Historic Beer Birthday: Grigori Rasputin

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Today is the birthday of Grigori Rasputin (January 21, 1869–December 30, 1916). He “was a Russian peasant, an experienced traveler, a mystical faith healer, and trusted friend of the family of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of the Russian Empire. He became an influential figure in Saint Petersburg, especially after August 1915 when Nicholas took command of the army fighting in World War I. Advising his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, in countless spiritual and political issues, Rasputin became an easy scapegoat for Russian nationalists, liberals and aristocrats.

There is uncertainty over much of Rasputin’s life and the degree of influence that he exerted over the extremely shy Tsar and the strong-willed Tsarina. Accounts are often based on dubious memoirs, hearsay, and legend. While his influence and position may have been exaggerated by society gossip and his own drunken boasting his presence played a significant role in the increasing unpopularity of the Imperial couple. Rasputin was murdered by monarchists who hoped to save Tsarism by ending his sway over the royal family.”

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Here’s his entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin, original name Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (born 1872?, Pokrovskoye, near Tyumen, Siberia, Russian Empire—died December 30 [December 17, Old Style], 1916, Petrograd [now St. Petersburg, Russia]), Siberian peasant and mystic whose ability to improve the condition of Aleksey Nikolayevich, the hemophiliac heir to the Russian throne, made him an influential favourite at the court of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra.

Although he attended school, the peasant Grigory Yefimovich Novykh remained illiterate, and his reputation for licentiousness earned him the surname Rasputin, Russian for “debauched one.” He evidently underwent a religious conversion at age 18, and eventually he went to the monastery at Verkhoture, where he was introduced to the Khlysty (Flagellants) sect. Rasputin perverted Khlysty beliefs into the doctrine that one was nearest God when feeling “holy passionlessness” and that the best way to reach such a state was through the sexual exhaustion that came after prolonged debauchery. Rasputin did not become a monk. He returned to Pokrovskoye, and at age 19 married Proskovya Fyodorovna Dubrovina, who later bore him four children. Marriage did not settle Rasputin. He left home and wandered to Mount Athos, Greece, and Jerusalem, living off the peasants’ donations and gaining a reputation as a starets (self-proclaimed holy man) with the ability to heal the sick and predict the future.

Rasputin’s wanderings took him to St. Petersburg (1903), where he was welcomed by Theophan, inspector of the religious Academy of St. Petersburg, and Hermogen, bishop of Saratov. The court circles of St. Petersburg at that time were entertaining themselves by delving into mysticism and the occult, so Rasputin—a filthy, unkempt wanderer with brilliant eyes and allegedly extraordinary healing talents—was warmly welcomed. In 1905 Rasputin was introduced to the royal family, and in 1908 he was summoned to the palace of Nicholas and Alexandra during one of their hemophiliac son’s bleeding episodes. Rasputin succeeded in easing the boy’s suffering (probably by his hypnotic powers) and, upon leaving the palace, warned the parents that the destiny of both the child and the dynasty were irrevocably linked to him, thereby setting in motion a decade of Rasputin’s powerful influence on the imperial family and affairs of state.

In the presence of the royal family, Rasputin consistently maintained the posture of a humble and holy peasant. Outside court, however, he soon fell into his former licentious habits. Preaching that physical contact with his own person had a purifying and healing effect, he acquired mistresses and attempted to seduce many other women. When accounts of Rasputin’s conduct reached the ears of Nicholas, the tsar refused to believe that he was anything other than a holy man, and Rasputin’s accusers found themselves transferred to remote regions of the empire or entirely removed from their positions of influence.

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By 1911 Rasputin’s behaviour had become a general scandal. The prime minister, P.A. Stolypin, sent the tsar a report on Rasputin’s misdeeds. As a result, the tsar expelled Rasputin, but Alexandra had him returned within a matter of months. Nicholas, anxious not to displease his wife or endanger his son, upon whom Rasputin had an obviously beneficial effect, chose to ignore further allegations of wrongdoing.

Rasputin reached the pinnacle of his power at the Russian court after 1915. During World War I, Nicholas II took personal command of his forces (September 1915) and went to the troops on the front, leaving Alexandra in charge of Russia’s internal affairs, while Rasputin served as her personal advisor. Rasputin’s influence ranged from the appointment of church officials to the selection of cabinet ministers (often incompetent opportunists), and he occasionally intervened in military matters to Russia’s detriment. Though supporting no particular political group, Rasputin was a strong opponent of anyone opposing the autocracy or himself.

