Beer Birthday: Vinnie Cilurzo

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Today is the 47th birthday of Vinnie Cilurzo, founder and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Vinnie is one of the best brewers in America and is credited with having made the first Imperial IPA. Along with his partner Natalie, his Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, California won unprecedented back-to-back best brewpub (and brewmaster) awards at the World Beer Cups in 2006 and 2008, and their flagship Pliny the Elder has been picked as the best beer in America by AHA members seven years in a row, but was finally best this year by Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, after which Vinnie sent Larry Bell and crew a case of Pliny. Vinnie is one of the nicest people in the industry you’ll ever meet. Join me in wishing Vinnie a happy birthday.

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Vinnie and his wife Natalie from presented to Tom Dalldorf (middle), owner of the Celebrator, a Balthazar of their yummy Damnation Ale in honor of the magazine’s 17th anniversary. A Balthazar is 12 liters or contains about 16 normal bottles of beer.

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Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado, Natalie Cilurzo, Dave’s girlfriend Jennifer and Vinnie at CBC in Seattle.

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Garrett Oliver, brewer at Brooklyn Brewing Co., and Vinnie at the Brewer’s Dinner the night before GABF begins.

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Vinnie and Rich Norgrove from Bear Republic at the Summit Hop Festival a few years ago at Drake’s.

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Vinnie with his wife and Russian River co-owner Natalie at GABF in 2009.

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Vinnie and me his 40th birthday party at the brewpub a few years ago.

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And again two years ago at the Firestone Walker Invitational, sharing some frites.

Historic Beer Birthday: Adolf Bremer

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Today is the birthday of Adolf Bremer (July 24, 1869-October 9, 1939). He was born in Minnesota and married the daughter of Jacob Schmidt, who had been a brewer with Hamm’s, and others. Gremer and Schmidt partner in buying the Christopher Stahlmann Cave Brewery, and in 1900 completely remodeled it turning into the iconic “Castle” brewery with the help of Chicago brewery architect Bernard Barthel. They also renamed it the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., and after Prohibition, it became the nation’s seventh largest brewery, and for a time Brewer was its president. The brewery continued until 1972, when the brand was bought by G. Heileman. The Castle brewery in St. Paul was abandoned and only recently was renovated into the Schmidt Artist Lofts. Today the Schmidt Brewery brands are owned by Pabst.

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Here’s a very short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Businessman. Financier and president of Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company. The son-in-law of Jacob Schmidt and the father of Edward Bremer, who was a 1934 kidnap victim of the Barker-Karpis gang.

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Adolf with his son, Edward Bremer.

Here’s the brewery history from the current brand website:

In 1884, Jacob Schmidt moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and purchased a half interest in the North Star Brewery located at Commercial St. & Hudson Rd. Jacob retired in 1899, turning over the operation to his daughter and son-in-law. The following year the brewery burned to the ground and a new location was immediately found. In 1901, the brewery was incorporated as the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and a new plant and malt house were erected next to the existing structures.

Jacob died in 1910, but the brewery continued to enjoy success until Prohibition struck. After a failed attempt at producing soft drinks, a non-alcoholic malt beverage was created and became extremely popular.

After considerable success following the repeal of Prohibition, the company continued to prosper under the Schmidt name until 1955. Most of the original buildings still stand today, looming proudly above the Mississippi River.

Schmidt beer is known as the “Official Beer of the American Sportsman”…a slogan that capitalizes on the exciting, rugged appeal of the Pacific Northwest. The quality and brewing tradition instilled by Jacob Schmidt, continues today.

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And here’s the portion of Schmidt’s Wikipedia page that deals with the brewery’s namesake:

Jacob Schmidt started his brewing career in Minnesota as the Brewmaster for the Theodore Hamm’s Brewing Co. He left this position to become owner of the North Star Brewing Co. Under Schmidt’s new leadership the small brewery would see much success and in 1899 Schimdt transferred partial ownership of his new brewery to a new corporation headed by his son in law Adolph Bremer, and Adolph’s brother Otto. This corporation would later become Bremer Bank. With the new partnership the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company was established. In 1900 the North Star Brewery would suffer a fire that would close it for good. With the new management team in place a new brewery was needed, the new firm purchased the Stahlmann Brewery form the St. Paul Brewing Co. and immediately started construction on a new Romanesque brewery incorporating parts of Stahlmann’s original brewery along with it including the further excavation of the lagering cellars used in the fermentation process to create Schmidt’s Lager Beer.

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This account is excerpted from the Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota, by Doug Hoverson:

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The Schmidt “Castle” brewery in 1905.

Here’s a portion of a lengthier, more thorough account of the brewery’s history, from Substreet:

He came to the United States in 1865 at the age of 20 and worked in brewhouses as he moved westward. He worked in Rochester, Chicago, and Milwaukee, before coming to Minnesota, where he found a position at Schell’s brewery in New Ulm, before moving to Minneapolis’ Heinrich’s and then to Banholzer’s and Hamm’s of St. Paul.

At Theodore Hamm’s brewery, the biggest of its kind in the state, Schmidt became not just the chief brewer, but also a personal friend of the firm’s powerful owner and namesake.

