Historic Beer Birthday: Harry MacElhone

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Today is the birthday of famed bartender and bar owner Harry MacElhone (June 16, 1890-September 16, 1996) who opened the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France in 1911.

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“Harry MacElhone was a defining figure in early 20th-century bartending, most famous for his role at Harry’s New York Bar, which he bought in 1923. Born in Dundee, Scotland, on 16 June 1890, he published books including Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Barflies and Cocktails.

ABC-of-Mixing-Cocktails

MacElhone also worked at Ciro’s Club in Deauville and the Plaza Hotel New York. He is often credited with inventing many cocktails, including the Bloody Mary, sidecar, the monkey gland, the White Lady, the boulevardier, and an early form of the French 75. As of 2011, his descendants continued to run Harry’s Bar.”

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Harry (at right) as head barman at Ciro’s in London.

Harry’s New York Bar 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.

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Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

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.

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A few years aho, Harry’s New York Bar celebrated its 100th anniversary and there were articles detailing the place, such as Harry’s Bar: The Original and A century of Harry’s Bar in Paris, by the BBC.

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Harry later in life.

Historic Beer Birthday: John the Fearless

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Today is the birthday of John the Fearless (May 28, 1371–September 10, 1419). He was “also known as John of Valois and John I of Burgundy, [and] was Duke of Burgundy from 1404 to 1419. He was a member of the Burgundian branch of the Valois Dynasty. For a period of time, he served as Regent of France on behalf of his first cousin King Charles VI of France, who suffered from severe mental illness.”

Here’s another short biography from the University of Ohio’s eHistory:

Philip the Good John earned the moniker Fearless during a crusade he attempted to lead against the Turks in Nikopol in 1396. The Crusaders were defeated and John was captured. He was ransomed a year later. At the age of 33 he succeeded his father as duke. During the battle of Agincourt he was noticeably missing. During the next few years he negotiated with Henry V but no firm alliance was ever struck. He was assassinated in 1419 by partisans of the the dauphin Charles (later King Charles VII) during a negotiation session.

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The origin of Gambrinus is “most widely believed to be John the Fearless (1371–1419), who some also believe to be the inventor of hopped malt beer.”

This speculation is written by Hugh Evans for the Homebrew Emporium:

The second historical figure who may have been mythologized into Gambrinus was John the Fearless (1371-1419), Duke of Burgundy. While Burgundy was known then as now more for wine than beer, it too produced a lot of ale. More surprising, John the Fearless is credited with being influential in the introduction of hops to European brewing. Prior to the use of hops, European brewers used a collection of herbs called Gruit to provide a bitter component to beer, as well as to help stabilize it. John Duke of Burgundy appears to have encouraged brewers in his fiefdoms to switch to using hops during his reign, reinforcing a trend that was already spreading across the continent.

And this is from the Lord of the Drinks:

An alternative name is John the Fearless (1371-1419), who was Duke of Burgundy. This John was also quite fond of long drinking sessions. Plus under his reign the use of hops in beer was legalized in several areas in Belgium. Since the mythical Gambrinus is said to have introduced hops, this could be a clear indication. Although hops was already used in nearby areas before John, and all together it took about 500 years before this ingredient had found its way to all corners of “the Lowlands”.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Mary of Burgundy

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Today is the birthday of Mary of Burgundy (February 13, 1457-March 27, 1482), She was also known as the “Duchess of Burgundy, [and] reigned over the Low Countries from 1477 until her death. As the only child of Charles the Bold and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she was the heiress to the vast, and vastly wealthy, Burgundian domains in France and the Low Countries upon her father’s death in the Battle of Nancy on January 5, 1477.”

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Portrait of Mary of Burgundy, painted in 1490 by Austrian artist, Michael Pacher.

Here’s more about Mary, most of it from her Wikipedia page:

Mary of Burgundy was born in Brussels, at the ducal castle of Coudenberg, to Charles the Bold, Count of Charolais, and his wife, Isabella of Bourbon. Her birth, according to the court chronicler, Georges Chastellain, was attended by a clap of thunder ringing from the otherwise clear twilight sky. Her godfather was Louis, Dauphin of France, in exile in Burgundy at that time; he named her for his mother, Marie of Anjou. Reactions to the child were mixed: the baby’s grandfather, Duke Philip the Good, was unimpressed, and “chose not to attend the [Baptism] as it was only for a girl;” the grandmother, Isabella of Portugal, was simply delighted at the birth of a granddaughter.

Philip the Good died in 1467, making his son Duke of Burgundy and his 10-year-old granddaughter heiress presumptive. As the only child of Charles the Bold, Mary was heiress presumptive to a vast and wealthy domain, made up of the Duchy of Burgundy, the Free County of Burgundy, and the majority of the Low Countries, and her hand was eagerly sought by a number of princes. The first proposal was received by her father when she was only five years old, to marry the future King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Later the younger brother of Louis XI, Charles, Duke of Berry, made an approach, to the intense annoyance of his brother the King, who attempted to prevent the necessary papal dispensation for consanguinity.

As soon as Louis produced a male heir who survived infancy, the future King Charles VIII of France, Louis wanted his son to be the one to marry Mary, despite his son being thirteen years younger than Mary. Nicholas I, Duke of Lorraine, was a few years older than Mary, and his duchy lay alongside Burgundian territory, but his plan to combine his territory with hers was ended by his death in battle in 1473.

Mary ascended upon her father’s death in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. King Louis XI of France seized the opportunity afforded by his rival’s defeat and death to attempt to take possession of the Duchy of Burgundy proper, and also of Franche-Comté, Picardy and Artois.

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A portrait believed to have been painted by Niklas Reiser.

The King was anxious that Mary should marry his son Charles and thus secure the inheritance of the Low Countries for his heirs, by force of arms if necessary. Burgundy, fearing the French military power, sent an embassy to France to negotiate a marriage between Mary and six-year-old Charles VIII, but returned home without a betrothal, finding the French king’s demands of cession of territories to the French crown unacceptable.

On February 10, 1477 at Ghent on the occasion of her formal recognition, known as the Joyous Entry, as Charles’ heir, she was compelled to sign a charter of rights, called the Great Privilege. Under this agreement, the provinces and towns of Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland recovered all the local and communal rights which had been abolished by the decrees of the dukes of Burgundy in their efforts to create a centralized state on the French model out of their separate holdings in the Low Countries. In particular, the Parliament of Mechelen (established formally by Charles the Bold in 1470) was abolished and replaced with the pre-existing authority of the Parliament of Paris, which was considered an amenable counterweight to the encroaching, if informal, centralization undertaken by both Charles the Bold and Philip the Good. The Duchess also had to undertake not to declare war, make peace, or raise taxes without the consent of the States, and to employ only native residents in official posts.

Such was the hatred of the people for the old regime that two of her father’s influential councilors, the Chancellor Hugonet and the Sire d’Humbercourt, having been discovered in correspondence with the King of France, were executed at Ghent despite the tears and entreaties of the Duchess.

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Another, later portrait by an unknown Flemish artist.

Mary now made her choice among the many suitors for her hand, selecting Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who became her co-ruler. The marriage took place at Ghent on the evening of 16 August 1477.[5] The event initiated two centuries of contention between France and the Habsburgs (later of Spain, then of Austria) for their possession, which climaxed in the War of the Spanish Succession, 1701–1714.

In the Netherlands, affairs now went more smoothly, the French aggression was temporarily checked, and internal peace was in large measure restored.

Five years later, the 25-year-old Duchess died due to a fall from her horse on March 27, 1482 near Wijnendale Castle. She loved riding, and was falconing with Maximilian when her horse tripped, threw her, and then landed on top of her, breaking her back. She died several days later, having made a detailed will. She is buried in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges.

Louis was swift to re-engage, and forced Maximilian to agree to the Treaty of Arras (1482) by which Franche-Comté and Artois passed for a time to French rule, only to be regained by the Treaty of Senlis (1493), which established peace in the Low Countries. Mary’s marriage to the House of Habsburg would prove to be a disaster for France, for the Burgundian inheritance would later bring it into conflict with Spain and the Empire.

There’s also a nice account of her life from the Freelance History Writer and the Royal Women blog.

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But, of course, she was also the inspiration for a Belgian beer, brewed by the Brouwerij Verhaeghe, located in Vichte, which is a ancient castle and farm in West Flanders. The beer is called Duchesse de Bourgogne, and it’s a personal favorite of mine. I know some people think it’s uneven, or not a classic Flanders Red Ale, but I love it.

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I also wrote about Duchesse de Bourgogne a few years ago, and at the time I did my own short overview of her life.

