Patent No. DE2751778A1: Beer Piping Cleaning System

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Today in 1979, US Patent DE 2751778 A1 was issued, an invention of Heinz Stricker, for his “Beer Piping Cleaning System — with suction nozzle for disinfectant inserted in tap water circuit.” Here’s the Abstract:

A system for the cleaning out of piping between bar barrels and the taps in a bar consists of a hose which is coupled between a water tap and a beer tap and includes a suction nozzle. A beaker with a disinfectant is attached to the nozzle so that the flow of water entrains the disinfectant. The piping in the cellar is disconnected from the barrels and coupled together so that the fluid can rise to another beer tap and out into a sink. After a certain retention time the whole is flushed out with clean water. This provides a chemical cleaning in addition to the conventional sponge cleaning.

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Patent No. 821208A: Beer Glass Tray

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Today in 1906, US Patent 821208 A was issued, an invention of Friedrich Voss, for his “Beer Glass Tray.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This invention relates to a beer-glass tray which absorbs the drippings and conveys the same to a receiving-trough, so that cleanliness is insured.

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Portland’s Early Bars

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The city of Portland, Oregon was founded in 1845, incorporated on February 8, 1851, and the charter creating the city became effective April 6, 1851. In my regular searches, I’ve turned up a number of photos of early saloons, bars and taverns in Portland and it seemed like today was as good a day as any to share them.

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This is the Columbia Saloon, which served Henry Weinhard beer and had a bowling alley inside.

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The Fountain Saloon, also known as Hergert’s Saloon, was located E Union and Russell. Henry Elias Hergert Sr. (1876-1937) is shown behind the bar.

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The exterior of Hergert’s Saloon.

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Another view inside Hergert’s Saloon.

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The White Eagle Saloon, built in 1905. According to one source, it “was at once an opium den, bordello and wild watering hole, a trifecta that resulted in so many ugly bar fights that the place eventually earned the nickname ‘Bucket of Blood,'” and is considered haunted. “One spirit is blamed for most of the mischief: The ghost of Sam Warrick, an early White Eagle cook and bartender who spent his last days living above the bar. A ghost with a prankster side, he’s been known to toss large containers of mustard across the kitchen with great force, startling the cook who’s taken over his old post.”

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Inside the White Eagle, which is now operated by McMenamins.

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Erickson’s Saloon, built in the 1880s. Here’s a history of the place.

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Erickson’s card room.

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The Gem Saloon and Oro Fino Saloon and Theater, located on First Street between Oak and Stark, in 1876.

And finally, below is the Oregon Experience Documentary “Beervana,” about how beer culture has evolved in Portland. Happy Birthday Portland.

Patent No. 580303A: Apparatus For Cleaning Pipes

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Today in 1897, US Patent 580303 A was issued, an invention of Henry E. Bailey, for his “Apparatus For Cleaning Pipes.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

In using beer and other malted liquors there is found a tendency to the formation of slime and other offensive matter that is deposited therein by the liquid from which it emanates. This deposition will soon produce a cloudy appearance and objectionable taste in the liquid that flows through the pipe.

The object of my invention is to provide an apparatus that will chemically dissolve the slime and other depositions in the pipe and then, by a flow of clear water which passes through the apparatus,thoroughly cleanse the pipe of all improper matter and restore it to a condition of purity and cleanliness.

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Patent No. 4730463A: Beverage Dispenser Cooling System

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Today in 1988, US Patent 4730463 A was issued, an invention of Ted M. Stanfill, for his “Beverage Dispenser Cooling System.” Here’s the Abstract:

A beverage dispensing system further cools the beverage where it is dispensed at a considerable distance from the beverage storage container. The beverage conduit between the storage and dispensing sites is carried in a bundle located within an insulated jacket conduit. The bundle also contains parallel chilled liquid lines through which chilled liquid is circulated. A concentric coil is located at the dispensing site. A manifold connects the parallel beverage and chilled liquid lines to the concentric coil and to the dispensing valve.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Anthony J. McGowan

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Today is the birthday of Anthony J. McGowan (March 14, 1869-1932). McGowan was born in Ireland but came to America as a teenager, settling in Buffalo. New York, where he worked for and then owned his own tavern. He married Delia Maloney, and they together they had ten children, four sones and six daughters.

