Most influential beers of all time

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by marquis, Jan 12, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Poo-Bah (3,058) May 29, 2005 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    He didn't say IPA, he said DIPA.
  2. DocJitsu

    DocJitsu Devotee (477) Dec 28, 2009 Florida

    Pabst laid the groundwork for beer in America. So we have the Pabst family to thank for how things originally began. Sam Adams Boston Lager (as foul as it is) helped span the chasm between macro-lagers and craft brews. Sierra Nevada (the only one of these three that actually appears on the list) helped to further the effort of the craft beer movement. And did one heck of a job of it at that!
  3. inkdemention

    inkdemention Initiate (139) Nov 17, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    pliny...for sure. eclipse ec for the dark stuff
  4. marquis

    marquis Crusader (758) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    jmdrpi likes this.
  5. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,412) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    He actually discusses his choice of a different Brewer's Hefe in the discussion section below the second list. Can't remember all of the reason, but part of it was that Weihenstephan brewed a completely different version 900 years ago.

    I agree with you that Weihenstephan deserves a spot on the list.
  6. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (525) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    He's the man. My list would have been so much more shit.
  7. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (525) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    It's there, just under a different name: Barclay Perkins Russian Imperial Stout.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  8. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,702) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    So much for me to learn and I appreciate being taught by one who knows. :slight_smile:
  9. puboflyons

    puboflyons Poo-Bah (4,373) Jul 26, 2008 New Hampshire

    It depends on how you define influential. Beers that brewers emulate are influential to a degree, stylewise. To me the most influential beers are the crafts that started showing up in the 1980''s such as Anchor Steam and Catamount because they pioneered the whole craft movement.
  10. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Poo-Bah (3,058) May 29, 2005 Ohio
    Beer Trader

  11. marquis

    marquis Crusader (758) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Point is-and was made in the original article-does the influence come from the original or from the populariser?
  12. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    From our point of view today Anchor and others were crucial to the craft beer movement. But the craft beer movement is only one cog in the mechanism of 200+ years of beer evolution.
    vurt likes this.
  13. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,670) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    SA Boston Lager kickstarted the craft beer revolution
  14. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,751) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)


    Fullers made high abv beer with tons of American hops (specifically Oregon) in the 1890s.
    SD-Alefan and jmw like this.
  15. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,751) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Yeah but this is also a site with like 90% US membership so it's not surprising to be honest.
  16. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    surprised guinness didn't make the list. It introduced dark beer to mainstream market of many countries.
  17. macster

    macster Devotee (481) Dec 16, 2003 Florida

    Although a regional beer, the original Ballantine IPA out of Newark, NJ was a pioneer brew. A huge American style IPA presenting a big hop aroma and bitterness with a subtle sweet beady malt background. Was aged in wooden barrels long before barrel aging became popular. Ballantine closed its doors in the early 70's and was bought out by Falstaff. Although the IPA was still produced the barrel aging was discontinued. This IPA would hold up to any top notch IPA on the US market today!!
    Zimbo likes this.
  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Hey, I loved the stuff, too, and still miss it but in the interest of the truth...

    Ballantine distributed nationally in it's peak years (late 40's-early '60's) - though the beer stayed mostly on the East Coast, the ales made it to the Mid-West, West Coast and even Alaska. I've got ads from most every state for Ballantine Ale, and photos of stacks of cases of the IPA at a Dallas, TX distributor in the 1950's. (I even drank a Newark-brewed Ballantine in a L.A. bar in the 1970's).

    As for "pioneering", Ballantine was but one of dozens of US brewers in the post-Repeal era still brewing IPA's, Stock Ales, October Ales and Stouts.

    The Ballantine IPA and Brown Stout were both labeled "Aged in the Wood One Year" but those beers weren't aged in barrels (and certainly not used spirit barrels, like today) but in large wooden aging casks. Many US brewers still used wood into the 50's and 60's and beyond for fermentation and aging tanks. Those used for the IPA were probably similar to these 100 barrel casks that held aging IPA at C. Feigenspan Brewing Co. also in Newark.


    Ballantine bought next door Feigenspan during WWII and absorbed it's buildings into its complex - I imagine those same casks would likely have then been used for Ballantine India Pale Ale. Ballantine also had larger 800 bbl. wooden tanks, as well.

