Patent No. 20130126009A1: System For Cleaning Beer Lines And Recovering Draft Beer

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Today in 2013, US Patent 20130126009 A1 was issued, an invention of Tracey M. Killarney and Lawrence A. Kent, for their “System for Cleaning Beer Lines and Recovering Draft Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

A beer recovery system which uses CO2 to blow unused beer backwards through the beer lines and back into a beer keg is disclosed.

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Beer Birthday: Judy Ashworth

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Today is Judy Ashworth’s birthday. She’s the Grand Dame of Publicans, having once owned the Lyons Brewery Depot in the East Bay, one of the earliest bars to really embrace, support and promote craft beer. Judy sold the pub in 1998 after some health troubles sidelined her, but she’s still a fixture in the Bay Area beer scene. I’ve judged with her many times and these days she’s very supportive of the homebrewing movement and she can be seen at most of the major beer events throughout the year. Join me in wishing Judy a very happy birthday.

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Judy with Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment) and Chris Black at his Falling Rock Taphouse during GABF week in 2007.

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Out in front of The Bistro in Hayward at the Wood-Aged Beer Festival in August of 2008. From left: Jeremy Cowan, owner of He’Brew, Judy, Dave Heist, and Zak, also from He’Brew.

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At the Toronado Barleywine Festival in 2008, Judy Ashworth, Matt Salie (with Big Sky Brewing) and Judy’s daughter Laurel.

Judy Ashworth, Stephen Beaumont, me & Peter Hoey at the Pliny the Younger release
Judy with Stephen Beaumont, me and Peter Hoey at the 2010 Pliny the Younger release.

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Dave Suurballe, Judy, Julie Nickels and Bruce Paton at Anchor Brewing for the book release party for Tom Acitelli’s “Audacity of Hops” earlier this month.

Patent No. 401406A: Construction Of Beer Engines

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Today in 1889, US Patent 401406 A was issued, an invention of James Amasa Bigelow, for his “Construction Of Beer Engines.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states the following. “My invention relates to apparatus for drawing beer or other liquids from a receptacle in a cellar or adjacent store-room and delivering the same to other receptacles upon a bar counter; and its objects are to provide a simple and efficient apparatus of this character in which the beer or liquids may be cooled or warmed, as desired, and in which also several kinds of beer may be mixed before delivery, and which apparatus may be readily put in order by an unskilled person should any oi` its parts become disarranged during its operation.”
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The World’s Oldest Bars

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Several years ago, prompted by another website’s relatively poor attempt to create a list of the oldest bars in America, I took their list of ten apart and created my own list of America’s Oldest Bars. That original list in the intervening years has taken on a life of it’s own, and continues to be updated as new entries are discovered by people all over the country. The current list of The Oldest Bars In America is now on a separate page and has 122 American bars on the list, all dating from before 1900, which became my arbitrary cut-off date.

Bucket List Bars, the website for a book of historic American bars, recently posted their choices for the 5 Oldest Bars in the World. Here’s their original list:

  1. Sean’s Bar; Athlone, Ireland (900 CE)
  2. The Bingley Arms; Bardsey, North Leeds, England (953 CE)
  3. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem; Nottingham, England (1189 CE)
  4. Brazen Head; Dublin, Ireland (1198 CE)
  5. Ye Olde Man & Scythe; Bolton, England (1251 CE)

This time around, I had no reason to disagree with the list, but having been working on an American version off and on for the last seven years did make me curious. So I figured I’d start doing a little research of my own and see what I might find. One thing I’m finding with my initial searches is that even more than with strictly American bars, is that how you define a bar is very important in determining whether it should be on the list. Go back far enough in history, and how we think of a bar changes quite a bit, with the earliest examples of what became known as bars being inns or taverns along well-traveled trade routes. Some were monasteries where people stopped on their journeys, and others might have been simply common gathering places. Many more may not have started as bars, and some even were things totally different from anything to do with serving alcohol, such as private homes, or buildings housing completely different businesses, even for a time. Still others had the original building destroyed and rebuilt, in some cases multiple times. Should they still be on this list? Is being a bar consistently the entire time a requirement, or should it be? Some started as bars, were converted to other uses, only to be bars again in the present.

Another problem is that record-keeping was nearly non-existent when you go back far enough, and even what records do exist are not exactly persuasive. Suffice it to say there are massive problems in compiling such a list, because no matter what is listed, some one could easily take issue with it, depending on how they decide to look at it, or define what is a bar. Is it a bar, pub (public house), ale house, beer house, inn, tavern, saloon, lounge, canteen, rathskeller, watering hole or what have you?

So for now, at least, I’ve been very loose with what belongs, and what might not, just to get things started. While some think the Cave Bar in Jordan may be the oldest, it’s hard to know. Was it really always a bar? When it first started being a gathering place for people in the first century, would we think of that as a bar? And if not, when would we start considering it to be a bar, as it undoubtedly is today? I’ve tried to restrict the list to bars that opened before 1800, though for some countries where there are a lot even for those dates, I’ve only listed the oldest examples, or ones that were for other reasons I found interesting or controversial. Some are listed with newer dates only because those were the oldest I could find for that country, and I wanted to list one, at least eventually, for most nations. And obviously, I’m using where they’re located today, and not worrying about what their geographic area’s political affiliation was when they opened, just to keep such a complicated question a little bit simpler.