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Part of his story is told in Rushing the Growler: A History of Brewing and Drinking in Buffalo, by Stepehen R. Powell. In Chapter III: Was Buffalo the Saloon Capitol of the World?, there’s this:

The life history of A.J. McGowan

Born on the 14th of March- 1869- of Irish parents, at a little town called Grey Grove in the parish of Kilmihil County Clare Ireland.

Immigrated from that dear little country at the age of sixteen years and one month. and set sail for my adopted country on the good ship named the City of Chicago on the 19th day of May-1886-arrived at the harbor of NY several days later and was taken into old Castle Garden and remained there for a few hours until a friend called and took me out of there, and what a relief. He was in the liquor business in Brooklyn and naturally the first thing he done was take me in to a restaurant for a good dinner on the N. end of the Brooklyn Bridge… So we arrived at his place of business and stayed there for about one hour… he took me back to the saloon with him. He kept introducing me to all his customers as they came in… Near here (Buffalo) is where life started after a few days in NY I decided to make the trip to Buffalo, the grandest city in the world and after a few days I arrived at the old Erie Rail Road at Exchange and Michigan St. and was met at the station by a policeman named John Pyne who was known by all the tuff characters from Buffalo to San Francisco and he took me to my brothers home at Fulton and Chicago St. and after 2 weeks rest I applied for a job to Mr. Cunningham as a scooper better known now as grain forwarding.

I appealed to Mr. Kennedy for a job who at that time had charge of all the freight coming into the Port of Buffalo. Worked at that line for a few months and things started to get quiet on the water front and one afternoon we were sitting on a tow board at the end of the in Bound freight house and in a general conversation he asked me how I’d like a job bartending. I said anything would be better than what we were doing at the present time. With the result I started the next morning tending bar at-19-Main St. which at that time was one of the most prominent parts of Buffalo. [end of excerpt]

Later, Anthony J. McGowan was to become the manager of James Kennedy’s Seabreaze Hotel on “The Island” off the foot of Main St. In 1897, he opened his own tavern at 206 Elk Street near the corner of Smith St. Mr. McGowan quickly became involved in local politics, becoming Democratic General Committeeman in the First Ward shortly after his arrival Buffalo. His rise into local politics continued in 1908, when he was appointed to the Department of Markets by then Mayor J.N. Adam and served as assistant superintendent in charge of the Elk Street market for 31 years. He later worked in the same capacity at the Black Rock Market after the Elk St. market closed in 1939. McGowan’s life in Buffalo shows us a personal side of one of Buffalo’s most diverse industries.”

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McGowan, who was presumably a prominent member of Buffalo society, at least in Irish quarters, marched in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parades. In this photo, from the 1915 parade, he’s marked as #1. There’s more about the parade at the Buffalo News.

While unrelated, a book that was recommended to me by beer writer Michael Jackson was The Last Fine Time, by Verlyn Klinkenborg. It’s a fictional account of a family in the restaurant and bar business over several generations in Buffalo, New York.

Patent No. 5291004A: Card-Controlled Beverage Distribution System

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Today in 1994, US Patent 5291004 A was issued, an invention of Michael S. Frank and R. Patrick Garrett, for their “Card-Controlled Beverage Distribution System.” Here’s the Abstract:

A self-service beverage distribution system includes a piping network with refrigerated tubing for transporting beverages, such as beer, from at least one source to at least one output. A drinker purchases a magnetic card which represents a predetermined quantity of beer, and which specifies which beer sources the drinker can have access to. A flow meter measures how much beer the drinker dispenses, and the quantity of beer represented on the card is decreased accordingly.

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Brewers Association Poll Reveals Top 51 Favorite American Bars

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The Brewers Association‘s consumer website, CraftBeer.com, asked visitors to the site to choose their “favorite craft beer bar” in their home state by filling “out a short survey about what makes it so great including atmosphere, staff, beer selection and special events.” Over 9,000 people voted between August and December of last year. More of a popularity contest, so I’m not sure it’s fair to call them the 51 Best Beer Bars in America, but still the results are interesting. California’s top vote-getter was the Twisted Oak Tavern, in Agoura Hills. I confess I’ve never heard of it, but then Agoura Hills is in Southern California, in west L.A. County.