    After the Ballantine labels were purchased by Falstaff and moved to their Narragansett brewery in Cranston, RI they continued to age the IPA in wood - though the aging time was continually shortened during that two decade period, and once they closed Cranston and moved the ales to Ft. Wayne, the IPA reputedly was only fermented in wood (cypress). After Ft. Wayne closed and S&P merged the Falstaff brands into Pabst, the final batches of IPA were brewed in Milwaukee (mid-1990's). Not sure what the situation was at that brewery (the IPA itself was pretty sad by then).
    Roguer, Zimbo and cavedave like this.
  19. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (825) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have read that those tanks were lined with parifin wax. The beer never touched the wood. Do you know if that is true?
  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    In the US during that era, from everything I've read, all wooden vessels - kegs, fermentation tanks, lagering/aging casks - were typically coated with some sort of neutral material. Pitch for kegs, lacquer for large tanks but also beeswax, paraffin, shellac, varnish, "pitch enamel" etc. 100 Years of Brewing has a few pages on the procedure in the US brewers at the turn of the 19th century (and mentions how US brewers by then differed from German brewers which still pitched large vessels).

    Certainly that would have been the case after Repeal, even for the remaining ale brewers. Wooden casks would not have had a life expectancy of 50 years or more with their interiors being constantly exposed to beer nor did US brewers by then want to risk their beer picking up infections, "wood" flavors, charred flavors, etc. Check out all the different products offered by brewers' supply house, Dehl & Stein (first page - coincidentally, also in Newark) sold to coat both wood and steel vessels in US breweries in 1950. Even the first steel kegs in the US were pitched, before stainless steel was adopted.

    This concept that aging beer in wooden barrels to pick up wood flavors or in used wine or spirit barrels to pick up those flavors is somehow "traditional" in the US industry is just one more craft brewers' myth. (Note- I am not discussing UK or Belgian brewing practices). Certainly that was not the case both after Repeal and even before - for the last part of the 19th century, once Pasteur's work was understood and adopted by the US brewing industry. I think you would have been out on the street if you had told a US brewery owner you wanted to age his ale or lager in used wine or whiskey barrels or desired the beer to pick up "bugs" and infect his beer that was brewed with his cultured yeast that had been kept pure by the most modern scientific methods known at the time.

    There is a bit of irony that Ballantine today is seen as this "retro/traditional" brewery as opposed to its "modern/ industrial" rivals like AB, Schlitz and Pabst - based mostly on the styles they brewed. During their heyday, they were noted as one of the most modern, scientific brewing companies. At Repeal, the brewery had been bought by the two Badenhausen brothers - both engineers by trade (chemical and mechanical, respectively). They stressed that their brewmaster worked for them (not vice versa) and that the brewer was but one member of the brewery's "technical team" which also included chemists and engineers, and even they called themselves a "laboratory controlled manufacturer".

    All that said, the company still found it advantageous to long age some of it ales and stout "in the wood" -their famous Burton Ale, aged solera-style for 10-20 years, was said to be personally selected by the Badenhausens.
    Roguer, Cascade77, Zimbo and 2 others like this.
  21. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

  22. GennyCreamAle

    GennyCreamAle Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2009 New York

    Was Ballantine aging their ales to replicate the aging that occurred during the 'voyages'? I am not seeing any indication that Bow Brewery aged their ales purposefully. Also, would brits have had the opportunity to enjoy October beer fresh (as in having fresh export ale)?
  23. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,346) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    In the homebrewing world there is the camp that says they remember oak flavors, and there are some that do not. I now wonder if they picked up some of the pitch character and think that was oak?

    I finally made a Ballantine IPA clone from a recipe Jeff Renner had. It is maturing right now in two corny kegs. I plan to dry hop half with Bullion, the other half with its sister Brewers Gold. I had thought about a light oak treatment on some, but will have to ponder doing that now. If I do it will only be a gallon or so, and it will go to a club event where a few of the greybeards that remember Ballantines can taste it with and without oak.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  24. TheLostGringo

    TheLostGringo Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2011 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    As far as I am concerned Guinness, Anchor Steam and Sam Adams Boston Lager all belong on the list and have been extremely important in the growth of the American Craft industry (obviously not as much for the many under 30 BA's) but for those of us who are older these were often gateway beers.
    keithmurray likes this.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Oh, yeah, I agree and I've read such descriptions for years as well in articles and books. You'll notice that in all that text, I never say one way or another if Ballantine's giant casks and wooden aging tanks were lined or not, just that in the US industry it was standard to do so. I will say that if they DIDN'T coat them, it would have been very difficult for them to be maintained and kept free of infection, and to have had such an apparently long life. And, since Ballantine was among the largest breweries in the US at the time ('40's-60's) using untreated wood would probably have been note-worthy enough for it to be discussed in industry publications of the era or since. There are still people in the industry that worked at Ballantine and Falstaff/Narragansett and it would be interesting to have their input.

    The only example I can think of is from a Lew Bryson article in All About Beer (July, '09) in which he quotes ex-Ballantine official John Brzezinski (who also worked at Lone Star and ran the short-lived Heileman spin-off, Evansville Brewing Co. in the 1990's) saying the IPA and Burton ales were aged in wooden tanks "... lined with mammet [brewer's pitch]".

