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The Lois Beer Club

Viewing life through the bottom of a Pilsner Glass

Category : Beeristory

From Gawker.com

Being a professional beer-taster probably sounds like a pretty good job, until you are asked to taste samples of 200-year-old beer found in a Baltic Sea shipwreck. The tasters who were asked to do so recently, on behalf of researchers in the Åland Islands (an autonomous region of Finland), said that the beer, found in a shipwreck dating back to the early part of the 19th century, “did taste very old… with some burnt notes,” not to mention “quite acidic.”

Even so, they’re going to try and brew it again. The beer, which was discovered alongside 145 bottles of what seems to be the oldest champagne in existence, is the oldest drinkable beer yet found (assuming a loose definition of “drinkable”), and scientists are working on a chemical analysis. With luck, they’ll find live microbes or yeast (they say they’ve seen bacteria and yeast under the microscope but don’t know if its alive), but even if nothing turns up the brewing team can examine the DNA for similarities to modern yeasts.

The hops, unfortunately, will be more difficult to place, meaning that a fair amount of “interpretation” will take place. Which is fine! Because “quite acidic” with “burnt notes” doesn’t sound so appealing, frankly.

Scientists Brewing 200-Year-Old Shipwreck Beer

BBC; image via Shutterstock]

10 Things You Need to Know About Beer

Published: June 17, 2013

CLEVELAND — The beer was full of bacteria, warm and slightly sour.

By contemporary standards, it would have been a spoiled batch here at Great Lakes Brewing Company, a craft beer maker based in Ohio, where machinery churns out bottle after bottle of dark porters and pale ales.

But lately, Great Lakes has been trying to imitate a bygone era. Enlisting the help of archaeologists at the University of Chicago, the company has been trying for more than year to replicate a 5,000-year-old Sumerian beer using only clay vessels and a wooden spoon.

“How can you be in this business and not want to know from where your forefathers came with their formulas and their technology?” said Pat Conway, a co-owner of the company.

As interest in artisan beer has expanded across the country, so have collaborations between scholars of ancient drink and independent brewers willing to help them resurrect lost recipes for some of the oldest ales ever made.

“It involves a huge amount of detective work and inference and pulling in information from other sources to try and figure it out,” said Gil Stein, the director of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, which is ensuring the historical accuracy of the project. “We recognize that to get at really understanding these different aspects of the past, you have to work with people who know things that we don’t.”

There is an unresolved argument in academic circles about whether the invention of beer was the primary reason that people in Mesopotamia, considered the birthplace of Western civilization about 10,000 years ago, first became agriculturalists.

Read Entire Article

Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times

A team at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, including Pat Conway, second from left, is working with archaeologists to replicate a 5,000-year-old Sumerian beer

Beer Myths Debunked

Taken From Thatsthespirit.com

It’s always a  good time to turn our collective attention to some of the outdated myths about beer that continue in circulation even today, when we have such a wealth of diverse brews at our disposal.

By Stephen Beaumont


Myth #1: Dark beer is heavy


Couldn’t be further from the truth, folks. Colour in beer comes purely from the grain used in its creation, with darker beers containing more toasted or roasted barley malt and paler beers containing less or no darker malts. And roasting malt doesn’t make it heavier or more caloric.

Learn more about dark beer.

12 (Days) of Useless Beer Facts

Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap.  High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.

Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home.  Conversely, drunken strangers were summarily tossed in a ditch.

Despite the month implied by its name, Munich’s annual 16-day Oktoberfest actually begins in mid-September and ends on the first Sunday in October.

The familiar Bass symbol, a red triangle, was registered in 1876 and is the world’s oldest trademark.

According to a journal entry from 1636, farm workers in the colony of Quebec not only received an allowance of flour, lard, oil, vinegar, and codfish; they were also given “a chopine of cider a day or a quart of beer.”

In 1965, a Belgian royal decree mandated that lambics must contain a minimum of 35% wheat.  It also ordered that labels state the name and location of the brewery.

Beck’s in not only Germany’s top export beer, it also accounts for 85% of all German beer exports to the United States.

Pennsylvania has had more breweries in its history than any other state.  In 1910 alone, 119 of the state’s towns had at least one licensed beermaker.

In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history’s earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in his/her own libation.