Beer aside, the history of the Duchesse is fascinating. Her anglicized name was Mary of Burgundy, though she was born in Brussels on February 13, 1457, the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon. Needless to say she was quite a catch, especially after her father died in battle (at the siege of Nancy, not a particularly awful sounding name) in 1477, when she was nineteen. Louis XI of France tried to take Burgundy and the Low Countries for himself but was frustrated when Mary signed the “Great Privilege,” by which she gave Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and all of Holland autonomous rule (leaving for herself the remainder of the Low Countries, Artois, Luxembourg, and Franche-Comté). She then married Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who was later the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and part of the Hapsburg Austrian dynasty. This sparked a long-standing dispute over the Low Countries between France and the Hapsburg family.

One of Mary’s favorite hobbies was falconing, which was popular among royals in the day. Falconry is basically training and hunting using a falcon. While engaged in this pursuit, in 1482, Mary’s horse tripped, tossing her onto the ground where the horse then landed on top of her, breaking her back. A few days later she died. Mary was only 25. The beer label’s portrait pays homage to her love of falconry and her ultimate death because of it.

Her young son Philip became heir after her death, though Maximilian was in charge until he reached adulthood. King Louis forced Maximilian to sign the Treaty of Arras the same year, and it gave Franche Comté and Artois to France. But Philip was a virtual prisoner until 1485, and then it took Max another eight years to take back control of their lands in the Low Countries. The Treaty of Senlis, in 1493, finally established peace in the area, but Burgundy and Picardy remained French.

So during her short life, Mary had such great impact on European politics that they can be felt even now in the present. So it’s quite appropriate that she have so wonderful a beer that bears her name and her portrait. It’s a fitting legacy.

The description of the beer from the importer, D&V International:

The 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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Coat of arms of Mary of Burgundy.

Historic Beer Birthday: John Kauffman

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Today is the birthday of John Kauffman (February 10, 1839-January 15, 1886). Kauffman was born in Lorraine, France. He was part of the group that bought the Franklin Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1856. By 1859, it was called the John Kaufman & Co. Brewery, and it became the fourth largest brewery in Cincinnati. Eventually, he remained as the sole owner, and in 1882 renamed it the John Kauffman Brewing Co. It was closed by prohibition, and never reopened, although it was used as the Husman Potato Chip factory, so at least it was put to good use.

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There’s an entry for the John Kauffman Brewery in the “History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio,” published in 1894:

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Cincinnati Brewing History has this account of the brewery’s history, taken from Cincinnati Breweries, by Robert J. Wimberg, from 1989:

“In 1856 John Kauffman, George F. Eichenlaub, and Rudolf Rheinbold purchased the Franklin Brewery on Lebanon Road near the Deer Creek from Kauffman’s aunt. Her husband, John Kauffman, estabished the brewery in 1844. He died in 1845. In 1859 under the name Kauffman and Company, they began to build a new brewery on Vine Street and soon left the Deer Creek location. The first structure on Vine was completed in 1860.

In 1871 the Kauffman Brewery was the city’s fourth largest with sales amounting to $30,930. It was located on both the west and east sides of Vine north of Liberty and south of Green Street.

In 1860 Kauffman also bought the Schneider grist mill on Walnut Street near Hamilton Road (McMicken Avenue), but leased it out before long to another company.

In its first year on Vine Street, the brewery produced only about 1000 barrels. By 1877 the number grew to 50,000 barrels of beer. Kauffman’s beer was sold in Nashville, Montgomery, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.

In 1865 Eichenlaub retired from the business and he was followed by Rheinbold in 1877. John Kauffman then took over the leadership by himself. After his oldest son Johnn studied brewing in Augsburg, Germany, he went to work at the family brewery. Emil Schmidt, Kauffman’s son-in-law, was superintendent by 1877.

In 1882 the brewery was incorporated as the John Kauffman Brewing Company with a paid-in capital stock of $700,000. In 1888 the brewery building at 1622 Vine was enlarged. Note it is occupied by the Schuerman Company today. The office and family residence was at 1625-27 Vine, which was razed and replaced about 75 years ago.

John Kauffman died in 1892 and his wife Marianne Eichenlaub Kauffman took over. She was president of the corporation; Emil Schmidt, vice-president; and treasurer; Charles Rheinbold, secretary; Charles J. Kauffman, superintendent; and John R. Kauffman, brewmaster. By 1894 the brewery produced 70,000 barrels of beer. The malt house had a capacity of 150,000 bushels of barley and the brewery plant covered five acres of ground.

