Tuesday’s ad is entitled Getting Ready For Christmas, and the illustration was done in 1948 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #24 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, the womenfolk are preparing to wrap all of the Christmas presents while the men sit, smiling and drinking beer. Hopefully they’re at least cheering them on so they;re not completely useless.
Today in 1892, US Patent 473737 A was issued, an invention of Peter F. Gaynor, for his “Beer-Drawing Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:
My invention relates to improvements in beer-drawng apparatus and the object of my invention is to produce a simple apparatus by means of which beer may be conveniently drawn under pressure from the cask and which may be inserted in the cask without spilling any beer or freeing any gas.
Monday’s ad is entitled Thanksgiving, and the illustration was done in 1948 by John Gannam. It’s #23 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a large family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner. I count at least eleven people. As one woman carries in the turkey from the kitchen, the rest appear to be finishing setting the table. All five of the men seen in the ad, are doing nothing whatsoever to help, and every one of them has a beer in one hand. One’s even pouring himself another beer. I’m a little surprised he didn’t have one of the womenfolk pour it for him.
Sunday’s ad is entitled Wedding Anniversary, and the illustration was done in 1948 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #22 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, an older couple is celebrating their wedding anniversary, and is being toasted with beer, presumably by their own kids, grandkids and other relatives. Granddad has a beer, but curiously Grandma does not, what’s up with that?
Today in 2013, US Patent EP 2583934 A1 was issued, an invention of Thomas W. Bates, Dan Morgan, and Leslie W. Ross, for their “Reusable Beer Keg.” Here’s the Abstract:
A reusable beer keg (1) is disclosed comprising a hollow beer keg body (2) with a dispenser tube assembly (10) having a dispenser valve (11), dispenser tube (12), and a disposable bladder (13). The dispenser valve (11) is releasably attached to a top portion of the keg body (2) and the dispenser tube (12) and bladder (13) extend into the interior of the keg body (2). When beer flows through the open dispenser valve (11) and into the bladder (13), the beer causes the bladder (13) to expand until it contacts the inside surface of the keg body (2). When the beer keg (1) has been emptied it can be returned to the brewery for reuse by cleaning the dispenser valve (11), dispenser tube (12) and disposing of the used bladder (13). The beer keg body (2) does not need to be cleaned, however, because the beer only comes in contact with the disposable bladder (13) and not the keg body (2). The beer keg parts can then be reassembled, using a new bladder in place of the used bladder.
Today in 2003, US Patent 20030075208 A1 was issued, an invention of Mason McMullin, Robert Bell, and Mark See, for their “Beerbrella.” Here’s the Abstract:
The present invention provides a small umbrella (“Beerbrella”) which may be removably attached to a beverage container in order to shade the beverage container from the direct rays of the sun. The apparatus comprises a small umbrella approximately five to seven inches in diameter, although other appropriate sizes may be used within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Suitable advertising and/or logos may be applied to the umbrella surface for promotional purposes. The umbrella may be attached to the beverage container by any one of a number of means, including clip, strap, cup, foam insulator, or as a coaster or the like. The umbrella shaft may be provided with a pivot to allow the umbrella to be suitably angled to shield the sun or for aesthetic purposes. In one embodiment, a pivot joint and counterweight may be provided to allow the umbrella to pivot out of the way when the user drinks from the container.
Saturday’s ad is entitled Trying Out The New Camera, and the illustration was done in 1948 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #21 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a group of people are drinking beers in a living room. One of them is trying out his new — gasp — film camera. Remember film? This one doesn’t even have an automatic flash, but uses single bulbs, which have to be replaced each time. I still have a camera that uses them, although to be fair I haven’t actually used it in a long, long time.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 500 years since Bavaria signed what’s considered the first food purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, also known as the Bavarian Beer Purity Law, and later the German Beer Purity Law. That’s because in 1516, when the law was decreed, Germany did not yet exist, and wouldn’t for nearly 300 years, with the formation of the German Confederation in 1815, longer if you go by the German Empire, founded in 1871. Modern Germany consists of sixteen federal states, called Bundesländers, of which Bavaria is one.
And it was in Bavarian town of Ingolstadt on April 23, 1516, that William IV, Duke of Bavaria wrote and signed the law, along with his younger brother Louis X, Duke of Bavaria. That 1516 law was itself a variation of earlier laws, at least as early as 1447 and another in independent Munich in 1487. When Bavaria reunited, the new Reinheitsgebot applied to the entirety of the Bavarian duchy. It didn’t apply to all of Germany until 1906, and it wasn’t referred to as the Reinheitsgebot until 1918, when it was coined by a member of the Bavarian parliament. But while today most people think of it as all about food purity, that was in reality only a small part of it, and probably not even the most important.
Here’s a translation of the Reinheitsgebot, from a 1993 issue of Zymurgy:
We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:
From Michaelmas to Georgi [St. George’s Day], the price for one Mass [Bavarian Liter 1,069] or one Kopf [bowl-shaped container for fluids, not quite one Mass], is not to exceed one Pfennig Munich value, and
From Georgi to Michaelmas, the Mass shall not be sold for more than two Pfennig of the same value, the Kopf not more than three Heller [Heller usually one-half Pfennig].