Bottle caps, or “crowns,” were invented in Baltimore in 1892 by William Painter.  Painter proved his invention’s worth when he convinced a local brewer to ship a few hundred cases of beer to South America and back and they returned without a leak.

Beer advertising matchbook covers have become sought-after collectibles on Internet auction sites.  A 1916 matchbook promoting Brehm’s Brewery in Baltimore brought $43, while a 1930s cover promoting Eastside Beer from Los Angeles went for $36.

Beer and video games have a long association.  Tapper, originally a 1983 arcade game and now a computer one, tests players’ skills by challenging them to coordinate the movements of beers, a bartender, empty mugs, and patrons.


The history of the Buckeye Brewing Co. 1838-1972

Buckeye Brewing Home Page 


Over on Toledo’s East side in the year 1838 the Buckeye Brewing Company first got its start. It is believed to have started at Front and Consaul Street; this is the very same corner where Tony Packo café is today, the one made famous by Jamie Farr, Kilinger of M*A*S*H fame.

  The next big move to Buckeye came in 1854 when Julius Kohler bought the brewery and moved to its new location at Bush and Champlain streets, this is the same area where the brewery made its home till it closed in 1972. The brewery went through many hands during this time, first Kohler and Co., than Rudolph and Georgy, than in 1858 Stephan & Co. and Lehman & Eckarts than through the hands of  J. Groenewold and Norton but it wasn’t till Jacobi and Coghlin bought the brewery in the mid 1800’s that it became a major producer of beer in the Toledo area.

   Jacobi and Coghlin used the date 1872 as the beginning of the brewery and you can find this date on some of the advertising memorabilia that Buckeye has, but the true date is 1838 giving Buckeye 134 years of brewing in the Toledo area. One of the nation’s oldest breweries, Buckeye maintained its record of continuous operation through the prohibition era by bottling soda drinks and brewing near beer. They also had underground facilities that they used for cold storage. After the repeal of prohibition Koerber’s and Lubeck breweries resumed operation, but by 1949 both had gone out of business, leaving Buckeye the only brewery in Toledo.


Happy Thanksgiving from Lois!!!

Ancient Beer Recipe

World’s Oldest Written Recipe (and it’s for Beer!)

This is a very special recipe on several different levels. First, at 4,000 years old, it’s the oldest known written recipe. Second, it was handed down by a god.
Although the recipe was said to have been given to men by the Sumerian god Enki, the written version was found contained in a hymn dedicated to the beer goddess Ninkasi. Beer was the national fermented drink of ancient Babylonia.
In the beginning, beer was probably an accidental by-product of the bread making process. Ancient Sumerians preserved grain by baking it, usually in the form of bread. When this bread got wet, it fermented into a kind of liquid beer. Over time, honey and other spices were used to flavor the brew. The resulting beer was strong. It was also full of pieces of bread and other more or less solid materials, making it a hard to drink. The Sumerians’ solution was to drink their beer through a straw.
Beer was so important in the ancient world that laws were passed governing it. Beer was even part of the pay of workers in Mesopotamia, Egypt and other ancient civilizations. The Babylonians are known to have made at least sixteen different kinds of beer and used a variety of grains, including barley and wheat, along with honey. Beer was also mentioned in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
If you’d like the recipe, you can find it here


Why Beer? Well…. Why Not?

Throughout history humans have brewed some type of drink similar to beer.  Due to water that was down right nasty in flavor and after effects people had to learn methods to dissenfect their means of hydration.  Fermentation became the perfect combination of a nondiarreal thirst quencher and liquid amusement.  As we grew smarter we also became aware of the further health benefits of ales, stouts and lagers.

None other than Cliff Clavin can better explain the phenomenon of beer …

Cliff explains beer to Norm

Cliff explains beer to Norm

“Well you see, Norm, it’s like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.    In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

America’s Oldest Brewery

The following is reproduced from a company brochure.
Yuengling of Pottsville: America’s Oldest Brewery.

In spite of the demise of countless breweries throughout the country, Pennsylvania’s popular Yuengling Brewery survives as a thriving business and historic treasure. It owes its ongoing success to the remarkable combination of pride and determination, tradition and innovation evidenced throughout its challenging history.

Nestled among the rolling Appalachian foothills, the D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery is located in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Today, the company proudly boasts an unmatched record of continuous operation since 1829 and the longest uninterrupted history of management by a single family in the country.

A History of Innovation