Historic Beer Birthday: Anton Schwarz

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Today is the birthday of Anton Schwarz (February 2, 1839-September 24, 1895). In addition to having studied law, he also became a chemist and worked for several breweries in Budapest, before moving to the U.S. in 1868. Moving to New York, he got a job working for the magazine/journal American Brewer, which at the time was more like the People magazine of the brewing industry. He was quickly promoted to editor, eventually buying the publication. He turned it into a serious scientific journal, writing many of the articles himself, but is credited with helping the entire industry improve its standards and processes.

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Here’s his entry from the Jewish Encyclopedia, published in 1906.

Austrian chemist; born at Polna, Bohemia, Feb. 2, 1839; died at New York city Sept. 24, 1895. He was educated at the University of Vienna, where he studied law for two years, and at the Polytechnicum, Prague, where he studied chemistry. Graduating in 1861, he went to Budapest, and was there employed at several breweries. In 1868 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York city. The following year he was employed on “Der Amerikanische Bierbrauer” (“The American Brewer”) and soon afterward became its editor. A few years later he bought the publication, remaining its editor until his death. He did much to improve the processes of brewing in the United States, and in 1880 founded in New York city the Brewers’ Academy of the United States.

Schwarz’s eldest son, Max Schwarz (b. in Budapest July 29, 1863; d. in New York city Feb. 7, 1901), succeeded him as editor of “The American Brewer” and principal of the Brewers’ Academy. He studied at the universities of Erlangen and Breslau and at the Polytechnic High School at Dresden. In 1880 he followed his father to the United States and became associated with him in many of his undertakings.

Both as editor and as principal of the academy he was very successful. Many of the essays in “The American Brewer,” especially those on chemistry, were written by him. He was a great advocate of the “pure beer” question in America.

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When the United States Brewers’ Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary, in 1913, there was a ball where several alumni gave speeches and toasts, mentioning Schwarz’ contributions, including this from Gallus Thomann from Germany:

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He also co-wrote the Theory and Practice of the Preparation of Malt and the Fabrication of Beer

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Beer Advocate also has a nice story of Schwarz, entitled the O.G. Beer Geek.

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Beer Birthday: Conrad Seidl

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Today is the 57th birthday of Austrian beer writer Conrad Seidl. Our paths have crossed several times over the years, usually at judging events, and we’ve also contributed to some of the same international beer books. But during a press trip to Belgium in 2013, I finally had a chance to spend more time with Conrad and get to know him a bit better, which was great. He’s an amazing person — absolutely one-of-a-kind — and great fun to enjoy a beer with. Join me in wishing Conrad a very happy birthday.

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Conrad, with Stephen Beaumont, me and Michelle Wang, during a beer dinner in Antwerp last December.

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Roger Protz and Conrad, in Belgium, 2013.

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A press photo of Conrad and the 2014 edition of his “Bier Guide.”

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And it’s hard not to love this animated gif.

Austria Beer

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Today in 1955, Austria had their sovereignty restored.

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Austria Breweries

Austria Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: Verband der Brauereien Österreichs (Brewers Association of Austria)

National Regulatory Agency: Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW)

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: See European Union Regulations

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.05% [Note: 0.01% for drivers who have held a licence for less than 2 years and drivers of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes]

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  • Full Name: Republic of Austria
  • Location: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
  • Government Type: Federal Republic
  • Language: German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3%
  • Religion(s): Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, unspecified 2%, none 12%
  • Capital: Vienna
  • Population: 8,219,743; 94th
  • Area: 83,871 sq km, 114th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than Maine
  • National Food: Tafelspitz, Wiener Schnitzel
  • National Symbol: Eagle (Bundesadler); Edelweiss; Black Eagle wearing broken chains
  • Affiliations: UN, EU
  • Independence: Restoration of sovereignty, October 26, 1955, celebrated as a National Day, commemorating the passage of the law on permanent neutrality / Republic proclaimed, November 12, 1918 / Margravate of Austria established, 976 / Duchy of Austria founded, September 17, 1156 / Austrian Empire proclaimed, August 11, 1804

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  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 16 (18 for distilled beverages in some areas {Note: Upper Austria, Salzburg and Tirol prohibit the consumption of distilled beverages below the age of 18, while Carinthia and Styria prohibit drinks containing more than 12% or 14% of alcohol respectively in this age bracket. Carinthia also requires adolescents to maintain a blood alcohol level below 0.05%, Upper Austria prohibits “excessive consumption”, and Salzburg prohibits consumption that would result in a state of intoxication. Prohibitions in Vienna, Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vorarlberg apply only to alcohol consumption in public. Vienna also prohibits the consumption of alcohol in schools by those under the age of 18.]
  • BAC: 0.05%
  • Number of Breweries: 119

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  • How to Say “Beer”: bier
  • How to Order a Beer: Ein Bier, bitte
  • How to Say “Cheers”: Auf ihr wohl / Prosit
  • Toasting Etiquette: Traditionally, the host of the meal or event will initiate proceedings with a toast. Until then, no one should raise a glass. The host will lift his or her glass while making eye contact with the most senior guest and say Prost! The guest of honor should reply with a toast of thanks at the end of the meal or event.