But I can name some pretty great beer bars in California, even quite a few in that part of the state with great reputations. How is this the best one in the state? It’s also a brewpub, sort of, although according to a newspaper article they refer to it as a “restaurant located at the former LAB Brewing Co. space in the Agoura Hills Town Center. The brewery continues to operate on the premises.” They seem to have a full bar, and of the thirty taps, eight of them are house beers, and the rest are mostly local, with another fourteen bottles and cans. But the original LAB Brewing Co. opened sometime around late 2011, and the new space — the one that is the best bar is California — opened March 25, 2015. That means it was open for four months when voting opened, and just nine months when it ended. I’m sure it’s a nice place, but I have a hard time believing it’s better than any number of great bars, like the Toronado (either one), The Trappist, Hamilton’s, Blue Palms Brewhouse, Beer Revolution, 38 Degrees, Urge, Naja’s, Stuffed Sandwich, O’Brien’s, Capitol Beer & Tap Room, Monk’s Kettle, Library Alehouse, Tony’s Darts Away, Boneyard Bistro, La Trappe, The Bistro, Blind Lady, Lucky Baldwin’s, Good Karma, Tiger Tiger, Father’s Office, ØL Beercafe, Barclay’s, Zeitgeist, Live Wire, The Good Hop, Taps, Harry’s Hofbrau, Congregation Ale House, Original Gravity Public House, The Surly Goat, The Hopyard, Jupiter, Lanesplitter and the Public House at AT&T Park, to rattle off a few that come to mind.

It’s not listed at all on Beer Advocate’s L.A. Beer Guide, suggesting there at least fifty better bars just in the L.A. area, let alone the state. In fact, it has no listing at all, though the now-closed LAB Brewing still does. The same is true for RateBeer, too, which similarly does not yet list the best beer bar in California, only its predecessor. So it’s too new for either of the premiere beer listing websites, but still got more votes than countless great beer bars in California. Not knowing how they got the most votes, or why, it’s hard not to consider ballot stuffing, or a campaign of getting people to vote for them. I hate to be so hard on a place I don’t know, but given how many California bars they appear to have bested in being voted the state’s best bar, it’s difficult to comprehend.

To be fair, the Falling Rock won Colorado, which I fully endorse, and the same with Saint Paul’s Happy Gnome, Asheville’s Thirsty Monk and Max’s in Baltimore. Unfortunately, I’m not as sure about many of the rest. Of the 51, only 11 have been open since at least the 1990s or earlier. A perplexing five of the bars on the list opened in 2015, and another three the year before, in 2014. A total of 25, or nearly half of the list, opened in 2010 or afterwards, meaning half of the best beer bars in America are around five or less years old. I’m sure it’s the curmudgeon in me, but that just doesn’t seem like enough time to build a reputation that you’re the best in your state. But despite my objections, congratulations to the bars who got the most votes. I’m sure they’re all worth visiting and enjoying a few beers.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Andrew MacElhone

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Today is the birthday of famed bartender Andrew MacElhone (February 8, 1923-September 16, 1996) whose father opened the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France in 1911.

It was originally founded by American jockey Tod Sloan, who so wanted to create the atmosphere of a New York saloon that he actually bought one in New York, had it dismantled, shipped to Paris and rebuilt it where it stands to day at 5 rue Daunou (Sank Roo Doe Noo). It’s original name was simply the New York Bar when it opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1911. Sloan initially hired a Scottish bartender from Dundee named Harry MacElhone to run it, who twelve years later bought the bar in 1923 and added his first name to it. Shortly after opening, it began attracting American expatriates and celebrities, including such “Lost Generation” writers as F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. George Gershwin supposedly wrote “An American In Paris” there, and it has been visited by many movie stars over the years, from Humphrey Bogart to Clint Eastwood. In the book Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s character Bond said it the best place in Paris to get a “solid drink.” It’s also where the Bloody Mary was first conceived, as well as the White Lady and the Sidecar.

Andrew started working in the bar in 1939, when he was 16, and never left. He took over for his father Harry MacElhone in 1958 and continued to run the bar for 31 years, until 1989. He’s also credited with creating the Blue Lagoon cocktail in the 1960s, when Blue Curaçao was first available in bottles.

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Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

Patent No. 2414446A: Illuminated Beer Tap

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Today in 1947, US Patent 2414446 A was issued, an invention of Carl Vincent Carbone, for his “Illuminated Beer Tap.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to new and useful improvements in beer taps, the principal object being to provide a beer tap having illuminating means for illuminating advertising imposed thereon.

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