeweizen – 111 Entries
Gold: Windansea Wheat, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – San Diego, San Diego, CA
Silver: Weißbier, Prost Brewing, Denver, CO
Bronze: Shotgun Betty, Lonerider Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC

Category 75: German-Style Wheat Ale – 33 Entries
Gold: AlpenGlow, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, OH
Silver: Slam Dunkel, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: Küsterer Original Weissbier, Cedar Springs Brewing Co., Cedar Springs, MI

Category 76: Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale – 61 Entries

Gold: Solid Gold, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, CO
Silver: Lunatic, Wicked Weed Brewing – Asheville, Asheville, NC
Bronze: Sunken Road, Spencer Devon Brewing, Fredericksburg, VA

Category 77: Belgian-Style Witbier – 85 Entries
Gold: Ommegang Witte Ale, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
Silver: Wit’s End Ale, Great American Restaurants – Sweetwater Tavern, Centreville, VA
Bronze: Witbier, Community Beer Co., Dallas, TX

Category 78: Classic Saison – 88 Entries
Gold: Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale, The Post Brewing Co., Lafayette, CO
Silver: Meriwether, Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, MO
Bronze: Saison, Baere Brewing Co., Denver, CO

Category 79: Specialty Saison – 92 Entries
Gold: Six Finger Sam Saison, Two Rivers Brewing Co., Easton, PA
Silver: #4 Saison, Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC
Bronze: Creme de Peche, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 80: Belgian- and French-Style Ale – 27 Entries
Gold: Domaine DuPage, Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, IL
Silver: Swingin’ Single, Piece Brewery, Chicago, IL
Bronze: Antonym, 2SP Brewing Co., Aston, PA

Category 81: Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale – 74 Entries
Gold: Hexotic, Two Roads Brewing Co., Stratford, CT
Silver: Chaos is a Friend of Mine, Beachwood Blendery, Long Beach, CA
Bronze: Roes Red, Pure Project, San Diego, CA

Category 82: Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadrupel – 63 Entries
Gold: Abbey Dubbel, Elm City Brewing Co., Keene, NH
Silver: Responsibly, Nebraska Brewing Co. – Papillion, Papillion, NE
Bronze: Flyin’ Monks, Adelbert’s Brewery, Austin, TX

Category 83: Belgian-Style Tripel – 92 Entries
Gold: Allagash Tripel, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Silver: PDA, Black Bottle Brewery, Fort Collins, CO
Bronze: Tripel Dog Dare, Big Dog’s Brewing Co., Las Vegas, NV

Category 84: Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale – 70 Entries
Gold: Old Split-Foot, Broken Bow Brewery, Tuckahoe, NY
Silver: Monk in Public, Maize Valley Craft Brewery, Hartville, OH
Bronze: Treachery, 12Degree Brewing, Louisville, CO

Category 85: Other Belgian-Style Ale – 31 Entries
Gold: Blond, Copper Kettle Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Silver: Standard Issue, Central Standard Brewing, Wichita, KS
Bronze: Petite Classique, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 86: Brown Porter – 61 Entries
Gold: FivePine Chocolate Porter, Three Creeks Production, Sisters, OR
Silver: Black Shack Porter, Wachusett Brewing Co., Westminster, MA
Bronze: Porter, Back East Brewing, Bloomfield, CT

Category 87: Robust Porter – 94 Entries
Gold: Tabula Rasa Toasted Porter, Second Chance Beer Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Shallow Grave, Heretic Brewing Co., Fairfield, CA
Bronze: Point Reyes Porter, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA

Category 88: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 41 Entries

Gold: Big Drought Stout, Solid Rock Brewing, Spicewood, TX
Silver: Love Stout, Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA
Bronze: Bangin The Mash, Latitude 42° Brewing Co., Portage, MI

Category 89: Export Stout – 43 Entries
Gold: Dirty Frank Stout, River’s Edge Brewing Co., Milford, MI
Silver: Fade to Black, Volume 1, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
Bronze: Starway Stout, Barrel Mountain Brewing, Battle Ground, WA

Category 90: American-Style Stout – 55 Entries
Gold: P2P, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Silver: Black Cliffs, Boise Brewing, Boise, ID
Bronze: The Volcanist, Societe Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category 91: Sweet Stout or Cream Stout – 71 Entries
Gold: Chocolate Milk Stout, Boxing Bear Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC
Bronze: Good Mooed Milk Stout, Railtown Brewing Co., Dutton, MI

