Monday, July 30, 2012

Chris goes crafty

Just got some new caps- and something else- in to share with you.  First up is something that will no doubt look familiar.

This Blatz is a mate to the Budweiser I got not long ago.  Unlike the Bud, I did find this one on the CCCI page, and they estimate a 1949-58 age.  In fact, I got it from the same guy- and he sent along a quarter to make up for the 50 cents postage due from the Bud.

That brings me to a set of Canadian corks that were both much older and more interesting than I imagined. 

Top and third are Boswells- one ale marked "QUEBEC" and one pale ale also marked thus.  Between them is a pale ale from William Dow and Co., Montreal.  Boswell was a brewer in Montreal from 1843-1952 until bought out by Dow. It was in turn bought out by Carling O'Keefe and shut down in 1966.  The Dow name was acquired with COK by Molson in 1989 and finally closed out by Molson in 1997.  But let me bring in Wikipedia to tell the really interesting part:

In August 1965, a patient presented to a hospital in Quebec City with symptoms suggestive of alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Over the next 8 months 50 more cases with similar findings appeared in the same area with 20 of these being fatal. It was noted that all patients were heavy drinkers who mostly drank beer and preferred the Dow brand, consuming an average of 24 pints of alcohol per day. Epidemological studies found that Dow had been adding cobalt sulfate to the beer for foam stability since July 1965 and that the concentration added in the Quebec city brewery was 10 times that of the same beer brewed in Montreal where there were no reported cases .[3]
Although Dow denied any responsibility, the Dow Brewery in Quebec City temporarily shut down and the remaining beer was dumped into the Saint Lawrence River. At the time of the incident, Dow Ale was the number one selling beer in Quebec, however, as a result of the "tainted beer scandal" sales of the brand soon dropped dramatically never to recover.

UPDATE:  Found another page that claims Dow destoryed 390,000 cases of beer- or 16 years worth of beer for each of the 50 victims!
UPDATE #2:  A French-language  article I Looked at made several points about the Case.  For one, reporters were building a "case" out of bits and pieces of news that ended in unnecessary hysteria over the deal. Two, most of the other breweries in Canada, as well as some in the US of A, were at least testing the cobalt salts in their beers.  Third, the article listed Dow's market share at the time to be 51% and Quebec City's share over 85%.  A group was rumoured to exist among Canada's other brewers, and the article hinted that this group's fanning the fire of rumour was not out of the realm of possibility. Fourth, the article mentions that in light of 536 deaths from myocarditis in 1965 and 480 in 1966 in Quebec City, that 20 deaths and fifty cases over an 8 months span was far from earth shattering.  Apparently one of the doctors on the case, one Dr. Yves Morin, Quebec Institute of Cardiology, pushed the idea of cobalt being the problem to the province's newspapers.  I don't mean to bad-mouth Dr. Morin; he is a nationally-decorated cardiologist and Liberal member of Parliament.  But you gotta kinda wonder...
24 pints works out to around 32 cans a day- or in the neighborhood of 9 cases and a six-pack a week.  Somehow, I'm dubious that the cobalt sulfate killed them.  If this story is straight, the "victims" of "cobalt poisoning" were downing the average per capita Canadian year's worth of beer between Monday and Friday of every week.  And according to what I researched, this is the straight dope. Victims were malnourished enough that the first diagnoses were Beriberi.

The middle guy was a Dow pale ale.  I'm thinking it is a mid-40s, but couldn't find it.  The re Boswell was from 1942, the green from 1945.  Then at the bottom is a John H.R. Molson and Bros Export Ale, dating from 1935.

The other thing I got was this cute little bugger:

A four inch tall PBR!  Isn't it adoreable?  I decided to put in a shadow box, thus:

The background was from a picture of an advertisement painted on a brick wall on a building on historic 25th street in Ogden, Utah.  I cropped it onto a 4X6 glossy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The great martin beer tasting #2.