Several attempts were made to take the life of Rasputin and save Russia from further calamity, but none were successful until 1916. Then a group of extreme conservatives, including Prince Feliks Yusupov (husband of the tsar’s niece), Vladimir Mitrofanovich Purishkevich (a member of the Duma), and Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich (the tsar’s cousin), formed a conspiracy to eliminate Rasputin and save the monarchy from further scandal. On the night of December 29–30 (December 16–17, Old Style), Rasputin was invited to visit Yusupov’s home and, once there, was given poisoned wine and tea cakes. When he did not die, the frantic Yusupov shot him. Rasputin collapsed but was able to run out into the courtyard, where Purishkevich shot him again. The conspirators then bound him and threw him through a hole in the ice into the Neva River, where he finally died by drowning.

The murder merely strengthened Alexandra’s resolve to uphold the principle of autocracy, but a few weeks later the whole imperial regime was swept away by revolution.

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Naturally, the reason Rasputin has anything to do with beer, is that Mark Ruedrich, the founder of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, California, named his imperial stout after the “mad monk,” and his Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout has become a classic beer, one of the earliest examples of what’s become a very popular style of beer, and, frankly, is still one of the best tasting.

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For one of my newspaper columns, in the Fall of 2012, I wrote about imperial stouts, and below is an excerpt from that, the part that tells the story of North Coast’s Old Rasputin:

Happily, you don’t have to go as far as Russia, or even England, to find an imperial stout. We’re very lucky that one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts brewed anywhere is made in nearby Fort Bragg. North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was also one of the first brewed in America, and was most likely the second (after Bert Grant’s Imperial Stout), which makes it the oldest one still being made. I visited the Fort Bragg brewery last week and watched the latest batch of Old Rasputin being bottled, as I spoke to founder Mark Ruedrich about his beer.

When they opened in 1988, North Coast had a terrific stout they called Old No. 38. But a few years later, Ruedrich decided he wanted to do something different, and noticed that almost nobody else was making the style. Grant’s version also included honey, which is not a traditional ingredient for the style. So he set to work brewing an authentic version of the style, which by that time was even nearly gone in England, too, with very few still making it.

Shortly before its 1994 debut at the pub, Tom Dalldorf, publisher of the “Celebrator Beer News,” happened to be in town visiting the brewery. He recalls Ruedrich handing him a glass and saying. “Here’s a new beer I’m about to release.” Dalldorf recalls seeing its inky black color and asking “don’t you already make a stout?” Mark responded with something like “this is different, just try it.” Like most of us, Tom immediately fell in love with it.

The beer has a definite “wow factor” from the very first sip, with gorgeous milk chocolate, roasted coffee notes and warming sweet flavors from its 9% a.b.v. It’s as bold as they come and infinitely complex, an ever-lasting gobstopper of a beer. It also enjoys near perfect balance. It’s a sipping beer, and changes as it warms in your glass. It’s a not a beer for a pint glass, you’ll want a snifter to get the full aromas of the beer as you slowly sip it by the fire.

One additional fun fact: on the label of Old Rasputin in a quote written in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet. Translated, it’s apparently a traditional Russian saying, or proverb: “a sincere friend is not born instantly.” But if you’re a fan of big beers, you’re love for this beer will almost certainly be instantaneous. For even bigger flavors, if that’s possible, try North Coast’s Old Rasputin XIV, which is their imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.

The cyrillic text on the label is taken from an old Russian proverb. “A sincere friend is not born instantly.”

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The label also features part of a well-known photograph of Rasputin. And while you find it all over the internet, its origin seems unknown, or at least widely uncredited.