Category 92: Oatmeal Stout – 61 Entries
Gold: Sless’ Oatmeal Stout, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, Fairfax, CA
Silver: Backside Stout, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango, CO
Bronze: Feelin’ Your Oats, SLO Brew, San Luis Obispo, CA

Category 93: Imperial Stout – 91 Entries
Gold: The Russian, 2SP Brewing Co., Aston, PA
Silver: Gatling Gun Imperial Stout, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Santee, CA
Bronze: Iron Triangle Jawbone, Iron Triangle Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA

Category 94: Scotch Ale – 76 Entries
Gold: Real Heavy, Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, TX
Silver: Oh My Darlyn!, Revelry Brewing Co., Charleston, SC
Bronze: Going Plaid, Fifty West Brewing Co., Cincinnati, OH

Category 95: Old Ale or Strong Ale – 38 Entries
Gold: Irish Walker, Olde Hickory Brewery, Hickory, NC
Silver: COLOSSAL FIVE, Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, VA
Bronze: Old Silenus Ale, Migration Brewing Co., Portland, OR

Category 96: Barley Wine-Style Ale – 60 Entries
Gold: AleSmith Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Silver: Barley Wine Ale, Dick’s Brewing Co., Centralia, WA
Bronze: Toad Choker Barley Wine, Nine-Band Brewing Co., Allen, TX

Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition – 88 Entries
Gold: Just Rye’te, Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth, TX
     Brewmaster Panther Island Brewing, AHA Member Clifton Ellis
Silver: Vernal Equinox, Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet, VA
     Brewmaster Starr Hill Brewing Team, AHA Member Gary Layton
Bronze: The Kolsch Experiment, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery, Laramie, WY
     Brewmaster Jesse Brown, AHA Member Shawn Miller

2016 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
ZwanzigZ Brewing, Columbus, IN
Mike Rybinski & Trent Fleener

Mid-Size Brewpub and Mid-Size Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Boxing Bear Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Justin Hamilton and Dylan Davis

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX
Amos Swifty Kim

Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC
Team Brown Truck

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Überbrew, Billings, MT
Über Cru

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – San Diego, San Diego, CA
Team Karl

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year *
Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmsted, Ohio
Matt Cole and Mike Zoscak

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Gregory Deuhs

* – Note: During the awards ceremony, for the brewery and brewmaster of the year awards, Karl Strauss was awarded Mid-Size Brewpub and Mid-Size Brewpub Brewer of the Year, while Fat Head’s Brewery received the award for Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. Afterwards, a correction was sent out indicating that Karl Strauss was considered a brewing company rather than a brewpub, and the points were re-calculated. As a result, Karl Strauss’ award moved from brewpub to brewing company, Boxing Bear Brewing was awarded the mid-size brewpub award vacated by Karl Strauss, and Fat Head’s was stripped of their award. What I heard (but haven’t confirmed) is that it may have been a paperwork error on Karl Strauss’ part in filling out their GABF entry form (which is understandable since they operate both a production brewery and brewpubs). As I understand it, brewpubs are considered brewing companies if they sell 25% or more beer on-site, so therefore Karl Strauss is a brewing company, and apparently that’s reflected in their membership. One could argue that Karl Strauss should have filled out the entry form correctly (assuming what I heard is correct) and if they didn’t … well, then it’s on them. I know that in some sports or contests, that’s cause for being disqualified. But the BA maybe could have caught it earlier since the form didn’t match their membership. To be fair, I doubt there was a procedure to check for that since you wouldn’t expect anyone to get that wrong. There are only a few companies like Karl Strauss where there might be any confusion. In the end, I think the BA was right to correct the error as soon as someone caught it. Even though I can’t really quibble with that, the one thing I wish they might have considered was not taking the award away from Fat Head’s and letting them share it this year with Karl Strauss. I feel confident that Karl Strauss would have been alright with that, especially if it was indeed their clerical error. That just seems like the kinder, fairer result.