By 1913 John R. Kauffman was president of the company. The brewery produced ‘Gilt Edge’, ‘Columbia’ and ‘Old Lager’ beers. It closed in 1919 when Prohibition became law and never reopened.”

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The brewery is also mentioned briefly in a History of the Brewery District for Cincinnati:

Industry continued to be an important factor in Over-the-Rhine’s development. The canal area was still the location of many diversified industries, including lumberyards, foundries, pork packers, tanneries, and glycerin works. The brewing industry tended to concentrate along McMicken Avenue and the Miami and Erie canal (what is now the Brewery District). By 1866 the Jackson Brewery, J. G. John & Sons Brewery, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, and John Kauffman Brewing Company dominated the industrial use of the area. In close association on the west side of the canal were the John Hauck and Windisch-Mulhauser Brewing Companies. Between 1875 and 1900 seventeen breweries were located in Over-the-Rhine and West End.

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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.

Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Pasteur

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Today is the birthday of Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822–September 28, 1895). He “was a French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of diseases, and his discoveries have saved countless lives ever since. He reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax. His medical discoveries provided direct support for the germ theory of disease and its application in clinical medicine. He is best known to the general public for his invention of the technique of treating milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination, a process now called pasteurization. He is regarded as one of the three main founders of bacteriology, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch, and is popularly known as the ‘father of microbiology.'”

Portrait of Louis Pasteur

But, of course, for the brewing industry, he’s best remembered for his “Studies on Fermentation,” which he published in 1876.

In 1876, Louis Pasteur published his ground-breaking volume, Études sur la Bière, soon translated into English as Studies On Fermentation. The book changed the course of brewing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, representing a huge leap forward in the scientific understanding of the processes involved in beermaking. Brewers around the globe put Pasteur’s findings to work in their breweries, and thus plunged the industry headlong into the modern era.

In tribute to Pasteur’s tremendous contributions to brewing science, BeerBooks.com has reprinted Studies On Fermentation exactly as it appeared when first released in English, complete with all of Pasteur’s illustrations. An original 1879 edition was digitally scanned, professionally enhanced and reproduced in a hard cover format.

In his preface, Pasteur modestly wrote, “I need not hazard any prediction concerning the advantages likely to accrue to the brewing industry from the adoption of such a process of brewing as my study of the subject has enabled me to devise, and from an application of the novel facts upon which this process is founded. Time is the best appraiser of scientific work, and I am not unaware that an industrial discovery rarely produces all its fruits in the hands of its first inventor.”

But, of course, the brewing industry recognized almost immediately the impact that Pasteur’s work would have on the art and science of beermaking. Frank Faulkner, the British brewing scholar who performed the English translation, wrote, “Seeing the vast importance of Pasteur’s work from a practical point of view, after writing a review of it for the Brewers’ Journal, I determined to procure, at any rate for the use of my own pupils, a literal translation, illustrated by photo-lithographic copies of the original plates…It was on the completion of this translation that my views and desires expanded. The more I studied the work, the more I was convinced of its immense value to the brewer as affording him an intelligent knowledge of the processes and materials with which he deals…I determined accordingly to publish the work if I could secure the consent of its distinguished author…The debt which we English brewers owe to M[r]. Pasteur can hardly be over-estimated.”

While I’m sure there are probably many more, he had patents I highlighted last year, Patent No. 135245A: Improvement in Brewing Beer and Ale from 1873, and Patent No. 141072A: Manufacture of Beer and Yeast, in the same year.

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A portrait of Louis Pasteur painted by Swedish-speaking Finnish artist Albert Edelfelt, in 1886.

Fermentation and germ theory of diseases

Pasteur demonstrated that fermentation is caused by the growth of micro-organisms, and the emergent growth of bacteria in nutrient broths is due not to spontaneous generation, but rather to biogenesis (Omne vivum ex vivo “all life from life”). He was motivated to investigate the matter while working at Lille. In 1856 a local wine manufacturer, M. Bigot, the father of his student, sought for his advice on the problems of making beetroot alcohol and souring after long storage. In 1857 he developed his ideas stating that: “I intend to establish that, just as there is an alcoholic ferment, the yeast of beer, which is found everywhere that sugar is decomposed into alcohol and carbonic acid, so also there is a particular ferment, a lactic yeast, always present when sugar becomes lactic acid.” According to his son-in-law, Pasteur presented his experiment on sour milk titled “Latate Fermentation” in August 1857 before the Société des Sciences de Lille. (But according to a memoire subsequently published, it was dated November 30, 1857). It was published in full form in 1858. He demonstrated that yeast was responsible for fermentation to produce alcohol from sugar, and that air (oxygen) was not required. He also demonstrated that fermentation could also produce lactic acid (due to bacterial contamination), which makes wines sour. This is regarded as the foundation of Pasteur’s fermentation experiment and disprove of spontaneous generation of life.