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The Smithsonian published a story on the 100th anniversary of his death a few years ago, entitled The Murder of Rasputin, 100 Years Later:

The holy man is he who takes your soul and will and makes them his. When you choose your holy man, you surrender your will. You give it to him in utter submission, in full renunciation.” – Feodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

The murder of Rasputin, Russia’s infamous “Mad Monk,” is the fodder for a great historical tale that blends fact and legend. But the death of the controversial holy man and faith healer had a combustible effect on the tense state of affairs in pre-revolution Russia. Rasputin was killed on December 30, 1916 (December 17 in the Russian calendar in use at the time), in the basement of the Moika Palace, the Saint Petersburg residence of Prince Felix Yussupov, the richest man in Russia and the husband of the Czar’s only niece, Irina. His battered body was discovered in the Neva River a few days later.

In the decade prior, Rasputin had risen rapidly through Russian society, starting as an obscure Siberian peasant-turned-wandering-holy-man and then becoming one of the most prominent figures in the Czar’s inner circle. Born in 1869 in the village of Pokrovskoye, on the Tura river that flows eastward from the Ural Mountains, where Europe meets Asia in Siberia. He seemed destined for an ordinary life, despite a few conflicts in his youth with local authorities for unruly behavior. He married a local woman, Praskovya Dubrovina, became the father of three surviving children, Maria, Dmitri and Varvara, and worked on his family’s farm.

Rasputin’s life changed in 1892, when he spent months at a monastery, putting him on the path to international renown. Despite his later nickname, “The Mad Monk,” Rasputin never took Holy Orders. Men in Rasputin’s position usually gave up their past lives and relationships but Rasputin continued to see his family – his daughters later lived with him in Saint Petersburg – and support his wife financially.

His religious fervor, combined with an appealing personal charisma, brought Rasputin to the attention of some Russian Orthodox clergymen and then senior members of the Imperial family, who then introduced him to Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra.

Nicholas wrote to one of his ministers in October 1906, “A few days ago I received a peasant from the Tobolsk district, Grigori Rasputin, who brought me an icon of St. Simon Verkhoturie. He made a remarkably strong impression both on Her Majesty and on myself, so that instead of five minutes our conversation went on for more than an hour.”

The Imperial couple had consulted unconventional spiritual advisors in the past, but Rasputin filled this role by his ability to read their inner hopes and tell them what they wanted to hear. He encouraged Nicholas to have more confidence in his role as czar, and Alexandra found that his counsel soothed her anxieties. By the First World War, Rasputin was also providing political advice and making recommendations for ministerial appointments, much to the dismay of the Russian elite.

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Rasputin cemented his relationship with the czar and czarina when he supposedly helped alleviate their only son Alexei’s hemophilia. Rasputin’s alleged healing powers continue to be debated today. The Czar’s sister, Grand Duchess Olga, wrote that she observed Rasputin healing Alexei by kneeling at the foot of his bed and praying; the calming atmosphere that he created in the palace may have assisted with the recovery. Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting, Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, thought that Rasputin employed peasant folk medicine used in Siberian villages to treat internal bleeding in horses.

Historians continue to debate Rasputin’s impact on Alexei’s health. In his 2016 book, Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanovs, Douglas Smith observes, “Rasputin’s assurances calmed the anxious, fretful mother and filled her with unshakeable confidence, and she, in turn, transferred this confidence to her ailing son, literally willing him back to health.” In addition to increasing confidence in recovery, a key variable may have been Rasputin’s insistence that doctors keep away from Alexei. Medical knowledge was still sparse, even though drugs like aspirin were available for treatment. Unfortunately for Alexei, aspirin, considered a cure-all remedy, had the then-unknown side effect of thinning the blood, which would have exacerbated hemophilia symptoms. French historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse argued that when Rasputin insisted that remedies prescribed by the doctors be thrown in the fire, the discarded medicine likely would have included aspirin. Rasputin’s insistence that the doctors leave him alone would have improved his condition and appeared to create a miraculous improvement in his symptoms.

Rasputin presented himself in the Imperial Court as holy man, despite no formal affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church, and spoke as a self-appointed representative of the peasantry, but his behavior away from court offered a different portrait. His drunkenness and affairs with women of all social backgrounds, from street prostitutes to society ladies, scandalized the public. Rasputin appeared to bask in his fame, showing off shirts embroidered for him by the Empress and inviting her friends and servants to his home in Prokovskoye. (Rasputin’s wife appeared untroubled by his infidelities, commenting “He has enough for all.”)