Patent No. 527123A: Means For Transporting Beer

Today in 1894, US Patent 527123 A was issued, an invention of Valentin Oppl, for his “Means For Transporting Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to means for transporting beer, and the invention consists in a four-wheeled vehicle having a tank permanently thereon, pumps connected with the tank and power mechanism to operate the pumps.


Patent No. 40200A: Improved Apparatus For Cooling Beer

Today in 1863, US Patent 40200 A was issued, an invention of Henry Steubing, for his “Improved Apparatus For Cooling Beer or Other Liquids.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

The said apparatus is used in the following manner: Cold water or iced water is introduced into the space d from a reservoir, until the space d is filled with it and during the whole time of cooling. Then the ale, beer, or other liquid to be cooled is admitted into the hollow cylinder c steadily and continuously, when the same Will overflow into the space formed by the flange e, and will 110W down through the holes n n’ n on the outer mantel, a, into the space formed by the lower flange, j’, after which it flows out of the apparatus through the pipe i. Thus it will be seen that a certain quantity of iced water or cold water cools the ale, beer, or other liquid, rst by its contact on the inside b of the cooler, and then by its contact on the outside c of said cooler, thereby effecting `a great saving of the cooling material.


Historic Beer Birthday: Fred Horix

Today is the birthday of Fred Horix (October 3, 1843-1929+?). Horix was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, but came to America in 1868, eventually settling in Akron, Ohio. In 870, he and John Kirn formed the Fred Horix & John Kirn Brewery, and three years later he bought out Kirn, renaming it the Fred Horix Brewery. Unfortunately, the brewery closed in 1879. Horix then bought another brewery which he named the Frederick Horix Brewery, but a decade later he sold it to George J. Renner. He later became part-owner of the Akron Brewing Co., along with over 50 local saloonkeepers, and spent the remainder of his career as its Vice-President. Unfortunately, there’s not much biographical information I could find on Horix, not even his date of death or a photo.


After his first brewery closed, he bought another, as detailed in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:

At this point, [brewery owner Frederick] Oberholtz found himself $30,000 in debt to several parties, and he subsequently lost ownership of the plant. The brewery changed hands twice more while sitting idle, until September 1876, when it was purchased by John A. Kolp. He operated it briefly before defaulting on several loans himself. It was then sold at a sheriff’s auction in January 1879 to Fred Horix, for $8,334, or two-thirds of its appraised value. Oberholtz later moved to Kansas City for a time before returning to Akron, where he died of consumption in 1888.

Horix had successfully operated a small brewery on East Exchange St. for several years. When he took ownership of this plant, it consisted only of an icehouse, a small storage building, and the main brewhouse with a potential annual capacity of 20,000 barrels. Horix was immediately able to invest a significant amount of money into the plant, and brewing operations began again by mid-1879.


Just one year later, in August 1880, a second fire struck the plant. Beginning late at night in the boiler room, it quickly spread through the plant. Horix, who lived in a house next door to the plant, saw the fire and ran up the Forge Street hill in his nightclothes to the nearest firebox a half mile away. Despite a rapid response by the fire department, the top two floors of the plant were gutted, with a loss of nearly $12,000. This time, however, the plant was fully insured, and was quickly rebuilt.

Within several years, the plant had increased in size to seven buildings, and annual production had increased to nearly 7,000 barrels; the brewery was finally operating at a profit. In 1888, however, Horix chose to sell the plant for $45,000 to George J. Renner. The deed of transfer mentioned that while Renner would take ownership of the entire plant and house, Horix would retain his personal records, family furniture, and “a spotted horse called Dick”. Horix then spent a year in Germany before returning to Akron, where he was involved in several different business ventures before opening a delicatessen on South High St. After the turn of the century, he would return to the brewing business, becoming involved with the newly formed Akron Brewing Company.


And his final job was with the Akron Brewing Co., again told in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:

At the outset of the twentieth century, the predominant trend in the brewing industry was toward the formation of stock companies, many of which were operated by local saloon owners. The Akron Brewing Company began as one of these, when in October 1902, approximately fifty saloonkeepers from the Akron area banded together to create a new brewery in the city. Many of them had argued for years that the prices they had to pay for beer from the existing breweries were too high, which made it more difficult to realize a profit. Therefore, with the creation of their own company, they would have a guaranteed supply of beer at a reasonable cost. It was also assumed that many of the 250 saloons in Summit County would also patronize this new establishment.