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Pasteur’s research also showed that the growth of micro-organisms was responsible for spoiling beverages, such as beer, wine and milk. With this established, he invented a process in which liquids such as milk were heated to a temperature between 60 and 100 °C. This killed most bacteria and moulds already present within them. Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the first test on April 20, 1862. Pasteur patented the process, to fight the “diseases” of wine, in 1865. The method became known as pasteurization, and was soon applied to beer and milk.

Beverage contamination led Pasteur to the idea that micro-organisms infecting animals and humans cause disease. He proposed preventing the entry of micro-organisms into the human body, leading Joseph Lister to develop antiseptic methods in surgery. Lister’s work in turn inspired Joseph Lawrence to develop his own alcohol-based antiseptic, which he named in tribute Listerine.

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This is an ad is for Whitbread, from 1937, showing an illustration of Louis Pasteur working on his fermentation studies in a laboratory at Whitbread Brewing in 1871, nine years after he completed his first test of pasteurization, which took place April 20, 1862.

On his Wikipedia page, under the heading “Controversies, there’s this paragraph about his research into fermentation:

When Pasteur published his theory and experiments on fermentation in 1858, it was not new to science, neither the idea nor the experiment. In 1840 a German chemist Justus von Liebig had noted that yeast could induce fermentation in water. However, he did not know that yeasts were organisms. In 1856 another German, Friedrich Wilhelm Lüdersdorff, reported that yeasts were microorganisms that convert sugar into alcohol. In 1855, Antoine Béchamp, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Montpellier, showed that sugar was converted to sucrose and fructose in a closed bottle containing water and when he added calcium or zinc chloride to it, no reaction occurred. He also noticed moulds developing in the solution, but could not fathom the significance of it. He concluded that water was the factor for fermentation. He changed his conclusion in 1858 that water was not the main factor, in fact, fermentation was directly related to the growth of moulds, and moulds required air for growth. He regarded himself as the first to show the role of microorganisms in fermentation. Pasteur started his experiments only in 1857 and published his findings in 1858 (April issue of Comptes Rendus Chimie, Béchamp’s paper appeared in January issue), which, as Béchamp noted, did not bring any novel idea or experiments that earlier works had not shown. On the other hand, Béchamp was probably aware of Pasteur’s 1857 preliminary works. With both scientists claiming priority on the discovery, a bitter and protracted dispute lasted throughout their lives. Their rivalry extended to ideas on microbiology, pathogenesis, and germ theory. Particularly on the spontaneous generation because Pasteur in his 1858 paper explicitly stated that the lactic acid bacteria (he named them “lactic yeasts”), which caused wine souring, “takes birth spontaneously, as easily as beer yeast every time that the conditions are favourable.” This statement directly implied that Pasteur did believe in spontaneous generation. He condemned the ideas of Pasteur as “‘the greatest scientific silliness of the age”. However, Béchamp was on the losing side, as the BMJ obituary remarked: His name was associated with bygone controversies as to priority which it would be unprofitable to recall. Pasteur and Béchamp believed that fermentation was exclusively cellular activity, that is, it was only due to living cells. But later extraction of enzymes such as invertase by Marcellin Berthelot in 1860 showed that it was simply an enzymatic reaction.

Pasteur’s ground-breaking “Studies on Fermentation” is in the public domain, of course, so you can read the entire work, or just browse through it, at the Internet Archive.

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In 1951, the United States Brewers Foundation featured Louis Pasteur in an ad, which was part of a series that used a Q&A format aimed at highlighting different positive aspects of beer and the brewing industry.

Historic Beer Birthday: C.L. Centlivre

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Today is the birthday of C.L. Centlivre (September 27, 1827-January 13, 1894). Centlivre was born in France, and settle in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he founded the C.L. Centlivre Brewing Company with his brother, Frank. It was also known as the French Brewery and much later as the Old Crown Brewery.