Ultimately, Jacob Schmidt wanted his own brewery.

On the other end of Swede Hollow, in 1860, Edward Drewry and George Scotten founded what would become the North Star Brewery, then just called ‘Drewry & Scotten’. Though it featured a brewhouse large enough to compete with Stahlmann’s operation on the other side of St. Paul, and had adequate—though far from extensive—underground cellars to match, this brewery produced ale, not lager beer, and therefore did not compete with Stahlmann’s brand.

After changing hands several times, it was clear by the early 1880s that North Star required a talented master brewer. The owners of that humble brewery, William Constans (grocer and brewery supply dealer) and Reinhold Koch (brewer and Civil War veteran), hired Jacob Schmidt, and the former Hamm’s brewer rapidly expanded production below the bluff.

Together, Schmidt, Constans and Koch grew North Star Brewery to the point it competed directly with Hamm’s.

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In a few years, the Dayton’s Bluff brewhouse became the second greatest producer of beer west of Chicago by some estimates, sending out 16,000 barrels annually as far as Illinois. In 1884, Constans and Koch decided to leave the business, thereby leaving Schmidt as sole owner. In 1899, Schmidt took down the ‘North Star Brewery’ sign and replaced it with ‘Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company’.

The next year, it all burned.

Today, all that remains of the brewery are its aging cellars, which are a part of the new Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in Lowertown off Commercial Street.

As he considered the cost of rebuilding, Schmidt received a proposal from St. Paul Brewing: they wanted to sell him their troubled brewery. The brewmaster accepted the offer and moved his operation into the former Cave Brewery, which had been only slightly modified since Stahlmann built it almost 50 years prior. Facilities were inadequate, but he would fix that.

Interestingly, Jacob Schmidt had all the bottles salvaged from the ruined brewery shipped to his new location. The glasses still bore the mark of the North Star brand, a large five-pointed star—a feature the brewer would ultimately opt to keep.

Stars cover the Schmidt brewery to this day, in signs and ironwork, hearkening to Jacob Schmidt’s time at, and the destruction of, North Star Brewery.

Observing the lowly state that Stahlmann’s brewery was in, Schmidt hired a rising Chicago architect, Bernard Barthel, to design a totally new complex to replace what was left of the Christopher Stahlmann Brewing Company, and St. Paul Brewing Company’s brash modifications to it.

It would be medieval on the outside, but totally modern and streamlined inside.

Soon, imposing red brick towers were rising on Fort Road, with obvious influences borrowed from feudal era castles, replacing the modest remains of Cave Brewery. Construction of Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co. was completed in 1904, followed in the next decade by its more significant outbuildings, notably ending in 1915 with the Bottling Department. Schmidt beer was some of the first to be bottled on-site in the state.

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The new brewery complex was designed to compete with the biggest brewers in the country, and it did.

When Jacob died in 1911, his brewery was an icon of the West Side and the employer of more than 200 people. More importantly, the beer continued to flow, unlike the bust that followed the Stahlmanns. Though the man himself was gone, the name Schmidt was becoming ever more prominent across the country.

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The Mug-House Riots

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Today, just over three-hundred years ago — July 23, 1716 — a little-known historical event took place in London, known as the Mug-House Riots, between Jacobite and Hanoverian partisans.

One of my favorite old books on dates, entitled “Chamber’s Book of Days,” which was published in England, in 1869, has an account of the Mug-Houe Riots:

On the 23rd of July 1716, a tavern in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, was assailed by a great mob, evidently animated by a deadly purpose. The house was defended, and bloodshed took place before quiet was restored. This affair was a result of the recent change of dynasty. The tavern was one of a set in which the friends of the newly acceded Hanover family assembled, to express their sentiments and organise their measures. The mob was a Jacobite mob, to which such houses were a ground of offence. But we must trace the affair more in detail.

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Amongst the various clubs which existed in London at the commencement of the eighteenth century, there was not one in greater favour than the Mug-house Club, which met in a great hall in Long Acre, every Wednesday and Saturday, during the winter. The house had got its name from the simple circumstance, that each member drank his ale (the only liquor used) out of a separate mug. There was a president, who is described in 1722 as a grave old gentleman in his own gray hairs, now full ninety years of age.’ A harper sat occasionally playing at the bottom of the room. From time to time, a member would give a song. Healths were drunk, and jokes transmitted along the table. Miscellaneous as the company was—and it included barristers as well as trades-people—great harmony prevailed. In the early days of this fraternity there was no room for politics, or anything that could sour conversation.