The press, unshackled thanks to rights granted to them by Nicholas II in 1905, spread lurid tales about Rasputin both within Russia and abroad. Rumors about Rasputin’s influence over the Czarist regime spread throughout Europe. Petitioners, believing that Rasputin lived with the Imperial family, mailed their requests to “Rasputin, Czar’s palace, Saint Petersburg.”

Soldiers on World War I’s Eastern front spoke of Rasputin having an intimate affair with Alexandra, passing it off as common knowledge without evidence. As the war progressed, outlandish stories expanded to include Rasputin’s supposed treason with the German enemy, including a fantastical tale that he sought to undermine the war effort by starting a cholera epidemic in Saint Petersburg with “poisoned apples imported from Canada.” What the public thought they knew about Rasputin had a greater impact than his actual views and activities, fueling demands that he be removed from his position of influence by any means necessary.

Until he murdered Rasputin, Felix Yussupov lived a comparatively aimless life of privilege. One of Nicholas II’s daughters, also named Grand Duchess Olga, worked as a nurse during the war and criticized Yussupov’s refusal to enlist, writing to her father, “Felix is a ‘downright civilian,’ dressed all in brown…virtually doing nothing; an utterly unpleasant impression he makes – a man idling in such times.” Plotting Rasputin’s murder gave Yussupov the opportunity to reinvent himself as a patriot and man of action, determined to protect the throne from a malign influence.

For Yussupov and his co-conspirators, the removal of Rasputin could give Nicholas II one last chance of restoring the reputation and prestige of the monarchy. With Rasputin gone, the czar would be more open to the advice of his extended family, the nobility and the Duma and less dependent on Alexandra. There was hope that he would return from military headquarters and once again govern from Saint Petersburg.

The most well-known account of Rasputin’s murder was the one that Yussupov wrote in his memoirs, published in 1928. Yussupov claimed to have invited Rasputin to his palace to meet his wife Irina (who was in fact away at the time) and then served him a platter of cakes and numerous glasses of wine laced with potassium cyanide. To Yussupov’s astonishment, Rasputin appeared to be unaffected by the poison. A desperate Yussupov borrowed the revolver of the Grand Duke Dmitri, the czar’s cousin, and shot Rasputin multiple times, but was still unable to kill him. According to the memoir, “This devil who was dying of poison, who had a bullet in his heart, must have been raised from the dead by the powers of evil. There was something appalling and monstrous in his diabolical refusal to die.” There was reputedly water in his lungs when his remains were discovered, indicating that he had finally died by drowning.

Yussupov’s account of Rasputin’s murder entered popular culture. The lurid scene was dramatized in numerous films about Rasputin and the Romanovs and even made it into a 1970s disco hit by Boney M., which included the lyrics “They put some poison into his wine…He drank it all and said, ‘I feel fine.’”

Rasputin’s actual murder was probably far less dramatic. His daughter Maria, who fled Russia after the Revolution and became a circus lion tamer billed as “the daughter of the famous mad monk whose feats in Russia astonished the world,” wrote her own book in 1929 that condemned Yussupov’s actions and questioned the veracity of his account. She wrote that her father did not like sweets and never would have eaten a platter of cakes. The autopsy reports do not mention poison or drowning but instead conclude that he was shot in the head at close range. Yussupov transformed the murder into an epic struggle of good versus evil to sell books and bolster his own reputation.

The responses from the public were mixed, reflecting Rasputin’s checkered reputation. The elite, from whence Yussupov and his co-conspirators came, rejoiced and applauded the killers when they appeared in public. The peasantry mourned Rasputin as one of their own, seeing the murder as one more example of the nobility controlling the Czar; when a peasant rose to a position of influence with the Czar, he was murdered by wealthy men.

To the dismay of Yussupov and his co-conspirators, Rasputin’s murder did not lead to a radical change in Nicholas and Alexandra’s polities. To the emergent Bolsheviks, Rasputin symbolized the corruption at the heart of the Imperial court, and his murder was seen, rather accurately, as an attempt by the nobility to hold onto power at the continued expense of the proletariat. To them, Rasputin represented the broader problems with czarism. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Provisional Government leader Alexander Kerensky went so far as to say, “Without Rasputin there would have been no Lenin.”

And, apropos of nothing, there’s apparently a commercial vodka called “Rasputin.”