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The Wikipedia page for the Old Crown Brewing Corporation includes this short biography:

Charles Louis Centlivre was born in Dannemarie, Haut-Rhin, France, September 27, 1827. He was trained as a cooper (profession) and initially came to America in 1847, having settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. After a cholera epidemic he returned to France, returning to America via New York City with his father and two brothers. After living in Massillon, Ohio and working as a cooper in Louisville, Ohio, he founded a brewery in McGregor, Iowa in 1850 and operated it until he came to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1862 and founded the C. L. Centlivre Brewing Company with his brother, Frank. He died in 1894 at the age of 67.

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A statute of Centlivre that used to be on the brewery but
now resides above a Fort Wayne restaurant.

The brewery was first known as the French Brewery when it was founded un 1862, but Charles L. Centlivre’s name was associated with it from the very beginning. In 1893, the name was formally changed to the C.L. Centlivre Brewing Co., which it remained until it was shut down in 1918 by the Indiana State Prohibition, two years before it was national. During Prohibition the brewery was called Centlivre Ice & Storage Co. After repeal in 1933, it was rebranded as the Centlivre Brewing Corp., until 1961, when it was changed to the Old Crown Brewing Co.. That was still its name when it closed for good in 1973.

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Here’s a biography from “The Pictorial History of Fort Wayne,” published in 1917.

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The website Fort Wayne Beer has a great account of the history of the Centlivre Brewery.

CHARLES LOUIS CENTLIVRE was french, Monsieur Centlivre (His surname has been anglicized to rhyme with “river”) was born in 1827 in Lutran, a small town in the northeast of France about nine miles from the German border and 90 miles south of the 349-year-old Kronenbourg Brewery in Strasbourg. When he was 12, his family father, stepmother, five siblings and a stepbrother-moved to neighboring Valdieu, where he apparently apprenticed as a cooper.

BON…JOUR AMERICA

Charles, along with his sister Celestine and stepbrother Henri Tonkeul sailed from France and arrived in the Port of New Orleans on December 24, 1850. Charles and Henri would soon relocate to Louisville, OH near Canton (now home of the NFL Hall of Fame), where they reportedly met up with other relatives, and where Charles found work as a cooper. In 1854 they were joined by Charles’ father, stepmother and younger siblings. It was here that Centlivre wed Marie Houma ire, a young French woman who spoke no English. The newlyweds had met by accident on a train reroute to Louisville. Marie had boarded the wrong train; she was supposed to be heading to Louisville, Kentucky’ Late in 1854 or early 1855, Charles and Marie moved to McGregor, Iowa, where he purchased some land. McGregor, located on the Mississippi, was becoming a hub where grain from Iowa and Minnesota was transported across the river and sent on to Milwaukee via railroad; by the 1870s it had become the busiest shipping port west of Chicago. A number of family members also moved to Iowa, including Centlivre’s brothers Francois and Denis, sister Celestine and his father Louis. Marie gave birth to their first two children, Amelia and Louis, in Iowa. Charles met Christian Magnus, a German emigrant and brewer, while in Dubuque County, Iowa. Magnus helped Centlivre start a brewery in Twin Springs, Iowa about 1857 and served as its foreman until 1858. Magnus was known to age beer in caves, which may be how Centlivre learned to lager beer. Also while in Twin Springs, Centlivre declared his intent to become a United States citizen. More than a brewer, Charles L. Centlivre was an entrepreneur, and while in Fort Wayne, Indiana, possibly to visit his stepbrother Henri Tonkeul, (Tonkel Road still exists in Fort Wayne), he saw a greater business potential than existed in Iowa. Fort Wayne had a large German population, a total population at the time of about 10,000, rail service connecting Fort Wayne to Chicago and Pittsburgh and three rivers from which to draw water and ice for brewing. In February 1862 he purchased 320 acres in Fort Wayne from Rufus French.

