Recently in History Category

Another GE

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Here my latest acquisition given to me by a local business person via my dad. Thanks Dad!


Ye Olde Beer Recipes

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Col. George Washington's Small Beer (1737)


To Make Small Beer


Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. - Boil

these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons]

Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses

into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this

stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of

Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] &

let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask - leave

the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working - Bottle it that

day Week it was Brewed.


Benjamin Franklin's Spruce Beer


A Way of making Beer with essence of Spruce


For a Cask containing 80 bottles, take one pot of Essence and 13

Pounds of Molases. - or the same amount of unrefined Loaf Sugar;

mix them well together in 20 pints of hot Water: Stir together until

they make a Foam, then pour it into the Cask you will then fill with

Water: add a Pint of good Yeast, stir it well together and let it stand 2

or 3 Days to ferment, after which close the Cask, and after a few days

it will be ready to be put into Bottles, that must be tightly corked.

Leave them 10 or 12 Days in a cool Cellar, after which the Beer will

be good to drink.

History of Beer

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The history of brewing stretches back thousands of years. Cuneiform tablets have been found in the territory of the ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamia indicating that beer was available there as early as the third millennium B.C.E.

In ancient Egypt, brewing was widespread, and beer was a favorite beverage. Archaeological excavations there revealed the oldest written recipe for the brewing of beer. Babylonians too had beer.

Historians speculate that prehistoric nomads may have made beer from grain and water before learning to make bread.

The origin of the English word 'beer' is interesting. You have the English word 'bere', the Latin 'bibere' and the German 'bior'. All possible places of origin. Perhaps the word is much older than we think. The origin of the word 'ale' is just about as hard to pin down. One thing is for sure it has continued to be popular for a few thousand years.

It seems that all around the world people have been making beer for a very long time. Not just from Barley. Corn, and many other grains have been used.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the brewing of beer moved to the monasteries. European monks improved the technology of the process, using hops as a preservative. Industrialization in the 19th century brought in the mechanization of brewing and proved to be a milestone in the history of this popular drink.

In the years to come man learned more about yeast and how it worked. This paved the way for better beer making techniques.

All this said making beer is still an art.

Ancient Brewery

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Archaeologists working in southern Peru found an ancient brewery more than 1,000 years old. Remains of the brewing facility were uncovered on Cerro Baúl, a mountaintop city over 8,000 feet above sea level, which was home to elite members of the Wari Empire from AD 600-1000.


Predating the Inca Empire by at least four centuries, this Wari brewery was used to make chicha, a fermented beverage similar to beer that played an important role in ritual feasting and drinking during Peru's first empire. Ancient Peruvians made chicha with local grains and fruit, which is quite different from today's commercial beers typically made with barley and hops.


"We believe this important find may be the oldest large-scale brewery ever found in the Andes," said Patrick Ryan Williams, PhD, Assistant Curator of Anthropology at The Field Museum.

There once was a...

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Carolyn from Bella Online shares her thoughts about tavern limericks. The following three are from her article.


There was a sweet girl from Gadzooks

Who spent all her time coaching crooks-

As thieves they had fun

And she needed no gun

'Cause she'd just knock 'em dead with her looks.


There was a weight trainer named Joe

Had a voice that was sexy and low -

He attracted a lass

With his muscular ass

And a bag overflowing with dough.


There was a park ranger named Dale

Who liked making moonshine and ale-

He first filled a mug

But drank the whole jug

Then passed out and drowned in his pail.


My favorite limerick is "A Barmaid From Sale"


On the chest of a barmaid in Sale

Were tattooed the prices of ale.

And on her behind,

For the sake of the blind,

Was the same information in Braille.


The limerick also known as nonsense verse is a popular form of short, humorous verse that is often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, the first, second, and fifth lines must have three accented beats in them. The third and fourth lines must have two accented beats.


The origin of the limerick is unknown, but it has been suggested that the name derives from the chorus of an 18th-century Irish soldiers' song, "Will You Come Up to Limerick?"


Here is another theory as to origin of the Limerick.

The Brewer's Star

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It amazes me that although events that took place in the past are completely finite and unchangeable, history seems to have a lot of versions. It is often intentionally or unintentionally mudded and clouded, a virtual maze for anyone trying to find real answers.

It seems that one is generally met with this constant of history when researching anything that took place in the past. The history of brewing is no exception.


The History and Origin of the Brewers Star

Brewers as far back as the 1300's painted a six-pointed star on the ends of their beer kegs, known as the "brewer's star". The star was the official insignia of the Brewer's Guild as early as the 1500s. The star was hung outside breweries and incorporated into logos for breweries and can still be seen in small village breweries in Bavaria.