    So, yeah, the only conclusion I come to is that the brewers and drinkers all tasted something in a long aged in wood ale that they didn't in other ales. In the case of the breweries, given the expensive and labor involved in maintaining the wooden vessels, I have to think that they would not have simply continued to use them purely for marketing reasons.
    Zimbo and Bitterbill like this.
  26. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,346) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The beer on the wood for that long would make it prime for infection. Another problem with wood is that you can get beerstone built up. Removing the pitch by steam heating and then relining the vessel would remove any beerstone build up on the pitch.

    Thanks for the quote.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    What era are you asking about? Really, P. Ballantine & Sons had two very different eras - different ownership, different ale and lager portfolios, even different breweries (their original ale brewery on the Passaic River closed a few years before Prohibition and never re-opened). Ballantine's India Pale Ale before Prohibition was just one of maybe close to a dozen they brewed over their 80 years or so.

    In the pre-Pro era in the US, ale brewers in the US brewed two basic catagories of ale - stock ales (long aged ales, like IPA's, October ale, old musty ale, Burton ale, etc.) and present-use ales - sparking ales, cream ales, etc., that more or less tried to appeal to the lager beer market that had overwhelmed the ale market. An IPA and the other aged ale styles would have been aged (I suppose) just because that's how it was done. Just as lager beers were lagered for 3-6 months and just as the Guinness Stout and Bass Ale were long aged in that era.

    The mythology of the "long sea voyage" would be used by US brewers in the post-Repeal era - the last version of Falstaff's BIPA labels even incorporated it right on the front.

    Bitterbill likes this.
  28. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,702) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The bottle I have only has FT Wayne listed and "aged in wood" on the top label.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, during the Falstaff>Pabst era, the labels and bottles were constantly changing - dropping/adding cities, new design, different/no neck labels, and they used US stubbies, two different "select" style bottles and finally a "heritage" bottle out of Milwaukee for the final batches.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,702) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Hey, S, how well would you think Ballantine IPA would do with today's beer drink...errr..BAs? If it was closer to the original formula than what it was at the end of its days, obviously. I'm just picking your brain for your opinion.:wink:
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    An interesting list from Martyn Cornell. I liked the part in his blog where he states: “Judged purely on the size of the effect they had on subsequent beer history, I reckon they are:”

    I am convinced that the only people who use the word “reckon” are Brits and Cowboys!:wink:

  32. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,702) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Aussies use reckon a lot.:slight_smile:
  33. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,043) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I reckon we South Carolinians do, too.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I guess I will have to expand my list to Brits, Aussies and Cowboys!?!

    I consider South Carolinians as just being a subset of Cowboys.:wink:

  35. BrownAleMale

    BrownAleMale Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2011 Wisconsin
    ¡Bad Trader! Beer Trader

    I was gonna mention the same 2 because they are a lot of peoples "gateway beer"
  36. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (4,811) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    As someone who admittedly doesn't know much brewing history, I enjoyed the read of Martyn's list. Good info in there.

    As for the original list, I think it wouldn't have been so bad if it had stated that it was a list of the beers with the biggest influence on the current American Craft Beer market. I think often many beer writers and BA's lose the perspective about how small this niche market really is compared to global beer consumption. Craft beer is only roughly 5% of US beer, producing about 11 million barrels in 2010. According to this article, global beer consumption will hit 2 billion hectoliters a year in 2013, or about 1.7 billion barrels. By my math, that means US craft beer is about 0.6% of the world beer market.
  37. factsnotfantasy

    factsnotfantasy Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2013

    Just about the best IPA we ever had--and we've been longing for it for years! Have tried every other IPA we could find, and many are great, but, maybe because we can't actually compare the taste anymore, just having our memories to go by, Ballantine is still our Holy Grail. We have a few bottles left, just to treasure...
  38. teal

    teal Initiate (77) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    June of 1991, Chief Oshkosh Red Lager by the Mid-Coast Brewing Company of Oshkosh - craft brewery was doing cans. Pre-dates what I can find on Oskar Blues which may not be the same as influential. Even tho OB claims to be the first to do it.


    The first I've seen/read of a (US anyway - don't know about on the continent) brewery doing cans was Krueger Brewing of Newark, NJ. That was 1935.
  39. teal

    teal Initiate (77) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

  40. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Weren't those cans contract-brewed at Stevens Point Brewing Co.? I think there were a few other examples of "craft" beers that had been canned by an old-line contract brewery (a PNW beer IIRC- maybe done at Heileman/Stroh's Blitz Weinhard or Pabst-Oly?). Oskar Blues claim is pretty much the first in-house canning done at a "micro/craft" brewery.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.