My son KC and I attempted another beer tatsing yesterday.  What you as possible beer connoisseurs need to know about us is that we grew up on American Lager.  My Dad started on Black Label and thankfully switched to PBR.  My Unlce Dick was a Falstaff man, as was my brother.  Another uncle preferred Busch.  A brother in law subsisted on Miller Lite and Meister Brau, later Milwaukee's Best.  A cousin introduced me to Drewrys.  The nice thing was, when I was little, you could go into our local tavern and get all these and more- Old Chicago, Colt 45, Little Kings, Schlitz, Blatz, the list goes on and on.  So with apologies to some of my friends, carbonated coffees like Guinness don't hit the spot for us.  In fact, we checked the review on and found that we only agreed once- and it was the day's winner.  So, let's take a look at the contestants and how they did:

#1 was the Flying Dog brewery's Tire Bite ale.  This was a "Kolsch" beer, originating from Koln (Cologne), Germany.

KC carefully poured himself a drink, sipped and said, "It Tastes like a Rolling Rock... with some bad aftertaste".  I didn't detect the aftertaste, but agree that it was very similar to a Rolling Rock (IOW, good when you are hot and thirsty, but not neccessarily the brand you buy for lazying around the house.

Next up was St. Pauli Girl, famous from posters  worldwide.  It comes in a green bottle, which I do not understand why ANYONE uses anymore, and of course it had the green bottle's curse...

KC:  "Good, but a bit skunky."
It was good despite the skunk, very light.  But why on earth put it in the damn green bottles anyway?  You KNOW three bottles out of five will be skunked. 

Next up came a contestant from Leinkugels:

Leinie's Red Lager is a Vienna-Style lager, rich amber color and a bit stronger than the regular American beer.

At this point, alcohol was beginning to effect the camerawork, so we had to stage KC's reaction.  (The original pic was a nice view of his shorts, though.)  He detected a bit of a salt taste, and agreed with me that it had a bit of a metallic taste, as if it had sat in a keg for a while prior to bottling.  It improved somewhat after we took Scrappy for a walk, but not much.

Next up:

Becks, from the same company that now owns St. Pauli Girl.  KC has had this in the past, and said he liked it.  But as you can see, it was in a green bottle, so you know what that means...

Yup, a little skunky.  Not bad, though I think if you take the skunk out, I'd have preferred the SPG.

This brings us to the most bitter failure of the lot- and not surprisingly, the highest rated on BeerAdvocate of our six...

(Funny how you get more junk on the table the more beer we drink, eh?) Rogue Brewery's Dead Guy Ale.  From Ashland Oregon, this is a Maibock, or pale bock.

KC: "YUKKK!  This tastes like straight earwax!!!"  I took a sip, and while I don't profess to know what brewed earwax tastes like, I quickly proceeded to the kitchen sink with this brew.  Only trying to get up off the floor kept KC from beating me to the sink with his mouthful.  I washed away this failure with a nice cold PBR.

We had one contestant left:

A Schlafly Unfiltered Hefeweizen, or wheat beer.  This one is brewed at St. Louis Brewing, and was founded by the nephew of activist Phyllis Schlafly.  Now, I've had wheats before, and they have two main charactaristics- light, with a dry taste.  This one was about the same.  However, the dry wasn't as prominent here, and it was so smooth it seemed to evaporate just as it approached the throat.  KC pronounced it "pretty good", and even Scrappy liked it enough to search out every fallen drop.

Mighty damn tasty... where's MY glass?

So there we have our six contestants:

And the winner?  It was between the Flying Dog and the Schlafly, but the Hefeweizen wins out in the end!  Surprisingly, it was the second highest rated of the crew on BeerAdvocate as well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Next round of new stuff

Yesterday, I added to my "collection" of print ads this old PBR magazine ad:

Not real sure what the NRA patch to the right of the toast-er is about, but whatever.  Today I got the latest cap:

A 1940-49 Jacob Ruppert, AKA Knickerbocker Beer.  Around the edge it reads: "Knickerbocker the talk of the town".  Ruppert was owned by the famous Colonel who owned the New York Yankees way back when, and his family.  They sold out in '66, and another brewery kept it alive until 1974.  It was ressurected in the 1990s like so many others, but Pabst finally pulled the plug in 1997.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Got some new oldies coming in...

...and the first to arrive is a lovely ancient Budweiser (Surprising in that the sender didn't account for the cardboard protection he put around it and it cost me 20 cents postage due!).

Maryland state seal, cork lined, and can't find a thing out about it as no online collector seems to have one!  Seller said 40's-50's, and that matches with the logo style.  The manner of the state coat of arms tends to put it towards the later end, so I'll guesstimate late 40's.