Rasputin-vodka

Historic Beer Birthday: Samuel Whitbread II

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Today is the birthday of Samuel Whitbread II (January 18, 1764-July 6, 1815). Despite being the son of Whitbread Brewery founder Samuel Whitbread, he is most remember for being a politician. According to Wikipedia:

Whitbread was born in Cardington, Bedfordshire, the son of the brewer Samuel Whitbread. He was educated at Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford and St John’s College, Cambridge, after which he embarked on a European ‘Grand Tour’, visiting Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Prussia, France and Italy. He returned to England in May 1786 and joined his father’s successful brewing business.

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“Samuel Whitbread Esqr. M.P.” by Samuel William Reynolds after John Opie, 1804. This is the painting’s description. “A fine full length, seated portrait of the brewer, philanthropist and Whig politician Samuel Whitbread (1758-1815). He sits at his desk, wearing a dark suit and hessian boots, before an open window, his hand resting on a piece of paper. In the background is a draped curtain and on the floor is a pile of books.”

For over two decades he was a Member of Parliament:

Whitbread was elected Member of Parliament for Bedford in 1790, a post he held for twenty-three years. Whitbread was a reformer — a champion of religious and civil rights, for the abolition of slavery, and a proponent of a national education system. He was a close friend and colleague of Charles James Fox. After Fox’s death, Whitbread took over the leadership of the Whigs, and in 1805 led the campaign to have Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, removed from office.

Whitbread admired Napoleon and his reforms in France and Europe. He hoped that many of Napoleon’s reforms would be implemented in Britain. Throughout the Peninsular War he played down French defeats convinced that sooner or later Napoleon would triumph, and he did all he could to bring about a withdrawal of Britain from the continent. When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 he was devastated. Whitbread began to suffer from depression, and on the morning of 6 July 1815, he committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.

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This portrait of Whitbread was done in 1806.

Bedfordshire Genealogy and History has a fuller biography of Samuel Whitbread 2nd:

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Samuel Whitbread, the son of the brewer Samuel Whitbread, and Harriet Hayton, was born in Cardington, Bedfordshire in 1758. His mother died when he was a child and his father took great care over his only son. When Samuel was sent to Eton he was accompanied by his own private tutor. Samuel continued his education at Christ Church, Oxford and St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he met his lifelong friend, Charles Grey.

After university Samuel Whitbread sent his son on a tour of Europe, under the guidance of the historian, William Coxe. This included visits to Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Prussia, France and Italy. When Samuel returned in May 1786, he joined his father running the extremely successful family brewing business.

In 1789 Samuel Whitbread married Elizabeth Grey, the sister of Charles Grey. The two men were deeply interested in politics. Grey was already MP for Northumberland and in 1790 Whitbread was elected MP for Bedford. In the House of Commons, Whitbread and Grey became followers of Charles Fox, the leader of the Radical Whigs.

Whitbread soon emerged in Parliament as a powerful critic of the Tory Prime Minister, William Pitt. A passionate supporter of reform, Whitbread argued for an extension of religious and civil rights, an end to the slave-trade, and the establishment of a national education system.

In April 1792, Whitbread joined with a group of pro-reform Whigs to form the Friends of the People. Three peers (Lord Porchester, Lord Lauderdale and Lord Buchan) and twenty-eight Whig MPs joined the group. Other leading members included Charles Grey, Richard Sheridan, Major John Cartwright, Lord John Russell,George Tierney, and Thomas Erskine. The main objective of the the society was to obtain “a more equal representation of the people in Parliament” and “to secure to the people a more frequent exercise of their right of electing their representatives”. Charles Fox was opposed to the formation of this group as he feared it would lead to a split the Whig Party.

On 30th April 1792, Charles Grey introduced a petition in favour of constitutional reform. He argued that the reform of the parliamentary system would remove public complaints and “restore the tranquillity of the nation”. He also stressed that the Friends of the People would not become involved in any activities that would “promote public disturbances”. Although Charles Fox had refused to join the Friends of the People, in the debate that followed, he supported Grey’s proposals. When the vote was taken, Grey’s proposals were defeated by 256 to 91 votes.

