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.
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 just say beer was a cheap: somewhat tolerable, 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. 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, and I used to cruise the bars of Utica, NY where we went to college. We bounced between The Barber Shop, O’Sconitzos: his fav pizzeria, Second Story High, Milt’s Subs, Trackside and other pubs and food icons which have long since passed on.
The reason why we hopped was less 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.
The beer was probably Miller Dark. Food coloring mostly, but a bit more malt complexity and, whatever brand it was, I think it was an ale. Dave learned to like this style because it was close to his spring favorite: Genesee Bock. So, of course, through years of friendship we had plenty of Bock beer. Well, kind of, sort of, Bock beer… except if you’ve had the real stuff: especially from Deutschland.
Up on my shelf: a squat empty bottle of Schmidts Bock Beer.
Honestly, I seem to remember, for the time, it was one of the better ones. That’s not saying much. Even Lowenbrau was absent the market, and when we did get Lowenbrau it was the real Lowenbrau, not the fake, bland, Miller contracted stuff.
And, again: for the time, I remember Schmidts Bock being fairly tasty for what was available in the northeast. And Bock, at first, was not easy to find. Only Genny, which was down the road, 136 miles, from Utica. They came in those squat 12oz bottles that Strohs 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 from Minnesota…. and Philly. I suspect what we had came from Philly. Not even sure if they were connected, except by name.
The dates are confusing. Another site suggested the Philly brewery died during the 80s due to Miller and Bud “swooping in” and underselling the competition, and locking up necessary resources like grain.
This seems accurate. A lot of breweries died back then for similar reasons like Rheingold, Schaffer, and occasionally the name was bought. Even Genny has morphed since the 70s some. Now Schmidts name is own by some guy from Connecticut, according to one site, who basically bought a lot of names and has the beer brewed to, I would guess, merely take advantage of the name. I suspect: vended out.
Another reason to be suspicious of claims by the site to be Schmidt. (Or “Schmidts,” I’ve seen the “s” used as part of the name too. A bit confusing.) Kind of like Schwinn and Huffy, which were competitors, now mass manufactured in China. OK, not “China,” but the name comment still counts. I’m all for brewing your beer, under your name, not merely building on past icons.