As before, if you know of any others that should be on this list, please do let me know by posting a comment or sending me an e-mail. Please understand that this is the beginning of a work in progress and try to keep the astonished “how could you have missed …” shock and admonishments to a minimum. I have just one rule: don’t be a dick. I know this is a hornet’s nest, but it’s meant to be fun. This is just the starting place. My American list has grown and been whittled down countless times in the seven years I’ve maintained it, so I expect this will be no different. Please, enjoy responsibly.

The Oldest Bars in the World

  1. Cave Bar; Wadi Musa, Petra, Jordan (c. 1st century BCE)
  2. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks; St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England (c. 793 CE) [ Wikipedia ] [Note: A sign on the pub also states that the building was originally a monastery, then a Medieval Pigeon house, before being rebuilt in 1600 after the flood of 1599]
  3. St. Peter Stiftskeller; Salzburg, Austria (803 CE) [considered oldest restaurant in Europe]
  4. Sean’s Bar; Athlone, Ireland (900 CE)
  5. The Porch House; Stow-on-the-Wold, England (947 CE) [Note: Considered an Inn, rather than a bar]
  6. The Bingley Arms; Bardsey, North Leeds, England (953 CE; at least once source claims 905 CE)
  7. Zum Riesen; Miltenberg, Germany (est. c. 1150; other sources say 1314 or 1411) [ Wikipedia ]
  8. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem; Nottingham, England (1189) [ Wikipedia ]
  9. Brazen Head; Dublin, Ireland (1198)
  10. La Reserve de Quasimodo; Paris, France (c. 1200s)
  11. Café Den Turk; Ghent, Belgium (1228)
  12. Ye Olde Salutation Inn; Nottingham, England (1240) [ Wikipedia ]
  13. Adam and Eve; Norwich, England (1241 or 1249)
  14. The Bear Inn; Oxford, England (1242)
  15. Ye Olde Man & Scythe; Bolton, England (1251) [ Wikipedia ]
  16. Piwnica Swidnicka; Wroclaw, Poland (1275)
  17. Bratwursthäusle Nürnberg; Nürnberg, Germany (1313)
  18. Brauhaus Sion; Cologne, Germany (1318)
  19. Kyteler’s Inn; Kilkenny, Ireland (1324)
  20. Haus zum Rüden Zürich; Zurich, Switzerland (1348)
  21. Zum Weinberg ; Wismar, Germany (1354)
  22. De Draak; Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands (c. 1397)
  23. Old Ferry Boat; Holywell, St. Ives, England (c. 1400)
  24. Zum Franziskaner; Stockholm, Sweden (1421)
  25. The Red Lion (f.k.a. Hopping Hall); Westminster, London, England (c. 1434; current pub dates to 1733, remodeled in 1896)
  26. Al Brindisi; Ferrara, Italy (1435)
  27. Zice Gastuz; Loce, Slovenia (1467)
  28. De Waag; Doesburg, The Netherlands (1478)
  29. U Fleku; Prague, Czech Republic (1499)
  30. The Nags Head; Burntwood, England (c. 16th century)
  31. Herberg Vlissinghe; Bruges, Belgium (1515)
  32. The Prospect of Whitby (f.k.a. the Devil’s Tavern); Wapping, London, England (1520)
  33. Sternbräu; Salzburg, Austria (1542)
  34. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern; Holborn, England (1546)
  35. The Mayflower; Rotherhithe Village, London, England (1550)
  36. Quinten Matsijs; Antwerp, Belgium (1565)
  37. Na Slamniku; Prague, Czech Republic (1570)
  38. The Grapes; Limehouse, London, England (1583)
  39. Spaniards Inn; Hampstead, London, England (1585)
  40. Hofbräuhaus; Munich, Germany (1589)
  41. Seven Stars; Holborn, London, England (1602; though more likely 1680)
  42. Café Karpershoek; Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1606)
  43. Hatchet Inn; Bristol, England (1606)
  44. Anchor Bankside; Southwark, London, England (c. 1665; rebuilt after fires in 1750 & 1876)
  45. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese; London, England (1667)
  46. Ye Olde Watling; London, England (1668)
  47. El Rinconcillo; Seville, Spain (1670)
  48. Ye Olde Bell Tavern; London, England (1670)
  49. White Horse Tavern; Newport, Rhode Island, USA (1673)
  50. The George Inn; Southwark, London, England (1677)
  51. The Split Crow; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (1749) [Note: The bar has moved a couple of times & also changed names, so depending on definitions may not count as Canada’s oldest]
  52. Antico Caffe Greco; Rome, Italy (1760)
  53. L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel; Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1769)
  54. Lamb & Flag; Covent Garden, London, England (1772)
  55. Olde Angel Inn; Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (1789)
  56. Prince George Hotel; Kingston, Ontario, Canada (c. 1809; though more likely 1820)
  57. Mitre Tavern; Melbourne, Australia (1835)
  58. Kamiya Bar; Tokyo, Japan (1880) [billed as oldest Western-style bar]
  59. Bar Luiz; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1887)
  60. Hussong’s Cantina; Ensenada, Baja, Mexico (1892) [ Wikipedia ]

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The Cave Bar in Petra, Jordan. The world’s oldest bar? Or not.