Apparently the brewer's star was intended to symbolize purity. If a brewer attached this insignia to his brew he was in essence declaring it to be free of any impurities such as additives, and adjuncts. In folklore the six points of the star represented the six aspects of brewing most critical to purity: the water, the hops, the grain, the malt, the yeast, and the brewer.


Because of its similarities to the Star of David, some have suggested that King David was a brewer and this was its origin. According to scripture David was a worshipper of the true God Jehovah, and the six sided star or hexagram had connections far from true worship. I am not enough of a historian to know how intermixed the Israelite's were with paganism at this time.


Around 804 B.C.E a possible Biblical reference to this 'star' appears. It can be found in the Bible at Amos 5:26, where it mentions "the star of YOUR god" making reference to a pagan god, Rephan also known as Kaiwan. J. A. Hort remarked: "In the LXX of Am v 26 the form used is [Rhai•phan´] or [Rhe•phan´], which is similar to Repa or Repha, one of the names of the Egyptian Saturn (Seb)."--The New Testament in the Original Greek, by Westcott and Hort, Graz, 1974, Vol. II, appendix, p. 92


Possibly connected with star worship, the hexagram no doubt existed even long before 804 B.C.E. People in the occult, astrology, and witchcraft have all long used this symbol. It's often used as a talisman or charm.


Some have suggested that this found it's way into the Jewish community when Israel's king Solomon apostatized and started worshiping pagan gods. While others state that the first use of the term "Shield of David" was about 1300 CE when a Spanish practitioner of Jewish mysticism wrote a commentary on the central book of that mysticism, the Zohar. They also state that the first actual linkage of the hexagram to a Jewish community appears in the early 1300s on the flag of the Jewish community of Prague, which was designed with permission of Charles IV when he became king of Bohemia.


So, at what point did this star find its way into brewing?

That is a pretty good question. I think most answers are going to be pretty speculative. I can see why someone may have wanted to put a symbol of 'good luck' on their brew, much as Bacardi does with the bat emblem. I can also see how if this was an official flag in part of Bohemia, the birthplace of Pilsner, that somehow this star could have come to represent their product. But like I said at the beginning when trying to find answers in History one often finds 'mudded and clouded' answers.

(Update May 2010. Much of the data for this article comes from since my blog 'crashed' in late 2007 the original attribution was lost. Please forgive any perceived plagiarism. Future writing will attempt to use MLA format for any references.)  

Rushing The Growler

Although the exact etymology of the word growler, is a little unclear, it's 19th century to current history is interesting. Growlers or half gallon glass jugs are popular with local microbreweries as a way to sell 'take home' beer. Back in the 19th century parents would at dinnertime send their child to a local bar or brewery to fetch beer in a pail, or covered bucket, which was referred to as a "growler."


Brander Matthews wrote about it in Harper's Magazine in July 1893: "In New York a can brought in filled with beer at a bar-room is called a growler, and the act of sending this can from the private house to the public-house and back is called working the growler".


It was also called rushing the growler, since perhaps these children were often in a hurry. Teenagers could make good money and get a free lunch if they would show up at the factories and pick up the workers' beer pails to get them filled 243-growlers1.jpgat the taverns. They would sometime use a long pole in order to carry a quantity of pails to refill on one trip. Another possible explanation for using the term 'rushing' the growler.


Regarding the term 'growler the Trenton Times for 20 June 1883 said, perhaps in jest "It is called the growler because it provokes so much trouble in the scramble after beer"


One can only imagine that if you spilt your fathers can of Ale that he was the growler. It seems that it may have been a slang term, and those who "rushed the growler" were no doubt the poorer working class looked down upon by the upper crust of society.


It reminds me of the part in John Barleycorn where he says "It was on a hot day, and my father was ploughing in the field. I was sent from the house, half a mile away, to carry to him a pail of beer".

Archaeologists Trace Mystery Wall to Brewery

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This is a pretty cool article. I have to disagree with his statement: "I don't think a brewery rises to the level of an 1812 fort.""


Old foundations are exposed all the time as New York perpetually rebuilds itself. But this was something different. About 30 feet deep and 100 feet long, the wall was composed of stones laid with evident care and skill. Most intriguingly, its roughhewn face was punctuated by two straight rows of seven large square openings.


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When I visited a few years ago these were closed. states that David Ryder a VP at Miller Brewing Company, has arranged for the Miller Caves, located below the Miller Inn on State Street in Miller Valley, to be the site of a Museum of Beer & Brewing Fundraising Dinner to be held on June 9, celebrating Miller Brewing Company's 150th Anniversary. The last time a dinner was held in the Miller Caves was December 17, 1954, for a luncheon meeting of the Wisconsin State Brewers Association. Only a handful of events have been held in the Miller caves since that date.


So I decided to ask Miller about it. Here is what they said:


"We do not comment on any future promotions, advertising ideas,


products, etc. until they are released to the general public.


We appreciate your interest in our company.



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The Brewmaster


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