From the Beer Bottle Collection: Old Hardhead

The Brewery: Rikenjaks

I bought one bottle of this Scottish Ale in the 90s and it was so tainted I tossed the contents. Later on I had a better bottle and found it to be about a 60… maybe closer to 80 shilling Scottish ale that needed just a little more carmelization. Master brewer for McGuire’s at the time, Steve Fried said…

“They really had a problem with that back then. A lot of customers got turned off to micros, thinking this is what a micro tasted like.”

He agreed that it was good when, well, it was good.

After reading the label I can understand why the several bottles I had seemed to vary so much. I’m guess the FG and OG’s were a little wider than claimed, from my experience.

From the label…

Starting gravity: 1.060-1.066
Final gravity: 1.008-1.012
Finishing hop: Goldings

Rikejak’s Old Hardhead is brewed in small batches using only traditional methods and ingredients. This classic Scottish Ale is dark and wonderfully malty.

Brew Biz: Werts and All

This Brew Biz- The Adventures of the Venerable Brewer Tim Rastetter and His Ever Thirsty Dog

The time: well over a decade ago.

I was interviewing Tim Rastetter, former brewer at BrewWorks, a recently deceased brewpub in Covington, KY.

I was also discussing beer with Fred Karm, the master brewer at the time for all the Thirsty Dog Brewpubs in Akron, Canton and just south of Dayton, Ohio.

I had also just visited Burkhardt Brewing just south of Akron. This was the location of their brewpub, started after the demise of their much bigger brewery that thrived during the days when Utica Club and Gerst also had big breweries that sold local. Many of these breweries died when the giants in the biz: A/B and Miller outsold what was mostly a one product market. The differences between these various beers were often minimal compare with the distant past and the micro/brewpub boom of the past 20 years.

I was also about to switch from writing under my not so secret identity and change my column to: The Brew Biz, written under my own name. I still use my “secret identity,” but for other purposes. What was it? Shhh! It’s a secret! Besides, I got tired of searching for a phone booth where I can change into that super elderly curmudgeon just so I could write about beer.

“Unkie Ken, what’s a ‘phone booth?'”


A lot has changed since Burkhardt was a large brewery.

(Burkhardt Ad from 1949 on sale at E-bay 5/22/09)
(Burkhardt Ad from 1949 on sale at E-bay 5/22/09)

A lot has changed since Thirsty was a brewpub.

(Image courtesy of
(Image courtesy of

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