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Sean’s Bar in Atholone, Ireland, may have a better case, dating from 900 CE.

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Then there’s the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which looks promising until you discover that it was originally a monastery, then was used as a Medieval Pigeon house, before being rebuilt in 1600 after being destroyed in the flood of 1599.

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And while Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is probably not, as is claimed on the side of the building, “The Oldest Inn In England,” I love the way it looks. It just has the I’m-really-old look that you want in an ancient bar.

Beer Birthday: Ray Deter

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Today would have been the 58th birthday of Publican extraordinaire Ray Deter, who passed away tragically four summers ago after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in New York City. Ray was the owner of the d.b.a. beer bars in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and also New Orleans. He is most definitely missed by those of us who knew him. Please join me in raising a toast today to the memory of Ray Deter. Happy birthday Ray.

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Ray in front of the New Orleans d.b.a. with Garrett Oliver several years ago.

Patent No. 2631393A: Illuminated Tap

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Today in 1953, US Patent 2631393 A was issued, an invention of Lionel S Hetherington, for his “Illuminated Tap.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it states that the “invention relates to illuminated taps and more particularly to an electrically illuminated tap adapted to be used as an advertising device..” In addition, “one object of this invention is to advertise the beverage available on draught at the tap” and “Another object is to visibly indicate the specific beverage to be drawn from a specific tap.”

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Beer Birthday: Jeff Bell

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Today is the 36th birthday of Jeff Bell, whose alter ego was, until a few years ago, Stonch, one of England’s best bloggers. He had retired from blogging to concentrate on his new job as landlord of a London pub, The Gunmakers, in Clerkenwell, a village in the heart of London. I stopped by to meet Jeff on my way back from a trip to Burton-on-Trent a few years ago. And four years back, I saw Jeff several times during GBBF week. But last fall, the blogging started up again, a year or so ago he moved on from that pub, and instead is now the landlord of the Finborough Arms in Earl’s Court, next to the Finborough Theatre. I hope I’ll get a chance to visit his new place on my next trip to London. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff Bell, a.k.a. Stonch, at The Gunmakers Pub in central London.

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With a Gunmaker’s bartender at the British Beer Writers Guild event before the start of the Great British Beer Festival in 2009.

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In front of Gunmaker’s in the summer of 2009.

Beer Birthday: Chris Black

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Chris Black, who along with his brother, owns the Falling Rock, the best beer bar in Denver and HQ for beer people during GABF, turns 52 today. Chris is a great guy and one of a handful of early Publicans across the country doing things right when it came to beer, something that happily we’re seeing more of now. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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Chris and me toward the end of the night at GABF several years ago.

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Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing with Chris at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.

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Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Judy Ashworth (Publican Emeritus) and Chris at Falling Rock during GABF in 2006.

Megan Flynn, of Beer NW & Chris Black, Owner of The Falling Rock
Megan Flynn, of the now-defunct Beer NW (later Beer West), with Chris at the end of GABF Week in 2009.

Patent No. 3933282A: Universal Tavern Unit For Keg Tapping Device

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Today in 1976, US Patent 3933282 A was issued, an invention of Frederick F. Stevens, Jr., and assigned to Hoff-Stevens, Inc., for his “Universal Tavern Unit for Keg Tapping Device.” Here’s the Abstract:

A universal tavern unit for a keg tapping device comprises a basic tavern unit for connection to a keg unit permanently or semi-permanently connected to a keg. The basic tavern unit is adapted to cooperate with the keg unit to provide inlet and outlet passageways which communicate with the interior of the keg for the introduction of gas under pressure into the keg and the discharge of beer or other liquid therefrom. The universal tavern unit further includes a pressure relief check valve adaptor assembly for connection to the basic tavern unit to adapt it to the requirements of an associated beer or liquid distribution system.

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Beer Birthday: Matt Bonney

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Today is the 41st birthday of Matt Bonney, formerly of Brouwer’s and Bottleworks, both in Seattle, Washington, and now proprietor of Toronado Seattle. Bonney’s one of my favorite people in the industry. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person more passionate about good beer. He also knows how to throw a party and is always a gracious host. He does still need some work on his Washoe playing, but I’ll let that slide. Join me in wishing Bonney a very happy birthday.

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Matt with Chris Black, from Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver, pouring hops to create Publication at Russian River Brewing in May of 2008.

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Matt (3rd from left) with the final judges at the 2009 Hard Liver Barleywine Festival at Brouwer’s.

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Matt with Dave Keene, from the Toronado, at the A Night of Ales beer dinner during SF Beer Week.

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Dr. Bill with Matt at Slow Food Nation 2008.