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THE FRENCH BREWERY

It was here that Charles, his father, and his brother Frank literally built a primitive Brewhouse with their own hands. Located next to the St. Mary’s river on Lima Plank Road, now known as Spy Run Avenue, the French Brewery opened on September 27, 1862. By 1864 all the Centlivre property in Iowa would be sold. Charles’ brother Denis relocated to southwestern Wisconsin and established the Platteville Brewery in the town of the same name. In Fort Wayne, the French Brewery grew in both size and popularity, and the Centlivre’s continued to purchase land there to expand the brewery and other ventures. A malting plant was installed at the brewery in 1868. In 1869 Louis Centlivre had a deed drawn up that granted his son 80 additional acres of land and all the buildings and stock contained thereon. For nine years the Centlivre family, which numbered as many as nine, lived in a section of the brewery until a family home was built in 1871. With the 1871 Chicago fire and the destruction of many Chicago breweries, Charles saw an opportunity to recruit Peter Nussbaum as Brewmaster at the French Brewery. Nussbaum, who had learned his craft in Luxembourg, accepted the position. Until his arrival, the only products of the French Brewery were French Lager and Excelsior. Nussbaum added XX Brand, Bohemian, Munchener, and Kaiser to the brewery’s menu. Centlivre Special and Nickel Plate replaced the latter two. Nussbaum served as a Brewmaster for the Centlivre brewery for 37 years and worked for three generations of the family. Less than half a mile south of the brewery is Nussbaum Street, where “Herr Nussbaum” lived. Centlivre was continually improving his brewing facilities. He erected a new bottling plant, one of the first in the area, in 1876. Two years later, the brewery received Fort Wayne’s first artificial refrigeration units. The French Brewery produced approximately 500 barrels of beer in its first year of operation. By 1880, popularity and expansion ramped that number up to 20,000 barrels annually. In the late 1870s and early 1880s the Centlivre family turned 28 acres along Spy Run Ave. into Centlivre Park, a place for families to gather and enjoy picnics, sports and music. Rowboats could be rented for $1.00 a day, and, of course, Centlivre Beer was available for a modest price.

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The Centlivre’s had a strong interest in boating. Charles’ son Joseph rowed competitively until he developed typhoid after his skiff was swamped during a race in the Detroit River. Joseph died in September 1882; just four years later Marie Centlivre passed after a brief illness. By the mid- 1880s Charles Centlivre was preparing his remaining sons to run the brewery. Charles F. was a delivery clerk and then superintendent of the bottling works; Louis Alphonse worked as the brewery manager. Daughter Amelia’s husband, John Reuss, became the French Brewery’s corporate secretary and treasurer. In spring 1887 construction of the C. L. Centlivre Street Railway Co. began. Two rail cars would replace the old horse-drawn trolleys that took people to Centlivre Park. The line also played a role in the brewery’s business, as it carried beer deliveries to the Nickel Plate Railroad station and saloons downtown. Later that year the family celebrated another milestone. On August 6, Charles Louis Centlivre, now 60 years old, became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Also, Hoosier Beer has some additional information about the brewery’s history.

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Here’s another short account from Field Tripper:

In 1862 a French immigrant, Charles L. Centlivre, established one of Fort Wayne’s most well-known industries on the west bank of the St. Joseph River, just north of where the State Street Bridge crosses the river. Known initially as the “French Brewery,” Centlivre’s enterprise, along with the Berghoff Brewery on the east side of town, made Fort Wayne a leading beer producer in the Midwest by the end of the nineteenth century. Employees of the brewery honored the founder by placing a statue of Charles Centlivre on top of the factory building. The brewery ceased operations in 1974, and the business-related buildings were subsequently razed. The 1888 Queen Anne–style Charles Centlivre residence that appears in this view could still be seen as of 2000 on Spy Run Avenue north of the intersection with State Street. A used car lot, as of 2000, occupied the site where the brewery once stood.

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Historic Beer Birthday: St. Arnulf of Metz

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While records going back this far in time are notoriously unreliable, some sources put the birthday of St. Arnulf of Metz at August 13, 583 C.E., such as Find-a-Grave, among others. He’s also known as Anou, Arnould, Arnold of Metz, and his feast day is July 18. Although even the year is not settled, and some sources give it as 580 or 582 C.E., so the actual likelihood that any of this is correct is pretty low.

“Saint Arnulf of Metz (c. 582 – 640) was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont. In French he is also known as Arnoul or Arnoulf. In English he is also known as Arnold.” Metz is located in northeastern France.

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Also, Arnulf is one of at least three patron saints of brewers with similar names, although he is the oldest, and essentially first one. That’s one of the reasons I chose his feast day, July 18, for the holiday I created in 2008, International Brewers Day.

The Saint Arnold most people are familiar with is Arnold of Soissons, and he’s from much later, almost 500 years, and is thought to have been born around 1040 C.E. Less is known about the third, St. Arnou of Oudenaarde (or Arnouldus), and he’s also a patron saint of beer and specifically Belgian brewers, because Oudenaarde is in Flanders. His story takes place in the 11th century.

