I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Some of the Beers That I Miss...

...Either because they are no longer brewed, or I haven't been in their sales area for years.

In no particular order:

National Bohemian when it was brewed in Baltimore. It was my favorite cheap beer. After that brewery closed, I had a can from Lehigh Valley, PA, but it just wasn't the same. If it is still brewed, it would be by Miller.

Stoney's, from Jones Brewing Co., Smithton, PA (now closed). In 16 oz. bottles, it was another good cheap beer. It was owned by the family of actress Shirley Jones.

Straub, from a small family-owned brewery (since 1872) in St. Marys, PA. It is still going strong, but the sales area is pretty much western PA and eastern OH. As I haven't been to NW Pennsylvania since 1982, I haven't enjoyed Straub since then either. They used to have a self-service tap in the hospitality room. After the tour, you could fill a glass yourself and the only requirement was that you wash the glass after you finished. One time, I stayed too long and had a few too many glasses of fresh Straub beer. I had to hang out in the parking lot and around town for a couple of hours until I was road-worthy again.

Prior Double Dark, from Christian Schmidt Brewing Co., in Philadelphia. It was an unusual dark beer, difficult to describe, but it had a cult following. The last time I bought some, in 1982, it cost $16 per case. When I was in Philadelphia during 1983, we stopped at at least a half dozen places looking for it, but no one carried it. The brewery closed within a year or so after that. Someone claimed that Saranac Black Forest was supposed to be a reincarnation of Prior Double Dark, but I don't think so. I would recognize it if I had it again.

Christian Moerlein, still brewed in Cincinnati, not sold in the Atlanta area, haven't been to Nashville in a few years. Christian Moerlein, when it debuted in 1981 (or 1982) was the first new, regionally-marketed American beer that was brewed to meet the German Reinheitsgebot rules, allowing only water, barley, hops, and yeast. It is brewed by the remnants of the Hudepohl Brewing Co.. I miss some of the other Hudepohl brands, Hudepohl Gold, Ludwig Hudeopohl Bock and Octoberfest. And my wife misses Schoenling Little Kings. Schoenling, another old Cincinnati brewery merged with Hudepohl a few years back.

Pearl, from San Antonio. As mentioned in a previous post, when I had keg parties in El Paso, they were Pearl keg parties. It is now brewed by Miller in Forth Worth. I haven't tried it from that brewery. It might be OK, but the history is now gone.

Henry Weinhard's and Weinhard's Ireland-style Ale originally from Blitz Weinhard of Portland, OR. Weinhard's Ireland-style ale is one of the best ales I have had in a can from an established brewery. I am not sure what happened to this brewery. When Stroh's got out of the beer business and Miller and Pabst ended up with the Stroh/Heileman labels, I lost track of what happened to some of those breweries, like Rainier in Seattle, Blitz in Portland. I think Miller ended up with the Olympia brewery at Tumwater, WA.

Matt's Premium and Utica Club, from F.X. Matt in Utica, New York. Saranac is now the most visible label from this brewery (and I enjoy most of their brands, but we don't see them that often in Atlanta).

The historic beers from the old Narragansett Brewery in Cranston, RI. These included Ballantine Ale, Ballantine India Pale Ale, Haffenreffer Malt Liquor, Narragansett, Narragansett Porter, and Falstaff. When Falstaff closed that brewery, it shifted some of the brands to its Fort Wayne brewery and they were still fairly decent, but now that brewery is long gone. I will post on the complicated history of Falstaff at a later time.

Point Special, from Stevens Point, WI. In 1982, I took a trip up to Wisconsin and visited the four surviving regional breweries at that time, Stevens Point, Walter, Huber, and Leinenkugel. Stevens Point is still in business but I haven't been close to their sales area in years, Walter is gone, Huber is still in business, but largely known for the Berghoff brands, and Leinenkugel's has been owned by Miller for years. Some of the Leinenkugel brands are available in Georgia, but not their lager.

Yuengling Porter. Some of the Yuengling brands are available in NC and FL, including the Black and Tan, but I haven't had the Porter in years. It was a mainstay, before the availability of microbrewery beers, if you wanted something out of the ordinary.

Celis White and Celis Grand Cru, formerly brewed in Austin, TX. This microbrewery, specializing in Belgian-style beers, was purchased by Miller and absolutely ruined. Which is odd, as Miller seems to have done well with their 1980s purchase of Leinenkugel, of Chippewa Falls, WI.

Schmaltz's Alt, August Schell, of New Ulm, MN still brews this brand, it was an excellent (in my opinion) German-style dark ale. I just haven't been in Schell's territory for a long time.

Heileman's Old Style, from their La Crosse, WI brewery. That brewery is now an independently-owned brewery and I haven't had any of their beers to see if they are similar to Old Style.

If I think of more, I may add them, as I continue to wax nostalgic.
Prior Double Dark was cheap, dark, and had no bitterness. Drank it in NJ for the last time in 1979, I think. I would love to know if anyone from Christian Schmidt knows how they made it...
The last time I had it was the summer of 1982. It was $16/case, which was very expensive for that time.

By the summer of 1983, it seemed much harder to find. In the Philadelphia area, I went to several beer outlets, only to be told that "we quit handling it because it was too expensive, so we carry Yuengling Porter instead".

BTW, they now sell Point Special in the Atlanta area and I have had friends bring me Straub from Ohio a couple of times.

Just ran into your site, but I'm sure I'll be back. Just took over a site with a friend and I started a beer page on it...


Since I was doing a piece on Prior I did a Google. That's why I know I'll be back.

Great site. Judge much? My wife and I do. Never really got involved in collecting circles. Kind of backed into doing it: almost 40 years ago.

Ken Carman
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