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Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 53%
  • Wine: 32%
  • Spirits: 13%
  • Other: 2%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 12.60
  • Unrecorded: 0.64
  • Total: 13.24
  • Beer: 6.70

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 12.6 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Stable
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 16
  • Sales Restrictions: Intoxicated persons
  • Advertising Restrictions: Yes
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: No

Patterns of Drinking Score: 1

Prohibition: None

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Beer In Art #135: Michael Pacher’s Mary Of Burgundy

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This week’s work of art is by an Austrian artist, Michael Pacher, who painted this portrait of Mary of Burgundy in 1490.

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Mary of Burgundy “ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477-1482. As the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she was the heiress to the vast Burgundian domains in France and the Low Countries upon her father’s death. Her mother died in 1465, but Mary was on very good terms with her stepmother Margaret of York, whom Charles married in 1468.”

But today, for the beer lover at least, what Mary’s most famous for is that the Flanders red ale, Duchesse de Bourgogne, from the Brouwerij Verhaeghe, is named for her though the label is a different painting of Mary.

Their importer, Specialty Beer, describes the beer like this:

DUCHESSE DE BOURGOGNE from Brouwerij Verhaeghe is the traditional Flemish red ale. This refreshing ale is matured in oak casks; smooth with a rich texture and interplay of passion fruit, and chocolate, and a long, dry and acidic finish. After the first and secondary fermentation, the beer goes for maturation into the oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blend of younger 8 months old beer with 18 months old beer. The average age of the Duchesse de Bourgogne before being bottled is 12 months.

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You can read Pacher’s biography at Wikipedia and there are more links about him at ArtCyclopedia. You can also see more of Pacher’s paintings at Artilim, Jitiky and the Web Gallery of Art.

Beer In Art #110: Hans Makart’s Five Senses

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This week’s work of art is not strictly beer-oriented, except that we use our fives senses, and in particular smell and taste, to create and enjoy the flavor of beer. It’s by the Austrian painter Hans Makart and it’s title is Die Fünf Sinne, or “The Five Senses.” The oil painting consists of five panels completed in 1879, though other sources claim he worked on it off and on from 1840 until 1884.

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Here’s a description of the painting from the Columbian World Exposition of 1893.

The five-paneled oil painting which is portrayed above was, on account of the notoriety of its author, one of the chief attractions of the Austrian galleries in the Art Palace. It was a study in the nude, showing five different views of an ideal female human form. The senses of Smelling, Seeing, Hearing, Feeling and Tasting are represented as in action, and in Tasting, Eve plucks the fruit from that forbidden tree “whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe with loss of Eden.” The sense of Feeling, on the other hand, flatters woman with a recognition of her principal attraction, the love of the young and the joy that comes with its touch. Hans Makart, the sensational Austrian painter, was born in 1840 and died in Venice in 1884.

Below are “Smell” and “Taste” shown a little bigger, since those are the two most important for tasting beer.

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You can see more of Makart’s paintings at the Art Renewal Center and also the Museum Syndicate.

Fucking Hell, I Need A Beer

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File this under news of the weird. According to the UK’s The Sun, the European Patent Office had to reverse their decision denying a company the right to produce a beer called Fucking Hell, when they were able to prove that Fucking is a real town in Austria. Or rather village, since there are only 104 people who live in Fucking, which is just 2-1/2 miles from the German border.

According to Wikipedia,

It is believed that the settlement was founded around the 6th century by Focko, a Bavarian nobleman. The existence of the village was documented for the first time in 1070 and historical records show that some twenty years later the lord was Adalpertus de Fucingin. The spelling of the name has evolved over the years; it is first recorded in historical sources with the spelling as Vucchingen in 1070, Fukching in 1303, Fugkhing in 1532, and in the modern spelling Fucking in the 18th century, which is pronounced with the vowel oo as in book. The ending -ing is an old Germanic suffix indicating the people of the root word to which it is attached; thus Fucking means “(place of) Focko’s people.”

Brewery spokesman Stefan Fellenberg said they plan to brew a Helles style beer. After years of trying on vain to keep people from stealing their town’s sign, and engaging in intercourse either in front of it or in town, the village instead decided to cash in instead. They may have gotten the idea from nearby Wank Mountain residents, who gave them some advice recently. Frankly, I can’t really blame them, though no doubt the U.S. will never give label approval. Guns and violence, yes. Sex, never. Even the Sun piece wouldn’t print either the word Fucking or Wank even though they’re legitimate place names. I’m constantly amazed at how utterly fearful we are about just … words.

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Here’s another humorous addition about the signs in the village. “One version of the sign features the village name with an additional sign beneath it, with the words “Bitte — nicht so schnell!”, which translates from German into English as “Please — not so fast!” The lower sign – which features an illustration of two children — is meant to inform drivers to watch their speed, but tourists see this as a double-meaning coupled with the village name.”