How common were Import Ales in the 1970s?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Warwick7, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    It still blows my mind that Heineken changed their bottle to what looks like just any other long neck green bottle. I mean, if they went with brown glass with the switch, I could understand but their bottle - hate it or hate the lightstruck beer - was pretty damn iconic.
    OK... but it was Kramer's line - from a (ficitional) Woody Allen movie he was in. :grin:

    Oh, yeah, pretty commonly available, too - at least in the northeast. Oh, and cheap, especially for an import. In NJ, in the mid-60s the state minimum price (which all beer was sold at) was $1.15 a sixpack ($4.60/cs) compared to Heineken's $2.49 ($9.75/cs). Bud was $1.25 and most large regional beers were around the same price as Ringnes. They even brewed ShopRite brand beer. See 1964 NJ STATE MINIMUM PRICES

    Oh, a nice malt liquor, too.:wink:
    [​IMG]

    Fatato the importer was also a NYC distributor and had links to the infamous "bad beer" brewery in Hammonton, NJ, the Eastern Brewing Corp. Pretty sure he's also discussed in Steve (Brooklyn Brewery) Hindy's book, Beer School.
     
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  2. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,459) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    Since I was living in northern Ohio back in the day, Canadian imports are what I chose when I felt like treating myself to something different in the import aisle. Molson and Labatt weren't really anything different to my taste from AALs; however, I recall drinking a beer called Cinci Lager in that era that was very notable and was an excellent tasting beer. But it may have been during fishing trips to Canada because I'm unsure if that one was imported to the US.
     
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  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,678) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    [​IMG]

    Ever seen this one?

    I had to find a new image sharing site; this one looks promising.
     
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  4. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,372) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
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    Nothing to write home about. It was considered a super, high end premium where I lived, priced comparably to Heineken (which was sort of the gold standard for beer pricing, along with Bass, fullers esb and Guinness). There was a beer bar in town that had it on tap, and sometimes we would order it when it was on sale. I always thought it had something of a light, creamy, slight soapy flavor. For the times, it was a pretty good beer, but not any sort of standout.
     
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,096) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Holy Cow! You drank an AAL beer!?!:astonished:

    Cheers!
     
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  6. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Savant (911) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio
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    I remember going to Nova Scotia on my honeymoon in 1975 and being blown away by their beers; from memory I can only recall Sail and either O'Keefes or Keith's ale. Once I got back I went to a few places to try and find them without any luck. I figured they didn't export them so I settled for Molsons or Moosehead because I didn't like Labatts.
     
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  7. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Sorry to add to the subtopic, but here's one such amusing pic:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Warwick7

    Warwick7 Initiate (41) May 25, 2019 Maryland

    Its alright you were the only one who replied to me about Medieval Ale on another Thread haha.
     
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  9. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,372) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
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    :sunglasses: That was almost 40 years ago Jack, and I was very young, often foolish, and quite impressionable. I wouldn't make that sort of mistake today.
     
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  10. Warwick7

    Warwick7 Initiate (41) May 25, 2019 Maryland

    When I was 17...
     
  11. John1985

    John1985 Zealot (596) Nov 5, 2001 Tennessee

    I really liked Molson in the early 1980's

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,096) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Because now you are old and snobby!?!:wink:

    Cheers!
     
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  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    In the 1970s it was still marketed as MOLSON GOLDEN ALE in US (back when Molson exported 3 beers to US - Canadian, Export Ale and Golden). Never did quite figure out when the change was made. Supposedly it was Molson's biggest seller here, but a minor brand at home in Canada.
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, Cinci (which also went by the names Cinci Cream and Cincinnati Cream, at least in Canada) was a Carling-O'Keefe brand and was exported to the US in the 60's, seems like it was mostly to the Great Lakes states, but doesn't seem to have been very successful and probably disappeared by the 1970's.
     
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  14. mudbug

    mudbug Zealot (597) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    73-about 75 the choices I remember were Guinness, Heineken, and Anchor Steam. for the expensive stuff
     
  15. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,372) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Older and have more discerning tastes. :sunglasses:


    At least when it comes to beer...
     
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  16. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Savant (900) Apr 21, 2014 Ontario (Canada)
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    I think you mean Schooner, not Sail. And, it would have been Alexander Keith’s. I don’t think O’Keefe was available in the Maritimes back then.

    I lived in Quebec and always liked visiting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for their beer (no inter-provincial distro). Oland Schooner and Oland Export were favorites. The only beer in Quebec I liked as much was Dow. Molson Laurentide and O’Keefe Extra Old Stock were pretty good too.
     
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  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Beers in the 70s; Lowenbrau, Heineken, Becks. I sure there were many others, just three off the top of my head I drank.
     
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  18. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (959) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Logan's on Walker Avenue- where The Blind Tiger was. between Bestway and Fishbones- had Beck's Dark on tap in the mid 70s. It was good and we drank a lot of it!
     
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  19. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I grew up in Pa, there was one bar only that carried Heineken on tap and they happened to make the best California burger in the world. When we had a few extra bucks we went there, when we were broke we drank Schaefer for 15 cents a glass.
     
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  20. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (959) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Our back up across the street at The Pickwick was a 16 oz soda fountain glass of Blatz for 30 cents.
     
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  21. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (382) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    This is what I remember from the bars in Charlottesville VA where I lived from September 1971 through October 1979. With Heineken and maybe Becks as the imported lagers (the former by at least a 3-1 margin).

    Guinness and Bass.
     
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  22. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,052) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    That's a very impressive list. I'd be happy with at least half of those imports these days.
     