The new company was incorporated in April 1903, with a capital stock of $200,000. The initial president was John Koerber, the owner of the Bank CafÈ in downtown Akron, and who had previously been involved with the formation of other brewery stock companies elsewhere before coming to Akron. Vice-president was Fred Horix, who had previously operated a small brewery on East Exchange Street, as well as what was now known as the Renner brewery on North Forge Street. A native Prussian, he had more experience with the brewing of beer than anyone else in the group, and was currently the operator of a small delicatessen and saloon on South High Street.

The company’s treasurer was John Lamparter, a local real estate dealer and owner of the Palace Drug Store. Secretary and general manager was F. Wm. Fuchs, the proprietor of the Buckeye Supply House, who had previously been an Akron agent for the L. Schlather Brewery of Cleveland. Other initial directors included John Backe, Ed Kearn, Christian Koch, Jacob Gayer, Adolph Kull, George Good, William Evans, Frank Selzer, William Carter, Sam Woodring, Ed Curran, and brothers Jacob, John, and Louis Dettling, all of whom were local businessmen or saloon owners.

Construction of a new modern brewery building, costing $150,000, began in September. The site was at 841-869 South High St., at the corner of Voris St., although High St. was renamed South Broadway in later years. This new plant, made primarily of steel, was considered to be fireproof and it contained storage cellars that were made of enameled steel. Eliminating wood from the storage vats meant no need for frequent varnishing, and the beer would never taste like wood. The plant’s five-story brewhouse initially had an annual capacity of 30,000 barrels, but it could be enlarged to 100,000 barrels if necessary.

The plant’s brewmaster was John Hau, and his first brew took place on February 24, 1904. Three months later, White Rock Export Beer made its debut in the Akron market. In addition to sales in many local saloons, the beer was also bottled and marketed heavily for home consumption, the latter being an emerging trend in the industry at the time. A decade later, Wurzburger Beer would make its appearance as an alternative to White Rock.


In 1906, Koerber sold his share in the company and was subsequently replaced by John Backe, another saloon owner. Koerber then moved to Ionia, Michigan, where he purchased and rebuilt a small local brewery that had recently burned. The rebuilding was successful, but when the county voted itself “dry” by local option in 1909, the business collapsed, and Koerber was ruined. He died of kidney disease just two years later. His family remained in the business, however, later operating the Koerber Brewing Co. in Toledo and two breweries in Michigan after Prohibition ended.

By 1911, Louis Dettling had become president of the brewery. With his brothers Jacob and John, Dettling was the proprietor of The Rathskeller, a prominent restaurant and tavern in downtown Akron. When Louis died in 1917, he was replaced as president by his brother Jacob. Also joining the company during this period was new master brewer Ernst Hafenbrack. He was replaced shortly thereafter by Walter Gruner, who would eventually become the company’s president in 1921 upon the death of Jacob Dettling.

In 1913 came the appearance of the Diamond Land and Improvement Co., a real estate development company owned by the brewery’s stockholders. It began as a management office for the 82 saloons in Akron that were owned by the brewery, although other non-saloon properties were later acquired by the company.

Despite indications that Prohibition was inevitable, the company undertook a major ex-pansion in late 1916, building a large new four-story brewhouse and expanding the cellars into the original brewhouse. This radically changed the appearance of the plant, as it lost a great deal of the original ornate architecture. Soon after this, the company’s capital stock was increased to $400,000.

When statewide Prohibition took effect in May 1919, the company reincorporated as the Akron Beverage and Cold Storage Co., with capital stock of $500,000. This would continue to produce White Rock Cereal Beverage, with less than 0.5% alcohol, as well as a new cereal beverage known as Tiro, which apparently met with disappointing sales, as it did not last for long. In addition, the original bottling house was converted into the new White Rock Dairy, producing a wide range of dairy products. Walter Gruner remained president of the company until 1923, when he was replaced by Fred W. Fuchs, son of F. Wm. Fuchs, one of the company’s original officers. Fred had begun working for the brewery in 1914 upon graduating from nearby Buchtel College, later known as the University of Akron.