In 1793 Samuel Whitbread toured the country making speeches on the need for parliamentary reform. He encouraged people to sign petitions at his meetings and when he returned to London they were presented to Parliament. Whitbread also campaigned on behalf of agricultural labourers. In the economic depression of 1795, Whitbread advocated the payment of higher wages. When Whitbread introduced his minimum wage bill to the House of Commons in December 1795 it was opposed by William Pitt and his Tory government and was easily defeated.

Whitbread was a strong supporter of a negotiated peace with France and supported Fox’s calls to send a government minister to Paris. Whitbread argued for Catholic Emancipation and opposed the act for the suppression of rebellion in Ireland. His friend, Samuel Romilly, said that Whitbread was “the promoter of every liberal scheme for improving the condition of mankind, the zealous advocate of the oppressed, and the undaunted opposer of every species of corruption and ill-administration.”

In 1807 Samuel Whitbread proposed a new Poor Law. His scheme not only involved an increase in the financial help given to the poor, but the establishment of a free educational system. Whitbread proposed that every child between the ages of seven and fourteen who was unable to pay, should receive two years’ free education. The measure was seen as too radical and was easily defeated in the House of Commons.

Whitbread refused to be disillusioned by his constant defeats and during the next few years he made more speeches in the House of Commons than any other member. Sometimes his attacks on George III and his ministers were considered to be too harsh, even by his closest political friends.

Unable to persuade Parliament to accept his ideas, Whitbread used his considerable fortune (his father, Samuel Whitbread had died in 1796) to support good causes. Whitbread gave generous financial help to establish schools for the poor. An advocate of the monitorial system developed by Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster, he helped fund the Royal Lancasterian Society that had the objective of establishing schools that were not controlled by the Church of England.

When the Whigs gained power in 1806, Whitbread expected the Prime Minister, Lord Grenville, to offer him a place in his government. He was deeply disappointed when this did not happen. Some claimed it was because Whitbread was too radical. Others suggested it was due to snobbery and the aristocrats in the party disapproved of a tradesman entering the cabinet.

After this rejection, Whitbread consoled himself with his involvement in the Drury Lane Theatre. In 1809 the theatre was destroyed by fire. Already over £500,000 in debt, the theatre was in danger of going out of business. Whitbread became chairman of the committee set up to rebuild the theatre. With the help of his political friends, Whitbread managed to raise the necessary funds and the Drury Lane Theatre was reopened on 10th October, 1812.

In 1815 Whitbread began to suffer from depression. Over the years he had been upset by the way he was portrayed by the political cartoonists such as, James Gillray and George Cruikshank. He also began to worry about the brewery business and the way he was treated in the House of Commons. After one debate in June he told his wife: “They are hissing me. I am become an object of universal abhorrence.” On the morning of 6th June 1815, Samuel Whitbread committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.

And if that’s not enough, the “Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 61″ also includes a biography and Encyclopedia.com has an overview of the company, as does AIM25.

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This is a political cartoon featuring Samuel Whitbread entitled “The Brewer and the Thistle.” It was drawn by James Sayers, and published by Hannah Humphrey, June 26, 1805. The people in the cartoon include Charles James Fox (1749-1806), James Maitland Lauderdale (1759-1839), William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Sir Home Riggs Popham (1762-1820), Samuel Whitbread (1758-1815) and Henry Dundas Melville (1742-1811). While I’m sure you need to be a historian specializing in this period of British history, the Royal Collection Trust gives this description. “Whitbeard in costume of beer casks, attacks thistle with Melville’s head. (r) alehouse; Fox and Launderdale (in tartan) laugh. Wilberforce leans out of window dressed as Puritan. (l) blunderbuss fired at sign of St.Vicent.”

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Finally, here’s the Whitbread Brewery on Chiswell Street in London as it appeared around 1900.

Patent No. 5077061A: Method Of Making Alcohol-Free Beer

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Today in 1991, US Patent 5077061 A was issued, an invention of Christian Zurcher and Rudiger Gruss, assigned to Binding-Brauerei Ag, for their “Method of Making Alcohol-Free or Nearly Alcohol-Free Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

A method of producing an alcohol-free or low alcohol beer comprising thermally breaking malt draff to obtain a malt draff mash from a substrate selected from the group consisting of a full- or a high-alcohol content beer brewing base or a protein fraction obtained from malt draff by digesting, boiling or autoclaving during the production of edible draff meal in a draff mash. The method homogenizes, extrudes and mechanically removes insoluble chaff from the brewing base prior to thermally breaking up the malt draff, cooling the malt draff mash to about 72° C., emzymatically breaking up the malt draff mash by adding coarsely ground malt, heating the mash to 80°-85° C., adding thereto coarsely ground malt premashed in cold water to produce a wort with a final fermentation degree of at most 60% and a temperature of 70°-74° C., which is maintained until iodine normality is attained and subjecting the iodine normal mash to mashing.