By and by, the death of Anne brought on the Hanover succession. The Tories had then so much the better of the other party, that they gained the mob on all public occasions to their side. It became necessary for King George’s friends to do something in counteraction of this tendency. No better expedient occurred to them, than the establishing of mug-houses, like that of Long Acre, throughout the metropolis, wherein the friends of the Protestant succession might rally against the partizans of a popish pretender. First, they had one in St. John’s Lane, chiefly under the patronage of a Mr. Blenman, a member of the Middle Temple, who took for his motto, ‘Pro rege et loge;’ then arose the Roebuck mug-house in Cheapside, the haunt of a fraternity of young men who had been organised for political action before the end of the late reign. According to a pamphlet on the subject, dated in 1717,

‘The next mug-houses opened in the city were at Mrs. Read’s coffee-house in Salisbury Court, in Fleet Street, and at the Harp in Tower Street, and another at the Roebuck in Whitechapel. About the same time, several other mug-houses were erected in the suburbs, for the reception and entertainment of the like loyal societies; viz., one at the Ship, in Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, which is mostly frequented by loyal officers of the army; another at the Black Horse, in Queen Street, near Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, set up and carried on by gentlemen, servants to that noble patron of loyalty, to whom this vindication of it is inscribed [the Duke of Newcastle]; a third was set up at the Nag’s Head, in James’s Street, Covent Garden; a fourth at the Fleece, in Burleigh Street, near Exeter Exchange; a fifth at the Hand and Tench, near the Seven Dials; several in Spittlefields, by the French refugees; one in Southwark Park; and another in the Artillery Ground.’ Another of the rather celebrated mud houses was the Magpie, without Newgate, which still exists in the Magpie and Stump, in the Old Bailey. At all of these houses it was customary in the forenoon to exhibit the whole of the mugs belonging to the establishment in a range over the door—the best sign and attraction for the loyal that could have been adopted, for the White Horse of Hanover itself was not more emblematic of the new dynasty than was—the Mug.

It was the especial age of clubs, and the frequenters of these mug-houses formed themselves into societies, or clubs, known generally as the Mug-house Clubs, and severally by some distinctive name or other, and each club had its president to rule its meetings and keep order. The president was treated with great ceremony and respect: he was conducted to his chair every evening at about seven o’clock, or between that and eight, by members carrying candles before and behind him, and accompanied with music. Having taken a seat, he appointed a vice-president, and drank the health of the company assembled, a compliment which the company returned. The evening was then passed in drinking successively loyal and other healths, and in singing songs. Soon after ten, they broke up, the president naming his successor for the next evening, and, before he left the chair, a collection was made for the musicians.

These clubs played a very active part in the violent political struggles of the time. The Jacobites had laboured with much zeal to secure the alliance of the street-mob, and they had used it with great effect, in connection with Dr. Sacheverell, in over-throwing Queen Anne’s Whig government, and paving the way for the return of the exiled family. Disappointment at the accession of George I rendered the party of the Pretender more unscrupulous, the mob was excited to go to greater lengths, and the streets of London were occupied by an infuriated rabble, and presented nightly a scene of riot such as can hardly be imagined in our quiet times. It was under these circumstances that the mug-house clubs volunteered, in a very disorderly manner, to be the champions of order, and with this purpose it became a part of their evening’s entertainment to march into the street and fight the Jacobite mob. This practice commenced in the autumn of 1715, when the club called the Loyal Society, which met at the Roebuck, in Cheapside, distinguished itself by its hostility to Jacobitism. On one occasion, at the period of which we are now speaking, the members of this society, or the Mug-house Club of the Roebuck, had burned the Pretender in effigy. Their first conflict with the mob recorded in the newspapers occurred on the 31st of October 1715.

It was the birthday of the Prince of Wales, and was celebrated by illuminations and bonfires. There were a few Jacobite alehouses, chiefly situated on Holborn Hill [Sacheverell’s parish], and in Ludgate Street; and it was probably the frequenters of the Jacobite public-house in the latter locality who stirred up the mob on this occasion to raise a riot on Ludgate Hill, put out the bonfire there, and break the windows which were illuminated. The Loyal Society men, receiving intelligence of what was going on, hurried to the spot, and, in the words of the newspaper report, ‘soundly thrashed and dispersed’ the rioters. The 4th of November was the anniversary of the birth of King William III, and the Jacobite mob made a large bonfire in the Old Jury, to burn an effigy of that monarch; but the mug-house men came upon them again, gave them ‘due chastisement with oaken plants,’ demolished their bonfire, and carried King William in triumph to the Roebuck. Next day was the commemoration of gunpowder treason, and the loyal mob had its pageant.

A long procession was formed, having in front a figure of the infant Pretender, accompanied by two men bearing each a warmin pan, in allusion to the story about his birth, and followed by effigies, in gross caricature, of the pope, the Pretender, the Duke of Ormond, Lord Bolingbroke, and the Earl of Marr, with halters round their necks, and all of which were to be burned in a large bonfire made in Cheapside. The procession, starting from the Roebuck, went through Newgate Street, and up Holborn Hill, where they compelled the bells of St. Andrew’s Church, of which Sacheverell was incumbent, to ring; thence through Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields and Covent Garden to the gate of St. James’s palace; returning by way of Pall-Mall and the Strand, and through St. Paul’s Churchyard. They had met with no interruption on their way, but on their return to Cheapside, they found that, during their absence, that quarter had been invaded by the Jacobite mob, who had carried away all the materials which had been collected for the bonfire. Thus the various anniversaries became, by such demonstrations, the occasions for the greatest turbulence; and these riots became more alarming, in consequence of the efforts which were made to increase the force of the Jacobite mob.