Historic Beer Birthday: Valentin Blatz

Today is the birthday of Valentin Blatz (October 1, 1826-May 26, 1894). Blatz was a German-American brewer and banker. He was born in Miltenberg, Bavaria and worked at his father’s brewery in his youth. In August 1848 Blatz immigrated to America and by 1849 had moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Blatz established a brewery next to Johann Braun’s City Brewery in 1850 and merged both breweries upon Braun’s death in 1852. He also married Braun’s widow. The brewery produced Milwaukee’s first individually bottled beer in 1874. It incorporated as the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company in 1889 and by the 1900s was the city’s third largest brewer.


Here’s a biography of Blatz from Find-a-Grave:

Businessman, Beer Magnate. Valentin Blatz, born to Casper Blatz, a brewer, in Miltenberg am Main, Bavaria, Germany, attended municipal schools until age 14 when he began an apprenticeship in his father’s brewery. He began in 1844, to acquire additional experience at breweries in Augusburg, Wurzburg and Munich until 1848 when he emigrated from Bavaria to Buffalo, New York, where he worked for a year at Philip Born’s brewery. Arriving in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1849, he became brewmaster at John Braun’s Cedar Brewery producing 150 barrels annually. He boarded at Braun’s home until 1851 when, after having saved $500, he established his own brewery. Shortly thereafter, Braun was fatally thrown from his horse-drawn beer wagon and Blatz eventually married Braun’s widow. Subsequently he combined Braun’s small brewery and his own into a new company, City Brewery; with output of 500 barrels annually it would eventually become one of the largest breweries in Milwaukee. Blatz was widely acknowledged to be the first of the great Milwaukee brewers to establish a reputation outside of Wisconsin, the first to begin developing a national distribution network, and the first to establish a bottling plant in connection with his brewery. During its early years of development, he operated the brewery as a sole proprietorship and reportedly out-paced both the Pabst and Schlitz operations. With production exceeding 200,000 barrels in 1889, he incorporated it as the Val. Blatz Brewing Company with capital stock of $2,000,000 and sold it in 1891 to a group of British and American investors, United States Brewing Company, reportedly netting himself (also a member of the syndicate) and his family $3,000,000 and full control of the Milwaukee operation. Blatz was the only beer available on tap in German restaurants at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.


A year later he died unexpectedly at the Hotel Ryan in St. Paul, Minnesota, returning from a trip to California, where he had vacationed and attended a midwinter exposition. Ironically, he had postponed the trip several times because of a premonition he would not return to Milwaukee alive, but made the trip because of his wife’s deteriorating health so they could spend part of the winter in California’s milder climate. At his death, he was one of Milwaukee’s wealthiest men, with an estate estimated at between $6,000,000 and $8,000,000. Throughout his life he had been active in community affairs and belonged to the Milwuakee Old Settlers Society and a host of other organizations. In 1866 he became the first president of the Merchants National Bank, and in 1868 he was elected President of the Second Ward Savings Bank, a position held until his death. A member of the Milwaukee Brewers Association and the Chamber of Commerce, he belonged to an influential group of local businessmen who organized the Milwaukee Industrial Exposition in 1879. Also served a single term as a Milwaukee city alderman in 1882. His company survived prohibition with “near beer” and other non-alcoholic products until 1933, when it resumed producing beer, until 1958 when it was purchased by Pabst. The Blatz label was sold to G. Heileman brewing in 1959, which was acquired by Stroh Brewery in 1996, which was sold to Pabst in 1999 who now owns it.


And here’s a biography of both Valentin and his Blatz Brewery, from the Blatz Brewing Company Records, 1862-1944, housed in the University of Wisconsin Library:

Valentin Blatz was born on October 1, 1826, in Miltenberg am Main, Bavaria. The son of a local brewer, Caspar Blatz and his wife Barbara, he attended school until age fourteen at which time he began an apprenticeship in his father’s business. In 1844 Blatz began an extended tour of some of Europe’s greatest breweries where he spent his time learning new techniques and the latest in brewing technology until, at age twenty-one, he was forced to return home in order to fulfill his military obligation in the army. However, his father, a prominent community leader, obtained a substitute to serve in his place and shortly thereafter, like thousands of his countrymen, Valentin Blatz left Bavaria for the United States. Landing in New York City in August 1848, Blatz found work almost immediately at the Born Brewery in Buffalo, New York.