If this not be adhered to, the punishment stated below shall be administered.
Should any person brew, or otherwise have, other beer than March beer, it is not to be sold any higher than one Pfennig per Mass.
Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.
Should, however, an innkeeper in the country, city or markets buy two or three pails of beer (containing 60 Mass) and sell it again to the common peasantry, he alone shall be permitted to charge one Heller more for the Mass or the Kopf, than mentioned above. Furthermore, should there arise a scarcity and subsequent price increase of the barley (also considering that the times of harvest differ, due to location), WE, the Bavarian Duchy, shall have the right to order curtailments for the good of all concerned.
Notice that the first two decrees have to do with pricing and when beer can be sold. It isn’t until paragraph six, the second last one, that the issue of what ingredients will be allowed comes up. If it had been the most important part, is seems more likely they would have led with it. Even then, it wasn’t about purity, but again commerce. Barley was designated as the only grain so that others, notably wheat and rye, were set aside to be used for baking bread.
Also, a lot of hay has been made about it not mentioning yeast, with the idea that it was because yeast wasn’t discovered until Louis Pasteur in the 19th century. But early brewers did know something about yeast, even if they didn’t have the full scientific understanding that came later. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to make consistent batches of beer. At the end of your brew, you’ll find a layer of billowing foam and other indeterminate matter at the bottom of the fermenter, which the Germans called “Zeug,” which means “stuff.” And early German brewers had a person, called a “hefener,” whose job it was to scoop out the Zeug, which was in effect the leftover yeast, and pitch it in the next batch of beer. So it’s hard to say they didn’t have some understanding of yeast.
The Germans, of course, have set up a website for the 500th anniversary, and so does the Bayerischer Brauerbund, which is a a Bavarian brewers trade group along with the German Brewers Group. They also created a 50-second film marking the anniversary.
And the media is covering the Reinheitsgebot’s Quincentenary. A few examples include the BBC, Food and Wine, NPR, Spiegel, and Wired. But by far the most thorough examination of the Reinheitsgebot was by Jeff Alworth in All About Beer magazine, Attempting to Understand the Reinheitsgebot.
It’s great that it’s been 500 years, and that German brewers are justly proud of the Reinheitsgebot. It’s clearly helped create the unique German beer scene and their many native styles. But it’s also been used as a shameless marketing tool, been used as an exclusionary tactic, and has even had little-known exceptions to its rules for years, ones that most people are not even aware of, not to mention the use of other items in the brewing process that are also not mentioned by the law, but which because they’re not strictly “ingredients” more modern brewers have interpreted as not being prohibited.
Many people have voiced criticisms against it over the years. One that’s particularly thorough is The German Reinheitsgebot — Why it’s a Load of Old Bollocks. The German magazine Spiegel’s recent coverage is entitled Attacking Beer Purity: The Twilight of Germany’s Reinheitsgebot.
Back in 2001, Fred Eckhardt wrote an entertaining tale for All About Beer entitled The Spy who Saved the Reinheitsgebot, about how a brewer was able to prove Beck’s was using adjuncts and was not in adherence with the German law.
In another recent article in First We Feast, Sam Calagione, of the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, is quoted with an opinion I suspect many American brewers hold. “I hate the concept of the Reinheitsgebot, but I am essentially happy it exists.”
Deutsche Post’s 2016 commemorative stamp.
Today in 1993, US Patent 5009082 A was issued, an invention of Martin J. Abraham III, for his “System For Cooling Beer For Remote Dispensing.” Although it’s not strictly speaking, a beer patent, it is somewhat related, and it was too interesting not to include. Here’s the Abstract:
A system for cooling beer to be dispensed from a container housed in a preliminary air cooled environment that is cooled with a primary heat exchanger includes a first flowline for dispensing beer from the container and an auxiliary heat exchanger having a glycol reservoir for receiving the first flowline, the first flowline traversing the reservoir in heat exchange relation therewith. The second flowline includes at least a pair of side-by-side internal bores having a first bore in fluid communication with the first flowline downstream of the glycol reservoir and a second bore carrying glycol from the reservoir in close proximity and in heat exchange relation with beer in the first bore, the second flowline being extended in length so that beer and glycol can travel to remote positions away from the container. A spigot is provided for dispensing the beer at the remote position after transmitted thereto via the second flowline. The first flowline includes one or more fittings forming connections between the container and the reservoir that produce substantially laminar flow between the container and the reservoir.
Friday’s ad is entitled Croquet on the Lawn, and the illustration was done in 1948 by Haddon Sundblom. It’s #20 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a group of young and old people are playing croquet in a back or side yard, since one of them is drinking a beer and talking to another person over the fence. The young woman seems to be doing pretty good in the game and is about to knock the older man behind her’s ball, and he looks none too pleased.