On the 17th of November, of the year just mentioned, the Loyal Society met at the Roebuck, to celebrate the anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth; and, while busy with their mugs, they received information that the Jacobites, or, as they commonly called them, the Jacks, were assembled in great force in St. Martin’s-le-Grand, and preparing to burn the effigies of King William and King George, along with the Duke of Marlborough. They were so near, in fact, that their party-shouts of High Church, Ormond, and King James, must have been audible at the Roebuck, which stood opposite Bow Church. The ‘Jacks’ were starting on. their procession, when they were overtaken in Newgate Street by the mug-house men from the Roebuck, and a desperate encounter took place, in which the Jacobites were defeated, and many of them were seriously injured. Meanwhile the Roebuck itself had been the scene of a much more serious tumult. During the absence of the great mass of the members of the club, another body of Jacobites, much more numerous than those engaged in Newgate Street, suddenly assembled and attacked the Roebuck mug-house, broke its windows and those of the adjoining houses, and with terrible threats, attempted to force the door. One of the few members of the Loyal Society who remained at home, discharged a gun upon those of the assailants who were attacking the door, and killed one of their leaders. This, and the approach of the lord mayor and city officers, caused the mob to disperse; but the Roebuck was exposed to continued attacks during several following nights, after which the mobs remained tolerably quiet through the winter.

With the month of February 1716, these riots began to be renewed with greater violence than over, and large preparations were made for an active mob-campaign in the spring. The mug – houses were refitted, and re-opened with ceremonious entertainments, and new songs were composed to encourage and animate the clubs. Collections of these mug-house songs were printed in little volumes, of which copies are still preserved, though they now come under the class of rare books. The Jacobite mob was again heard gathering in the streets by its well-known signal of the beating of marrow-bones and cleavers, and both sides were well furnished with staves of oak, their usual arms, for the combat, although other weapons, and missiles of various descriptions, were in common use. One of the mum house songs gives the following account of the way in which these riots were carried on:

Since the Tories could not fight,
And their master took his flight,
They labour to keep up their faction;
With a bough and a stick,
And a stone and a brick,
They equip their roaring crew for action.

Thus in battle-array,
At the close of the day,
After wisely debating their plot,
Upon windows and stall
They courageously fall,
And boast a great victory they’ve got.

But, alas! silly boys!
For all the mighty noise
Of their “High Church and Ormond for ever!”
A brave Whig, with one hand,
At George’s command,
Can make their mightiest hero to quiver.’

One of the great anniversaries of the Whigs was the 8th of March, the day of the death of King William; and with this the more serious mug-house riots of the year 1716 appear to have commenced. A large Jacobite mob assembled to their old watch-word, and marched along Cheapside to attack the Roebuck; but they were soon driven away by a small party of the Loyal Society, who met there. The latter then marched in procession through Newgate Street, paid their respects to the Magpie as they passed, and went through the Old Bailey to Ludgate Hill. On their return, they found that the Jacobite mob had collected in great force in their rear, and a much more serious engagement took place in Newgate Street, in which the ‘Jacks’ were again beaten, and many persons sustained serious personal injury. Another great tumult, or rather series of tumults, occurred on the evening of the 23rd of April, the anniversary of the birth of Queen Anne, during which there were great battles both in Cheapside and at the end of Giltspur Street, in the immediate neighbourhood of the two celebrated snug-houses, the Roebuck and the Magpie, which shows that the Jacobites had now become enterprising. Other great tumults took place on the 29th of May, the anniversary of the Restoration, and on the 10th of June, the Pretender’s birthday.

From this time the Roebuck is rarely mentioned, and the attacks of the mob appear to have been directed against other houses. On the 12th of July, the mug-house in Southwark, and, on the 20th, that in Salisbury Court (Read’s Coffee-house), were fiercely assailed, but successfully defended. The latter was attacked by a much more numerous mob on the evening of the 23rd of July, and after a resistance which lasted all night, the assailants forced their way in, and kept the Loyal Society imprisoned in the upper rooms of the house while they gutted the lower part, drank as much ale out of the cellar as they could, and let the rest run out. Read, in desperation, had shot their ringleader with a blunderbuss, in revenge for which they left the coffeehouse-keeper for dead; and they were at last with difficulty dispersed by the arrival of the military. The inquest on the dead man found a verdict of wilful murder against Read; but, when put upon his trial, he was acquitted, while several of the rioters, who had been taken, were hanged. This result appears to have damped the courage of the rioters, and to have alarmed all parties, and we hear no more of the mug-house riots. Their incompatibility with the preservation of public order was very generally felt, and they became the subject of great complaints. A few months later, a pamphlet appeared, under the title of Down with the Mug, or Reasons for Suppressing the Mug-houses, by an author who only gave his name as Sir H. M.; but who seems to have shown so much of what was thought to be Jacobite spirit, that it provoked a reply, entitled The Mug Vindicated.

But the mug-houses, left to themselves, soon became very harmless.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Michael Thomas Bass

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Today is the birthday of Michael Thomas Bass (July 23, 1760-March 9, 1827). He was the son of Bass brewery founder William Bass who ran the brewery from 1787, greatly increasing the brewery’s business and expanding into new markets, such as the Baltic States and Germany.