Blatz remained in Buffalo for approximately one year after which time he journeyed west to Milwaukee. Arriving in 1849, he found work as the foreman (some sources say brewmaster) at John Braun’s Cedar Brewery that had been established in 1846. It was a small operation, employing only a few workmen and capable of producing approximately 150 barrels of beer annually. The brewery’s storage capacity was said to be only 80 barrels. Blatz worked for Braun and boarded at his home until 1851, when, after having saved $500, he purchased half of a city lot and began his own brewing business.

Around the time that Blatz was establishing his own brewery, John Braun was killed suddenly after being thrown from his horse-drawn wagon while on a trip selling beer. He left a son, John, and a wife, Louise, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child. In December of 1851 Blatz married Braun’s widow and adopted her infant child (also named Louise) who was born after Braun’s death. Blatz also raised his late employer’s son John as his own. Although he was never formally adopted, John Braun became known generally around Milwaukee as “John Blatz.” Valentin and Louise (Braun) Blatz also had five children of their own: four sons; Albert, Emil, Valentin Jr., and Louis (who died at a young age); and one daughter, Alma.


The marriage allowed Blatz to acquire Braun’s small brewery and combine it with his own operation, which he named City Brewery. This formed the basis of what would eventually become one of the largest and most prominent breweries in Milwaukee. Blatz was widely acknowledged to be the first of the great Milwaukee brewers to establish a reputation outside Wisconsin, the first to begin developing a national distribution network, and the first to establish a bottling plant in connection with his brewery. During its early years of development, the Blatz brewery reportedly out-paced both the Pabst and Schlitz operations.

Blatz operated his business as a single proprietorship until 1889 when it was incorporated as the Val. Blatz Brewing Company with a capital stock of 21 $2,000,000. Officers of the new corporation were Valentin Blatz, president; Albert C. Blatz, vice president; John Kremer (a son-in-law), secretary; and Val. Blatz, Jr., superintendent. The company was quietly sold in 1891 to a group of British and American investors incorporated as the United States Brewing Company and known variously as the “English Syndicate” or the “Chicago Syndicate.” The sale reportedly netted Blatz (who was himself a member of the syndicate) and his family $3,000,000 and left them in full control of the local operation.


Three years later, on May 26, 1894, Valentin Blatz died suddenly while staying at the Hotel Ryan in St. Paul, Minnesota, on his return from a trip to California, where he vacationed and attended a midwinter exposition. Ironically, it was a journey that he had reportedly postponed several times because of a premonition that he would not return to Milwaukee alive. A newspaper reported at the time that it was only because of his wife’s deteriorating health that he agreed to go to California where they could spend part of the winter in a milder climate. At the time of his death at age sixty-eight, Blatz was regarded as one of Milwaukee’s wealthiest men, with an estate estimated at between $6,000,000 and $8,000,000. Throughout his life Blatz was a generous man. In his will he not only left thousands of dollars to more than a dozen local charities, hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the aged, but also provided for the four children (Cora, Selma, Elsie, and John) of his late step-son “John Blatz.” He was survived by his wife, Louise, who was with him in St. Paul; three sons, Albert, Emil, and Valentin, Jr.; and two daughters, Louise (Mrs. John) Kremer and Alma (Mrs. Gustav) Kletzsch. He was interred in Milwaukee’s Forest Home Cemetery.

Throughout his life, Blatz had been active in community affairs. He was a lifelong member of the Milwaukee Musical Society and belonged to a host of other groups, including the Milwaukee Old Settlers Society, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), the Aurora Lodge of Freemasons, The Arion Club, the Frei Gemeinde, the Liederkranz Society, the Germania Maennerchor of Chicago, the Eichenkranz Maennerchor of New York, several local Turnverein Societies, and–reportedly one of his favorite haunts–the West Side Old Settlers Bowling Club. In 1866 he became the first president of the Merchants National Bank, and in 1868 he was elected President of the Second Ward Savings Bank, a position he held until his death. Blatz was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Association and the Chamber of Commerce, and also belonged to an influential committee of local businessmen who organized the Milwaukee Industrial Exposition in 1879. Blatz, who became an American citizen in 1855, was elected for a single term as a Milwaukee city alderman in 1882

After Blatz’s death, the brewery was operated by two of his sons, Albert C. and Val. Blatz, Jr., and John Kremer, a son-in-law. The United States Brewing Company, which purchased the brewery in 1891, owned and operated it until the onset of national prohibition in 1920.


