Thursday, 28 April 2016

American Lagers in Canada in 1909

Life is full of surprises. Occasionally pleasant ones. The little booklet of Canadian beers analyses from just before WW I contained one of the nicer type.

Because it contained a surprising number of analyses for beer brewed in the USA. 18 of the 77 analyses, to be precise. The booklet lists beer by the district in which they were sold, so I can see incursions of US beer weren’t just limited to border regions: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Colombia. Clearly US beer was a big thing in Canada.

A couple of interesting points. First, there were only two US brewed beers amongst the Ales, both brewed in  Washington State. While there were 7 beers from the UK. All IPAs, which is intriguing. The US Lagers mostly come from the Midwest. Specifically, from St. Louis and Milwaukee. Not so much of a shock that, I suppose. That was where the large Lager breweries evolved. There are also a couple of beers from the Pacific Northwest and two from New York, which remained an important brewing centre, for Lager as well as for Ale.

There’s not a huge amount of variation in these beers. The lowest OG is 1044.6º, the highest 1050.6º. There’s rather more difference in attenuation – 57.4% to 81.33%. Though most are around 70%. That might seem low today, but was pretty typical of Lagers back then.

It’s clear that even by this early date Anheuser Busch was a major player. Especially in the form of Budweiser. It appears more often in the booklet than any other beer, including those brewed in Canada. Though, to be fair, Canadian still seems to have been quite regional at this point.

I’m not going to pester with too many words today. Just leave you with some lovely numbers.

American Lagers in Canada in 1909
Brewer Town Beer Style Price size OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 13.3c bottle 1048.1 1016.1 4.56 66.53%
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 16.67c pint 1048.6 1015.6 4.63 67.90%
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 25c quart 1048.8 1015.1 4.71 69.06%
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 12.5c pint 1050 1015.5 4.85 69.00%
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 15c pint 1050.3 1015.3 4.93 69.58%
Anheuser Busch St. Louis Budweiser Pilsner 25c quart 1050.6 1015.3 5.00 69.76%
America Brewing Co. St. Louis ABC Bohemia Pilsner 25c quart 1049 1013 5.08 73.47%
Dorfes Brewery Washington Lager Beer Lager 16.67c quart 1049.2 1011.8 5.16 76.02%
Ebling Brewing Co. New York Sunlight Lager 10c bottle 1046.5 1015.8 4.42 66.02%
Everard Brewing Co. New York Red Star Lager 11.67c pint 1047.1 1016.6 4.34 64.76%
Schlitz Milwaukee Lager Beer Lager 15c bottle 1045.4 1013.8 4.42 69.60%
Schlitz Milwaukee Schlitz Lager 11.67c bottle 1045.9 1014 4.49 69.50%
Schlitz Milwaukee Lager Beer Lager 12.5c pint 1046.4 1011.4 4.93 75.43%
Schlitz Milwaukee Lager Beer Lager 13.3c bottle 1046.9 1011.3 5.00 75.91%
Schlitz Milwaukee Lager Beer Lager 12.67c bottle 1046.9 1009.6 5.24 79.53%
Lemps St. Louis Lager Beer Lager 25c quart 1048.2 1009 5.47 81.33%
Pabst Milwaukee Blue Ribbon Lager 12.5c pint 1044.6 1019 3.62 57.40%
Seattle Brewing & Malting Seattle Lager Beer Lager 20c pint 1047.1 1012.5 5.47 73.46%
Average 1047.8 1013.9 4.79 70.79%
"Ale and lager beer" by McGill, A. (Anthony), 1910, pages 4 - 19.


Brandon said...

Must say Ron, having the names attached to the tables makes this very rare indeed. Dr Wahl's more extensive analysis in the rear of the monstrous American "Handy-book" gives us more information: ash, lactic and phosphoric acid, etc., but does so while keeping most of the manufacturers anonymous. At least the American ones. Interesting how the cloak gets lifted when a product crosses a border or ocean, as was the case there and here...

Cameron Lewis said...

Were these less attenuated lagers more heavily hopped than would be normal today?

Ron Pattinson said...

Cameron Lewis,

yes. In 1915 US beer averaged 0.65 lbs hops per US barrel, by 1955 that was down to 0.38 lbs and by 1975 0.21 lbs.