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Here’s the info on Bass Sr. from Wikipedia:

Bass was the son of William Bass, a carrier from Leicestershire, who founded the brewery in 1777. After his father’s death in 1787, Michael ran the brewery with his brother William until he took sole control in 1795. He continued to develop the Baltic trade with Russia and North Germany, exporting via the River Trent and Hull.

He extended the brewery’s operations, laying the foundations for its future success. He entered into partnership with John Ratcliff and in 1799 he built a second brewery at Burton. Following the Napoleonic blockade, Burton brewers needed another market, and Bass was one of the breweries to start brewing and exporting India Pale Ale (IPA).

Bass married Sarah Hoskins, the daughter of Abraham Hoskins of Burton and Newton Solney. Sarah’s brother, Abraham, built Bladon Castle, a folly which aroused bad feeling locally. Sarah’s great grandfather George Hayne was responsible for establishing the Trent Navigation as an active concern.

Bass died at the age of 66. His eldest son, Michael Thomas Bass continued to manage the brewery company and was MP for Derby for over 35 years. His third son Abraham Bass was an influential cricketer, known as the ‘father of midlands cricket’

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And here’s a short biography from the Bass Family section on the Local History of Burton upon Trent website:

After his father’s death in 1787, Michael ran the brewery with his brother William until he took sole control in 1795. He continued to develop the Baltic trade with Russia and North Germany, exporting via the River Trent and Hull.

He extended the brewery’s operations, laying the foundations for its future success. He entered into partnership with John Ratcliff and in 1799 he built a second brewery at Burton. Following the Napoleonic blockade, Burton brewers needed another market, and Bass was one of the breweries to start brewing and exporting India Pale Ale.

Bass married Sarah Hoskins, the daughter of Abraham Hoskins of Burton and Newton Solney. Sarah’s brother, Abraham, built Bladon Castle, a folly which aroused bad feeling locally. Sarah’s great grandfather George Hayne was responsible for establishing the Trent Navigation as an active concern.

On Bass’s death in 1827, his eldest son, Michael Thomas Bass, Jr., born in 1799, succeeded to the brewery.

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And here’s yet another story about the origin of the potato chip, written by Jean McGregor in the Saratogian in 1940:

The authentic story of Saratoga chips is at long last revealed by the great nephew of George (Speck) Crum, their originator, Albert J. Stewart, now an employee of Mrs. Webster Curran Moriarta of North Broadway, with whom he has been employed for 24 years. Stewart told the story to Mrs. Moriarta many times as I relate it here: “Aunt Kate Wicks” so called by her friends, had something* to do with their Invention—worked for her brother, Crum. She related the true circumstances to Stewart many times before her death in 1914 at 68 William St., where she resided. Crum was born in Malta, the son of Abram Speck, a mulatto jockey who came from Kentucky in the early days of Saratoga and married an Indian woman of the Stockbridge tribe. It is related that a wealthy dinner guest had one time Jokingly referred to the name Speck, as Crura, and thereupon Speck took over the name of Crum. George Crum was more Indianin appearance. His younger days were spent in the Adirondack^ and he became a mighty hunter and a successful fisherman. His services as a guide in the Adirondack* were much sought after. His companion in the forests was a Frenchman from whom he learned to cook. Shortly after the Frenchman’s death, Cnrn took up his abode near the south end of the lake and prepared to serve ducks. He became known throughout the country for his unique and wonderful skill In cooking game, fish and camp fire dishes generally. While he was employed as a cook at Moon’s Place, opened by Carey B. Moon in 1853 at the Southend of Saratoga Lake, on the Ramsdill Road, the incident occurred which led to the making of Saratoga Chips. “Aunt Kate Wicks” who worked with her brother, Crum, making pastry, had a pan of fat on the stove, while making crullers and was peeling potatoes at the same time. She chipped off a piece of potato which by the merest accident fell into the pan of fat. She fished it out with a fork and set it down upon a plate beside her on the table. Crum came into the kitchen. “What’s this?”, he asked, as he picked up the chip and tasted it “Hm, Hm, that’s good. How did you make it?” “Aunt Kate” described the accident. “That’s a good accident,” said Crum. “We’ll have plenty of these.” HE TREED them out. Demand for them grew like wild fire and he sold them at 15 and ten cents a bag. Thus the Saratoga Chip came into existence. Other makes appeared on the market as time passed. For a long period of years, few prominent men in the world of finance, politics, art, the drama or sports, failed to eat one of Crum’s famous dinners.