I’ve visited the brewery in Frankfurt, and done several blind panel tastings of N/A beer, and Clausthaler consistently comes in at our near the top. Also, it was our best-selling non-alcoholic when I was the chain beer buyer at BevMo. too.
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Patent No. 2818185A: Dispenser Truck Body For Beer Kegs

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Today in 1957, US Patent 2818185 A was issued, an invention of Carl F. Mickey and Lawrence E. Mickey, for their “Dispenser Truck Body For Beer Kegs.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

The primary object of the present invention resides in the provision of a dispenser truck body for beer kegs to facilitate loading and unloading of beer kegs by loading and unloading from the outside by means of racks and a chain to control and release the beer kegs.

A further object of the invention resides in the provision of a truck body which is so arranged as to enable beer kegs to be placed in the truck body through a raised opening and which will permit the dispensing of the beer kegs in a convenient manner with complete control so that the beer kegs may be removed or replaced with a minimum possibility of accidents which may result in injuries to persons loading or unloading the beer kegs.

An additional object of the present invention resides in the provision of means for lowering either full or empty beer kegs whereby the empty beer kegs may be quickly lowered by means of a spring mechanism yet which includes a shock absorbing means for slowly and safely lowering full beer kegs.

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Patent No. 3486512A: Fluid Transport Line Cleaning Device And System

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Today in 1969, US Patent 3486512 A was issued, an invention of Anthony Marino, for his “Fluid Transport Line Cleaning Device and System.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

Fluid transport line cleaning device and system inclusive of upright container having inlets for passing cleaning material and water into container for mixing in container and outlet for delivering mixture from container under pressure. Pipe having valve controlled outlets and line couplings for selectively passing mixture from container through fluid transport lines coupled thereto such as syrup lines and beer lines having tap rods and associated faucets at bar counter locations. Portion of pipe for beer lines being rigid and arranged for wall mounting at bar counter for supporting a portion of pipe and container in upright position.

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Patent No. 2919193A: Process Of Preventing Haze Formation In Beverages

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Today in 1959, US Patent 2919193 A was issued, an invention of Harry J. Sandell, for his “Process of Preventing Haze Formation in Beverages.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

The present invention relates to a method of reducing or preventing formation of hazes in fermented or unfermented beverages produced from cereals, fruits, other vegetable materials or parts thereof, and especially in malt beverages, e.g. beer, and in fruit juices and wines.

The present invention is based upon the surprising discovery that it is possible to prevent the formation of a haze in beverages such as, for instance, malt beverages, fruit juices and wines, by the addition of polyvinyl pyrrolidone or a homologue thereof in an excess over the above-mentioned quantity, i.e. 0 to 8 g. per hectolitre, which is necessary for maximum precipitation of the haze forming constituents. The process of the instant invention thus comprises adding polyvinyl pyrrolidone in a total quantity of at least 1 g. per hectolitre and in any case in an excess quantity of at least 50% over that needed for maximum precipitation. The stated lower limit 0 g. per hectolitre for the quantity of PVP that is needed for maximum precipitation either refers to the case (1) in which PVP having an average molecular weight of below about 15,000 is used and thus cannot form any precipitate or refers to the case (2) in which the kind or quality of beverage, e.g. beer, used does not give any precipitate with PVP even if the average molecular weight of the PVP used is above about 15,000. In the first-mentioned case, i.e. WhenP having a lower average molecular weight than 15,000 is used, it has been found, that a good result is obtained if the treatment with PVP is carried out according to the above-mentioned invention, i.e. by adding at least 1 g. of PVP per hectolitre. In the second case there is also obtained a good result if to the beverage there is added at least 1 g. of’PVP independent of its average molecular weight. While thus an excess of’P-VP of 1 g. per hectolitre might be considered as usable it has been found that when using PVP of an average molecular weight below about 15,000 or above about 15,000 it is suitable to add totally at least 5 grams of PVP per hectolitre provided that there is added at least 50% in excess over the quantity of PVP of’O to 8 grams per hectolitre that is needed for maximum precipitation of the haze forming-constituents with the PVP in question.