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Here’s his bio from Find-a-Grave:

Saint Arnulf of Metz (c 582 — 640) was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont.

Saint Arnulf of Metz was born of an important Frankish family at an uncertain date around 582. In his younger years he was called to the Merovingian court to serve king Theudebert II (595-612) of Austrasia and as dux at the Schelde. Later he became bishop of Metz. During his life he was attracted to religious life and he retired as a monk. After his death he was canonized as a saint. In the French language he is also known as Arnoul or Arnoulf. Arnulf was married ca 596 to a woman who later sources give the name of Dode or Doda, (whose great grandmother was Saint Dode of Reims), and had children. Chlodulf of Metz was his oldest son, but more important is his second son Ansegisen, who married Saint Begga daughter of Pepin I of Landen.

Arnulf was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In iconography, he is portrayed with a rake in his hand.

He was the third great grandfather of Charlemagne.

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St. Arnulf in the Metz Cathedral.

The Legend of the Beer Mug

It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop. They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable. At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims’ thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.

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And here’s another account from Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites:

During an outbreak of the plague a monk named Arnold, who had established a monastery in Oudenburg, persuaded people to drink beer in place of water and when they did, the plague disappeared.

Arnold spent his holy life warning people about the dangers of drinking water. Beer was safe, and “from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world,” he would say.

The small country of Belgium calls itself the ‘Beer Paradise’ with over 300 different styles of beer to choose from. Belgium boasts of centuries old tradition in the art of brewing. In the early Middle Ages monasteries were numerous in that part of Europe, being the centers of culture, pilgrimage and brewing. Belgium still has a lot of monasteries and five of these are Trappist, a strict offshoot of the Cis­tercian order, which still brews beer inside the monastery.

During one outbreak of the plague St. Arnold, who had established a monastery in Oudenburg, convinced people to drink beer instead of the water and the plague disappeared as a result. Saint Arnold (also known as St. Arnoldus), is recognized by the Catholic Church as the Patron Saint of Brewers.

St. Arnold was born to a prominent Austrian family in 580 in the Chateau of Lay-Saint-Christophe in the old French diocese of Toul, north of Nancy. He married Doda with whom he had many sons, two of whom were to become famous: Clodulphe, later called Saint Cloud, and Ansegis who married Begga, daughter of Pépin de Landen. Ansegis and Begga are the great-great-grandparents of Charlemagne, and as such, St. Arnold is the oldest known ancestor of the Carolin­gian dynasty.

St. Arnold was acclaimed bishop of Metz, France, in 612 and spent his holy life warning people about the dangers of drinking water. Beer was safe, and “from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world,” he would say. The people revered St. Arnold. In 627, St. Arnold retired to a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he died on August 16, 640.

In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold’s body be exhumed and ceremoniously carried to Metz for reburial in their Church of the Holy Apostles. During this voyage a miracle happened in the town of Champignuelles. The tired porters and followers stopped for a rest and walked into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage. Regretfully, there was only one mug of beer to be shared, but that mug never ran dry and all of the thirsty pilgrims were satisfied.

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A modern portrait of St. Arnulf by American artist Donna Haupt.

Beer In Ads #2000: Carlsberg At The Eiffel Tower


Friday’s ad is for New Carlsberg Beers, or “Ny Carlsberg ølsorter,” from 1889, I guess. It’s hard to believe this is the 2000th beer ad I’ve posted, which means it’s been nearly five-and-a-half years since I started posting them, and that doesn’t even count the Guinness ads I posted separately for a time, plus all of the random unnumbered ones, too. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful ads I’ve seen, showing a detailed view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, presumably in 1889. There was a World’s Fair, or Exposition Universelle, in Paris that year, and the Eiffel Tower was built specifically for the expo. The poster also says “Grand Prix,” but at least according to Wikipedia, Heineken won the grand prize (and their source was a Heineken webpage that’s no longer up) so who knows. But the poster makes it seem like it was an amazing event.

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Beer In Ads #1722: Beer That Warms


Wednesday’s ad is for Brüna, from 1950. I have no idea about the beer itself, but the poster was done by Raymond Savignac, a famous French illustrator at the time. Do a Google image search for him and you’ll see his widely copied style. The French text “La Biere Qui Rechauffe” translates, at least according to Google translate, as “Beer that warms,” which seems curious, although perhaps not to a polar bear (or is it a brown bear?).

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