The late Cornelius E. Durkee, who died at the age of 96, entertained many guests at Moon’s and was familiar with its history, related this interesting story of Crum’s genius as a cook for me one day while he was compiling his reminiscences: “William H. Vanderbilt, father of Governor William H. Vanderbilt of Rhode Island, a prominent visitor here in those days, was extremely fond of canvasback ducks, but could not get them cooked properly in the village. “He sent a couple to Crum to see what he could do with them. “Crum had never seen a canvasback but having boasted that he could cook anything, willingly undertook to prepare these. “I KEPT THEM over the coals 19 minutes.” Crum told Mr. Durkee, “the blood following the knife and sent them to the table hot. Mr. Vanderbilt said he had never eaten anything like them in his life”Mr. Vanderbilt,” continued Mr. Durkee, “was so pleased he sent Mr. Crum many customers. He prospered in the business. He kept his tables laden with the best of everything and did not neglect to charge Delmonico prices.” “His rules of procedure were his own. Guests were obliged to wait their turn, the millionaire as well as the wage earner. Mr. Vanderbilt was once obliged to wait an hour for a meal and Jay Gould and his party, also visitors here in the early days when this resort was the capital of fashionables of the country, waited as long another time. CRUM LEFT the kitchen to apologize to Mr. Gould, who told him he understood the rules of the establishment and would wait willingly another hour. Judge Hilton and a party of friends were turned away one day. “I can’t wait on you,” said Crum, directing them to a rival house for dinner. “George,” said Mr. Hilton, “you must wait on us if we have to remain in the front yard for two hours.” Mr. Durkee recalled for me that, among those who enjoyed Crum’s cooking and his potato chips were Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Grover Cleveland, and Governors Horatio Seymour, Alonzo B. Cornell, David P. Hill, Roswell P. Flower and such financiers as Vanderbilt, Pierre Lorillard, Berry Wall, William R. Travers, William M. Tweed and E. T. Stokes. Crum died in 1914. His brother, Abraham (Speck) Crum dug out an old Indian canoe for Jonathan Ramsdill of Saratoga Lake which is still on exhibit in the State Museum in Albany as one of the finest examples of Indian canoes and Indian days at Saratoga Lake, rich in Indian lore.

And Original Saratoga Chips in New York, also has their version of the story on their website. And The Great Idea Finder also has some info on Crum.

His own restaurant, Crum’s Place, was located at 793 Malta Avenue in Ballston Spa, New York. Today, a marker can be seen by the spot where it stood from 1860-1890.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Peter Adolph Schemm

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Today is the birthday of Peter Adolph Schemm (July 20, 1852-June 6, 1909). He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter Schemm, who founded the Peter Schemm Brewery. When Peter A. began working at his father’s brewery, it was renamed the Peter Schemm & Son Brewery, or the Peter Schemm & Son Lager Brewery.

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Here’s his very short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Was a ‘Gentleman’ and had taken over the brewery of his father- Peter Schemm Brewery in Philadelphia. He was also an extensive collector of paintings and was a lover of books.

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The Peter Schemm & Son Brewery located at North 25th Street near Poplar in Philadelphia.

In a biography about his father, Peter Schemm, from the Peter Schemm and Fredericka Rosina Schill Family Group, Peter A. is mentioned toward the end:

In 1885, Peter A. Schemm, Peter’s only son, joined the business, and the elder Peter gradually relinquished active management. His eyesight was beginning to fail, but even so, he maintained his daily practice of visiting the brewery two or three times every day, stroll up to Massholder’s saloon, a few doors above the brewery and sit with three or four old friends, and every day took his own carriage and driver (rather than using the carriage of his family) to meet with an old friend and stop by the brewery to be sure the beer was not too cold and had been properly drawn. In 1895, the contracting firm of Philip Halbach was engaged to add a large stock house to the Peter Schemm & Son brewery at a cost of $30,000.

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Peter A. Schemm (standing up behind the table).

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Beer Birthday: George Reisch

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Today is the 60th birthday — the Big 6-O — of George Reisch, who recently retired as the brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch. George had worked for A-B since 1979, but his family roots in brewing run far deeper. His great-great-great-grandfather Franz Sales Reisch founded the Reisch Brewing Co. in 1849, in the city of Springfield, Illinois, which operated until 1966. I have had the pleasure of judging at both GABF and the World Beer Cup over the years with George, and he’s an amazing person. Join me wishing George a very happy birthday.

Lester Jones, of the Beer Institute & George Reisch, of Anheuser-Busch @ GABF Saturday
Lester Jones, currently with the NBWA, and George at GABF in 2009.

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George drinking a beer behind a beautiful skyline and rocking his medal (the one they give you in Belgium when the Brewer’s Guild there knights you).

Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Hudepohl

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Today is the birthday of Louis Hudepohl (July 20, 1842-April 27, 1902). Originally born as Ludwig Hudepohl II, he and partner George H. Kotte bought the Buckeye Brewery of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1885, calling it the Kotte & Hudepohl Brewery, though it was later known as the Hudepohl Brewing Company in in 1885. “Hudepohl was the son of Bavarian immigrants and had worked in the surgical tool business before starting his brewery. Hudepohl combined with the Schoenling Brewing Company in 1986.”