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Patent No. 2065949A: Beer Cooling And Dispensing System

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Today in 1936, US Patent 2065949 A was issued, an invention of Harry J. Sandell, for his “Beer Cooling and Dispensing System.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

The invention relates to a beer cooling and dispensing system, and has for its object to simplify and improve the efficiency of drawing beer from a storage refrigerator at one point and a dispensing 5 outlet at another.

The chief object of the invention is to provide a combination of devices adapted to contain an enclosed circulating and cooling medium, for the purpose of maintaining a uniform low temperature along a dispensing pipe contained therein.

Explanation In beer cooling and dispensing, the beer storage refrigerator is usually placed in the basement or some other convenient place that requires considerable piping and a coil to carry the beer and cool it from the storage refrigerator to the counter dispensing coil box. When this system is used, the beer leaves the cold refrigerator and runs exposed, then enters the iced coil, but due to the different go and uneven temperatures along the line of draught the beer cannot be drawn or controlled at the faucet without considerable waste.

US2065949-0

Patent No. WO2000078665A1: Beer Container

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Today in 2000, US Patent WO 2000078665 A1 was issued, an invention of William Field Warwick, assigned to Carlton and United Breweries, for his “Beer Container.” Here’s the Abstract:

A beer container comprises an inner hollow shell (11) of blow moulded PET to hold beer, an outer hollow shell (12) of moulded high density polyethylene enclosing and supporting the inner shell and a spear structure (13) including a dispenser tube (14) extending from a bottom interior region of the inner shell (11) through to a dispensing outlet (16) at the top of the outer shell (12). Spear structure (13) incorporates valves (25, 26) for supply of pressurising gas into the interior of inner shell (11) and for dispensing beer through the dispensing outlet (16), both valves being formed of PET. When the container has been emptied of beer, the outer shell (12) can readily be separated from the inner shell (11) and spear structure (13) to allow separate recycling of the high density polyethylene material and the PET material.

US2000078665

Patent No. 596366A: Stopper Fastener

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Today in 1897, US Patent 596366 A was issued, an invention of Robert S. Graham, for his “Stopper Fastener.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to a new and useful improvement in devices for holding corks in bottles, the object being to utilize the expansion of the contents of a bottle as an active medium to lock the fastener in position.

The object of my invention is to provide a non-expansible fastener, which is to be inserted loosely in position on the cork in the neck of the bottle manually or by machine, as desired, after which no further manipulation thereof is required, the contents of the bottle expanding and forcing the cork outwardly and locking the fastener and the cork in place. When the fastener has been locked in place, it willy firmly hold the cork against further outward movement, and by providing a hole in the fastener a corkscrew may be inserted to remove the cork, which can easily be done, or the fastener may be first pulled out of place by the introduction of the end of a corkscrew or other instrument thereunder and the cork subsequently removed.

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Patent No. 2141221A: Beer Drawing And Cooling System

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Today in 1938, US Patent 2141221 A was issued, an invention of John Panagopoulos, for his “Beer Drawing and Cooling System.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to a beer drawing and cooling system.

The principal object of this invention is the provision a beer drawing and cooling system formed in a compact unit.

A further object of this invention is the provision of refrigeration coils formed as a part of the beer drawing and cooling system.

A further object is the provision of a beer drawing and cooling system provided with means for circulating a cooling agent through a plurality of beer kegs each having a heat exchanging device incorporated therein.

A still further object is the provision of a beer drawing and cooling system designed to convey beer or similar beverages from the keg to the dispensing spigot, and cool it at the same time.

The beer drawing and cooling system shown and described in this application has been designed so as to form as simple and compact a unit as possible, the entire system being self contained, with of course the exception of a refrigerant compressor which can be readily positioned along side of the unit when in operation. The unit has been designed to cool and dispense beer or similar beverages from one or more kegs as desired, and is particularly adapted for multiple keg installations utilizing kegs of the kind described above.

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