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  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Sure - me, too, but some of them are going to be way out of code :wink:

    Yeah, well, I guess I tend to depend on accurate contemporary sources rather than go by memory (mine or others) on such topics.

    I recall once talking or writing about some of the minor Heileman brands one day and noted that I'd never seen nor had a lot of them, like Sterling Beer. A bit later I was looking at some photos a friend took visiting me on the farm in the Finger Lakes area I lived on the mid-80s:
    [​IMG]
    I guess that makes Sterling "forgettable" but I doubt anyone ever was excited to buy it... (maybe someone with the first or last name "Sterling"?)
     
    #63 jesskidden, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  24. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,052) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    Nice pic! Though being up in the Finger Lakes region I'm surprised you guys didn't go for some Utica Club....apparently "U.C. is not for me":wink:
     
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  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, c'mon, that was only one day out of hundreds (and likely none w/o beer:grin:).

    No, wasn't drinking a lot of U.C. by then, and, unfortunately, that's around the era (or maybe only the area?) when my preference, Utica Club Cream Ale, started getting difficult to find. But we did drink a lot of Matts Premium, especially on tap where it was the most commonly found regional draught beer (more than Genesee, which surprised me when I moved up there). Matts Premium came in clear throw-aways and I don't recall ever finding them in the brown deposit bottles, which is what I ordered for my own use when I had a beer license at a store up in St. Lawrence County.

    The "house farm beers" were still Chesterfield Ale and Ballantine Ale, both in deposit returnable/refillable bottles.

    EDIT - Oh, wait. I did have a JOIN THE CLUB Utica Club baseball hat. (Pretty sure I got it with a coupon I found at an Ithaca beer store, and was free + cheap 1980s postage). Here I am wearing it running our homemade maple sap evaporator ----but drinking a bottle of Piels :slight_frown::
    [​IMG]
     
    #65 jesskidden, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  26. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,678) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I forgot to mention the Aussie beers that I drank back then. Cheers to the Sheaf Stout and Swan Lager(before Alan Bond "ruined" the beer)

    Not to mention the steel cans of various Aussie beers that I found. All had, surprisingly, a metallic taste. Nevertheless, good learning times.
     
  27. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,052) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    Oh wow, I didn't know about Matt's Premium. I'm sorta surprised FX Matts has not decided to bring that back as well (I guess it would sorta cannibalize their UC sales though)

    Wait...are you manning a smoker in that pic? This is about as epic as it gets. This could pass for a Piel's ad (minus the UC hat and emoji face, of course :laughing:)
     
  28. Ffenski

    Ffenski Disciple (398) Apr 24, 2008 Ohio
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    Great thread here, I love to see where we are now in beer and its history and evolution. Lots of imports I haven't heard in a while and many I've never heard of. In the 70's my Dad was a Miller High Life guy and I was a Kool-Aid and chocolate milk guy, all of which were easy to find!:grin:
     
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  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    When first released in the late '40's it was all-malt, 100% imported hops but by the time I came across in the mid-70s, it was adjunct lager (rice and corn, just like U.C.) and a blend of imported and domestic hops. As I said, where I was in the Twin Tiers it was a lot more common that Utica Club, so I was surprised when I heard it a couple decades later that it was dropped - likely to concentrate on the Saranac line. (So popular that their little 7 oz. nip clear bottles were used by a lot of bars as salt and pepper shakers. Some company made black or white snap-on plastic caps w/holes for them to be so used.)


    I smoke in a Kamado :wink: (a few decades later than the photo, of course).
     
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  30. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,052) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
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    :tired_face: Apparently my reading comprehension skills suck ass. It's been a long day, I'm starving and all this UC/vintage beer talk got me hankering for some good BBQ I guess.

    I have many questions about the homemade maple evaporator but I'll save that for MapleAdvocate forums.
     
  31. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,865) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    The good old days, I have to say as I get older I miss walking into a seedy neighborhood bar in Trenton and the smell of state beer and was in the air. Seedy doesn’t equal unsafe, just an old place with tons of character and guys throwing back Schlitz with a Calvert chaser.
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,096) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    50+ years ago my father would refer to that establishment as being a taproom. BAs today use the word "taproom" for something else altogether.

    Cheers!
     
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  33. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (959) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    My Grandad called them saloons. But he was in New Mexico, Arizona, and California around 1905-1909.
     
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  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    The urban legend has it that, after Repeal, most states' newly-written alcohol beverage regulations continued to outlaw the "saloon", just as the "Anti-Saloon League" wanted in the pre-Prohibition period.

    Instead, depending on the state, they licensed "taverns, bars, taprooms, hotels, cafes, bar and grills" etc. :grin: For many years into the 1980s or even later (?), there was a well-known bar in NYC called "O'Neal's Baloon" 'cause NY State still prohibited the word "saloon". (IIRC, Woody Allen did some filming in the bar, but he did film all over the city...).
     
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  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,096) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Is that the place where the pretzels make you thirsty?:flushed:

    Cheers!
     
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,824) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Could be.
    But, then, what pretzels don't?
    You know what beer will really slake a pretzel thirst?
    Vandelay Lager.
     
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  37. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,942) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    ...it was a very good year.
     
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  38. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    But now the days grow short
     
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  39. DavidK1126

    DavidK1126 Initiate (38) May 7, 2019 New Jersey
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    By the end of the decade, Dean & DeLuca, the New York City specialty food retailer with a small selection of beers, was selling Orval Trappist Ale.
     
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  40. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (100) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    My dad called them gin mills.
    Back to the topic, I remember bars that that had dark were nice to find. Sometimes I didn't know what beer it was. You would just order a dark. Into the 90's at least, Portuguese restaurants in Newark had small white tap handles that just said porter.
     
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