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Here’s an account from Queen City History:

Louis Hudepohl (born Ludwig Hudepohl II) had a business model that would raise a few eyebrows in modern state regulatory agencies. He had a combination real estate office and liquor store on Main Street. The real estate thing must not have worked out because his business was listed solely as a wholesale liquor store a few years later; but he definitely had a bright future in the alcoholic beverage industry. Along with his partner George Kotte, Hudepohl sold the liquor store on Main and bought a fledgling brewery on Buckeye Street (now East Clifton) in 1885. Born in Cincinnati by German immigrant parents, Hudepohl would become the first American-born member of Cincinnati’s great pre-Prohibition beer barons. Although Louis Hudepohl died in 1902, his family-run brewery also bridged another generational gap: The Hudepohl Brewing Company was only one of four Cincinnati breweries to survive Prohibition. As the last to still be brewing near beer, the Bruckmann Brewing Company was the only Cincinnati brewery poised to immediately return to production of real beer. Hudepohl, Foss-Schnieder, and Schaller also resumed operations within a few months, and under their pre-Prohibition names. Within a year, these breweries were followed by a series of others that breathed new life into pre-Prohibition breweries.

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And another from Peared Creation:

Louis Hudepohl and his wife, Agnes, made their home in Cincinnati in 1838 after emigrating from Germany. Hudepohl met a business partner by the name of George H. Kotte and the two started a wholesale liquor store near Main and Ninth Street. In 1842 Louis had a son, Louis Hudepohl II, that would grow up to be a major player in Cincinnati brewing. He was initially trained in surgical tools but his lack of interest in the work prompted a move to his father’s liquor store at the age of 24.

Hudepohl II resumed partnership with Kotte, during which Hudepohl Sr. passed away in 1881. It was in 1885 that the new partners sold their store and bought the brewery on East McKinnon and 105/125 Clifton Avenues. The facility had a long history of brewering as it was used by Gottfried & Henry Koehler for 20 years, and then by Kaufmann Brewing Co. from 1883-1885. The duo encountered much success and raised production from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels in only their first year. By 1890 the brewery had more than 5 brands of beer and 100 employees. As the brands and barrels grew, the partners hired brewery architect Fredrick Wolf to design their expansion. Kotte’s death in 1899 prompted the renaming to Hudepohl Brewing Co. The same year, Louis introduced “Golden Jubilee” which became a craving among beer lovers across the region.

Of course the prohibition shut down brewery operations in 1919 but while many other breweries failed to adapt, the Hudepohl brand remained a constant in the market with their near beer and sodas. The near-beer was one half of 1 percent alcohol which they sold individually as well as mixed with a concoction of ginger ale which they called a Dutch Cocktail. After the Prohibition was lifted off, Hudepohl resumed his famous beer making. In fact he was one of the three brands including, Foss-Schneider and Schaller, who were able to reemerge after the prohibition. Following incessant demand for the Hudepohl brands the company purchased the Lackman Brewing Co. in order to increase production in 1934.

By the mid 1980s, Hudepohl was producing 100,000 barrels per year, making Hudepohl and beer synonymous in the tri-state area. Hudy Delight, introduced in 1978 became their star beer along with The Christian Moerlein Cincinnati Select Lager introduced in 1981. The beer, named after famous Cincinnati pre-prohibition brewer, had more flavor and a deep, rich golden color. Hudepohl manufactured 14 other beers including Hudepohl Bock, Hudepohl Beer, Chevy Ale, Old 85 Ale, Burger Light, Hudepohl Gold, and Hudepohl Oktoberfest to name a few. Hudepohl’s 100th anniversary was celebrated in 1985 when it was under the presidency of Bob Pohl. He was in need for an investor when Schoenling Brewing Company took over the business on the decline. The company operated as Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company in the same Hudepohl facility until it was moved to Schoenling facility.

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This biography appeared in the History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio, published in 1894.

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Louis Hudepohl later in life, enjoying life as a local celebrity.

Sarah Stephens had this to say about Hudepohl in Cincinnati’s Brewing History:

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Ballantine’s Literary Ads: A.J. Cronin

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Between 1951 and 1953, P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, or simply Ballentine Beer, created a series of ads with at least thirteen different writers. They asked each one “How would you put a glass of Ballantine Ale into words?” Each author wrote a page that included reference to their beer, and in most cases not subtly. One of them was A.J.
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, who was a Scottish author, best known for The Citadel, “the story of a doctor from a Welsh mining village who quickly moves up the career ladder in London.”

Today is the birthday of Archibald Joseph Cronin (July 19, 1896–January 6, 1981), who was “was a Scottish novelist and physician. His best-known novel is The Citadel, the story of a doctor from a Welsh mining village who quickly moves up the career ladder in London. Cronin had observed this scene closely as a Medical Inspector of Mines and later as a doctor in Harley Street. The book promoted what were then controversial new ideas about medical ethics and helped to inspire the launch of the National Health Service. Another popular mining novel of Cronin’s, set in the North East of England, is The Stars Look Down. Both these novels have been adapted as films, as have Hatter’s Castle, The Keys of the Kingdom and The Green Years. Cronin’s novella Country Doctor was adapted as a long-running BBC radio and TV series Dr Finlay’s Casebook, revived many years later.”

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His 1952 piece for Ballantine was done as a reminiscence of his first taste of Ballantine in America, just after a well-played round of golf:

My first meeting with Ballantine Ale is still vivid in my memory.