This lengthy article is from the Industrial History of Milwaukee, published in 1886.

The Valetin Blatz home c. 1886.

This 1946 ad features a plate with founder Valentin Blatz.

Here’s a history of Blatz, from the current Blatz beer website, which is currently owned by Pabst Brewing.

Blatz was one of the premier Milwaukee breweries. It was founded by John Braun in 1846, shortly before Wisconsin achieved statehood, and was originally called the City Brewery. Braun’s fledgling business produced about 150 barrels of beer annually – until 1851 when Valentine Blatz, a former employee, established a brewery of his own next door to the City Brewery. Braun died later that year and Blatz soon married his widow, thereby uniting the City Brewery and his own operation.

At the time of the marriage, the combined breweries produced only 350 barrels per year. However, by 1880 total annual production reached 125,000 barrels. The brewery’s growth continued, and in 1884 Blatz ranked as the third-largest beer producer in Milwaukee.


Blatz was the first Milwaukee brewer to market beer nationally. He set up distribution centers in Chicago, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Memphis, Charleston, and Savannah. He was also the first of the Milwaukee brewers to include a bottling plant within his brewery. In addition, Blatz operated his own carpenter shop, railroad cars, cooper shop, machine shop and coal yard.

In 1890 Blatz sold his brewery to a group of London investors, who continued to operate the plant until Prohibition. Following the repeal of the eighteenth amendment, the Blatz brewery again flourished, producing over a million barrels annually during the 1940s and 1950s. Its labels included Blatz, Pilsener, Old Heidelberg, Private Stock, Milwaukee Dark, Culmbacher, Continental Special, Tempo, and English Style Ale.


By 1955 only six Milwaukee breweries remained open. Of these six, Miller, Pabst and Schlitz were the biggest and most successful. Blatz was big, too, but stiff competition and skyrocketing production costs prevented it from growing further. In 1958 the brewery was finally sold to Pabst; however a federal court order at the time prevented Pabst from Brewing at the Blatz facilities. In 1959 this giant, Blatz, ceased all operations. Shortly there after, Pabst purchased the Blatz brands, and relaunched the brand as a craft-style beer, true to the high-quality style that Valetine Blatz espoused.

Today, Blatz continues to be recognized for it’s quality and tradition. While the Blatz Brewery is now home to some of Milwaukee’s Finest Citizens, Blatz Beer will always be Milwaukee’s Finest Beer.


Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick Wacker

Today is the birthday of Frederick Wacker (September 30, 1830-July 8, 1884). Wacker was born in Württemberg Germany (though some sources claim he was from Switzerland) and founded the Chicago brewery Wacker & Birk in 1857 with business partner Jacob Birk. Shortly thereafter, Birk left to start a different brewery, and the name was changed to the Frederick Wacker Brewing Co. 1865. But Birk appears to have returned to the business, because the name became the Frederick Wacker & Jacob Birk Brewing & Malting Co., and it remained some form of the two men’s names until it was closed for good by prohibition. Frederick Wacker is also remembered as the father of his more famous son, Charles Wacker, for whom Wacker Drive in Chicago was named. And while there are plenty of photos of Charles, not a one could I find of his father.

Here’s a biography of Frederick Wacker, from the History of Chicago, Volume 3, by Alfred Theodore Andreas, published in 1886.



The Chicago brewery Frederick started was originally called Seidenschwanz & Wacker, and was located on Hinsdale, between Pine and Rush streets. It was founded in 1857, but the following year it became known as Wacker & Seidenschwanz, and was on N. Franklin Street. That version lasted until 1865. Beginning that same year, its name changed once again to the Frederick Wacker Brewery, and its address was listed as 848 N. Franklin Street, presumably in the same location as its predecessor. Sixteen years later, in 1882, it relocated to 171 N. Desplaines (now Indiana Street) and it became known as the Wacker & Birk Brewing & Malting Co. This is also when Charles joined his father’s business, when he would have been 26 years old. Just before prohibition the name was shortened to the Wacker & Birk Co., although it appears to have closed by 1920.