Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.
Written by Ken Carman. Label courtesy Bruguru.com
In the early 70s I headed off to college, having wet my whistle long before I was of age.
Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.
Or just help me find more great craft beer.
I thought I hated beer. Well, let’s rephrase that. Let’s just just say beer was a cheap: somewhat tolerable, and a way to have a break between my Stingers, Lime Collins, Harvey Wallbangers and anything else someone would recommend. Like with beer, mixed drinks were an adventure. I didn’t like hard liquor, except really, really expensive Scotch: and I didn’t know that yet. Wine drove my stomach crazy. So mixed drinks were all that was left to get a buzz on.
To clarify “getting a buzz on” hasn’t been the mission for many years. And I have craft beer to thank.
My best friend at the time, Dave Rank, used to cruise the bars of Utica, NY where we went to college with me. We bounced between The Barber Shop, Milt’s Subs, O’Scugnizzo, his fav pizzeria, Second Story High and many other pubs and food places which have long since passed on. Oh, and farmer field days for raw clams.
The reason why we hopped so much, pub-wise, was less for the sake of bar hopping than how Dave finally convinced me to go out drinking with him. I told him I hated beer: basically the truth… sort of. He told me he knew somewhere they served dark beer, not knowing I am the adventurous sort who likes to explore.
“I’ve never had ‘dark beer.”
So off we went to The Barber Shop: 50 cent drafts, peanuts and dollar hot dogs, burgers. As places closed, opened, dropped taps or brought on new taps, we would surf the pub scene to find places to love, then seek new pubs after they would drop dark beer.
The taps were probably mostly Miller Dark. Food coloring, but a bit more malt complexity: whatever brand it was, I think most of them were ales, and I’m an ale fan. Dave learned to like this style too because it was close to his spring favorite: Genesee Bock. So of course through the years of friendship we had plenty of Bock beer. We’ll, kind of, sort of, “Bock.” If you’ve had the real stuff, especially from Deutschland, you know those 1970 Bocks were not as true to the style as they could have been.
Up on my shelf: a squat empty bottle of Schmidts Bock Beer. Probably brewed, at the time, in Philly.
Honestly, I seem to remember, for the time, it was once of the better ones. That’s not saying much. Even Lowenbrau was absent the market, and when we did get it it was the real Lowenbrau, not the fake, bland, Miller contracted stuff.
And, again, for the time, I remember Schmidt’s Bock being fairly tasty. And Bock, at first, was not easy to find. Only Genny. They came in those squat 12oz bottles that Stroh’s and Pabst were using.
I’m sure I would be unimpressed now.
It’s hard to find much about the original Jacob Schmidts brewery. Wiki had an article, but it was deleted according to the page. My guess is, since the brand is now owned by those who brew Pabst, someone who either works for, or loves, the owner’s product deleted it.
Which means I’m even more unlikely to ever drink anything under those labels. Beer history shouldn’t be screwed with for the sake of corporate political correctness. My guess is I might find their version of events if I clicked on their sire: but I refuse.
Here is what I did find.
Please note that the brewery brew to exist by 1975, due to Miller and Bud “swooping in” and underselling the competition, and locking up necessary resources like grain.
Another reason not to click.