It was a sweltering summer day at York Harbor, Maine, shortly after I first came to these United States. I thought it would be a memorable day because I shot the lowest golf score I ever made — a 72.

But in the locker room after the game, a friend said: “Try a Ballantine.”

I did — straight from the icebox. And as it flowed over by parched throat — tangy and refreshing in every swallow — I realized with a big thrill that my search for my favourite beverage was ended. I had always like ale, but here was something lighter, something better than anything I’d ever had abroad.

Well, my discovery outweighed by golf course. I remember that day as the time the “three rings” first rang the bell for me.

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A Meditation On A Quart Mugg

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The Pennsylvania Gazette “was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728, before the time period of the American Revolution, until 1800.” In 1729, Benjamin Franklin, and a partner (Hugh Meredith), bought the paper. “Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies.”

On July 19, 1733, they published a piece entitled “A Meditation on a Quart Mugg.” It was generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and for years was published among collections of his writings. However, the current editors of the National Archives are not convinced that it was indeed written by Franklin, and “believe that the essay is not sufficiently characteristic of Franklin’s style to be attributed to him.” Plus, apparently “no external evidence of authorship has been found.” Despite the uncertainty of who wrote it, it remain an interesting, if odd, piece written from the point of view of the mug. It has held beer, among much else, but had more feelings and experienced more humiliations and bad treatment than I had ever thought about before. I must remember to thank my glassware for its service on a more regular basis.

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A Meditation on a Quart Mugg

Wretched, miserable, and unhappy Mug! I pity thy luckless Lot, I commiserate thy Misfortunes, thy Griefs fill me with Compassion, and because of thee are Tears made frequently to burst from my Eyes.

How often have I seen him compell’d to hold up his Handle at the Bar, for no other Crime than that of being empty; then snatch’d away by a surly Officer, and plung’d suddenly into a Tub of cold Water: Sad Spectacle, and Emblem of human Penury, oppress’d by arbitrary Power! How often is he hurry’d down into a dismal Vault, sent up fully laden in a cold Sweat, and by a rude Hand thrust into the Fire! How often have I seen it obliged to undergo the Indignities of a dirty Wench; to have melting Candles dropt on its naked Sides, and sometimes in its Mouth, to risque being broken into a thousand Pieces, for Actions which itself was not guilty of! How often is he forced into the Company of boisterous Sots, who say all their Nonsence, Noise, profane Swearing, Cursing, and Quarreling, on the harmless Mug, which speaks not a Word! They overset him, maim him, and sometimes turn him to Arms offensive or defensive, as they please; when of himself he would not be of either Party, but would as willingly stand still. Alas! what Power, or Place, is provided, where this poor Mug, this unpitied Slave, can have Redress of his Wrongs and Sufferings? Or where shall he have a Word of Praise bestow’d on him for his Well-doings, and faithful Services? If he prove of a large size, his Owner curses him, and says he will devour more than he’ll earn: If his Size be small, those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisition of the Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of many Mischiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, and broken Heads: But none praise thee for the good Things thou yieldest! Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder mull’d, fine Punch, or cordial Tiff; yet for all these shouldst thou not be prais’d, but the rich Liquors themselves, which tho’ within thee, twill be said to be foreign to thee! And yet, so unhappy is thy Destiny, thou must bear all their Faults and Abominations! Hast thou been industriously serving thy Employers with Tiff or Punch, and instantly they dispatch thee for Cyder, then must thou be abused for smelling of Rum. Hast thou been steaming their Noses gratefully, with mull’d Cyder or butter’d Ale, and then offerest to refresh their Palates with the best of Beer, they will curse thee for thy Greasiness. And how, alas! can thy Service be rendered more tolerable to thee? If thou submittest thy self to a Scouring in the Kitchen, what must thou undergo from sharp Sand, hot Ashes, and a coarse Dishclout; besides the Danger of having thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy Arms dismantled, and thy whole Frame shatter’d, with violent Concussions in an Iron Pot or Brass Kettle! And yet, O Mug! if these Dangers thou escapest, with little Injury, thou must at last untimely fall, be broken to Pieces, and cast away, never more to be recollected and form’d into a Quart Mug. Whether by the Fire, or in a Battle, or choak’d with a Dishclout, or by a Stroke against a Stone, thy Dissolution happens; ’tis all alike to thy avaritious Owner; he grieves not for thee, but for the Shilling with which he purchased thee! If thy Bottom-Part should chance to survive, it may be preserv’d to hold Bits of Candles, or Blacking for Shoes, or Salve for kibed Heels; but all thy other Members will be for ever buried in some miry Hole; or less carefully disposed of, so that little Children, who have not yet arrived to Acts of Cruelty, may gather them up to furnish out their Baby-Houses: Or, being cast upon the Dunghill, they will therewith be carted into Meadow Grounds; where, being spread abroad and discovered, they must be thrown to the Heap of Stones, Bones, and Rubbish; or being left until the Mower finds them with his Scythe, they will with bitter Curses be tossed over the Hedge; and so serve for unlucky Boys to throw at Birds and Dogs; until by Length of Time and numerous Casualties, they shall be press’d into their Mother Earth, and be converted to their original Principles.