Today, of course, is the busiest shopping day of the year. I’m staying home and drinking, as usual, but yesterday at my in-laws, my mother-in-law put up on the wall a giant poster where the grandkids could list all the toys they were hoping Santa might bring them this year. My son Porter filled out his entire section with requests for trains, particularly Lionel trains. He’s been obsessed with trains as long as I can remember. First it was Thomas the Tank Engine, then the I Love Toy Trains series, followed by Geo Trax. For a while now, though, he’s been fully engrossed in the expensive model trains, especially HO and G gauge, which seem to be his favorites. It what almost appears savant-like, he knows more about trains than anyone I know. To me, the old black steam trains all look alike but he sees them and cries “that’s the Big Boy” or the “GG-1” or some other unfamiliar name with complete certainty. I’d think he’s just making it up but recently at the barber shop, another man waiting his turn happened to run a local train museum and the two of them talked about trains like equals. The man confided in me later that my son had truly impressed him with his train knowledge, confirming what I’d always believed, that Porter really is as obsessed as I can be, just about different things. The apple really doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
One thing that’s surprised me is that I see toy trains with breweries on them all the time. But what I’ve learned about model trains is that despite the word “toy” often being associated with them, there are far more adults collecting them than kids. For one thing they’re very, very expensive. So I suspect that’s why they can get away with so many beer-themed boxcars and the like. When we got home last night from or holiday feast, I decided to do a quick Google search for toy trains for breweries. Lots of lots of them, big surprise. There’s even a guy out there who collects toy beer trains, and he’s cataloged 780 of them with 658 photos. Check out The H.O. Beer Car Collectors Website and be amazed.
The most I’ve ever seen in one place is in Germany, at Weyermann Specialty Malt in Bamberg.
In Weyermann’s meeting room, the wall is completely filled with brewery signs and every available shelf, mantle and ledge has toy trains on them.
Mostly European brands, but there are a surprising number of American brewery trains, too.
Below is a slideshow of just a sampling of all the toy beer trains I found online. Most are from the The H.O. Beer Car Collectors, which is hands down the best resource I came across. The Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen.