Your Beer Time Machine

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cavedave, Nov 20, 2021.

  1. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,046) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Our favorite beverage has a past that impacts and reflects human history in too many ways to fit into this paragraph. We can think of the changes that have happened, and wonder about them. but we cannot go back to visit, for example, the moment beer was discovered. Nor can we get a true sense of beer history in the 5,000 years since then leading up to now, other than discoveries of ancient relics, recipes, and writings. Even those times in beer history documented by photo and video can't truly be recreated or understood the way they deserve to be.

    Here on BA we speak of those times more often than any other pages I visit. We seem to be aware of, and seek to know about, beer history. I know I often think what it was like at different times in the past about which I've learned. I've yearned to try many of those beers, and visit many of those times.

    So, if you had an unlimited expense account, and free, easy travel for a month's time, where and when would you go in your Beer Time Machine? Where would you take it in beer history for a month of beer exploration? Why? What would you do when you got there? Inquiring minds want to know.
  2. beer_beer

    beer_beer Devotee (478) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    Very good idea for a thread! I would travel to the US during the prohibition, and test how that <0.5% beer really tasted. The prohibition in Finland allowed 2%, so would have to pass on that one.
    Flashy, Amendm, TongoRad and 5 others like this.
  3. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    I would want to do several trips, maybe moving back in time. I turned 21 in 1968, in Portland, OR, where flavorful beers were rare beasts. In the early 70s, friends brought me a 16 oz can of Newark Ballantine Ale that was fine, a bottle of hearty Stegmeier Porter, and some other specimens. For the first trip back, I would like to travel into the 1968 northeast US and eastern Canada where I could try a bunch of the locally brewed ales and stouts that existed at the time. I would want to compare those beers with the current crop of craft beers. Which would I prefer? And is my memory of the small sample I did try accurate?
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  4. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,030) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    As you can see, I signed up for Beer Advocate in 2006. I wonder why? What was I looking at then? I ask that because I really didn’t start using the site in full until 2012. I just wish back in 2006 something made me stick with it, rather than spend the years I did drinking swill just to get intoxicated and not enjoy my drink. I didn’t just drink Adjunct Lagers from 2006 to 2012; in fact I spent a few weeks in Europe drinking great stuff (especially in Belgium), and in 2007 I was in love with Fullers London Pride. But oh well, here I am now drinking a Kern River Class V Stout and it’s amazing. Cheers.
  5. Rug

    Rug Meyvn (1,354) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
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    Literally any time in history as long as I'm at the Cantillon brewery for a whole month. Unlimited Fou Foune and other lambic
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  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,046) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Even though it's the obvious one, I would go back to the moment beer was discovered, and get a taste of the first beer. I know I'd have no other beers to discover in my month in the far past, but I have so often thought about what that first beer must have been like, and how it came to be, that I'd sacrifice the obvious pleasures of certain other times in beer history to be there and taste it.
  7. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,410) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I think it would be interesting to go back to the 18th century when many beer styles were emerging. Though of course they wouldn't know them as "styles", just local beer.
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  8. Nugganooch

    Nugganooch Poo-Bah (2,144) Jan 13, 2011 California
    Society Trader

    OG Alpine Nelson - I always new it was a special brew and took it for granted living in San Diego. I would go back to those times in a heartbeat if I had one of dem hot tub time machines. Looking at my 2011 review scored it a 4.64 rating rdev +4.3%
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  9. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,030) Dec 11, 2006 California
    Society Trader

    In 2012 I was at a craft beer bar in Orange when I first heard of Alpine and Nelson. I chatted up the guy next to me, he told me about Alpine, and then went to his truck to get me a Nelson. I went home and froze it to drink it as soon as possible and it was glorious. There was a silky backbone to it that I’ve never had in an IPA. Glorious.
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  10. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (13,990) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    I'd like to go back about 12-15 years to when I had to hunt for the beers that I now see store shelves every day. It was so fun to cross the state line in to Kansas and see rows of bombers from Great Divide, Avery, Boulder and other breweries that hadn't gone as far east as Missouri. Or going the other way and seeking out Dogfish Head and other East Coast beers while in Illinois. The thrill of merely traveling one state away and seeing so many new beers on shelves was awesome.

    Also, Green Flash Rayon Vert would still exist!!!
  11. Beerspeakspeoplemumble

    Beerspeakspeoplemumble Initiate (20) Sep 12, 2021 Connecticut

    Having worked in the industry for 10+ years (but not longer) I think It would be cool to just go back and re-discover it all over again. Back when Tree House was in that little shed, or waiting in line @ NEBCO and literally having a bottle share in the parking lot. An earlier period in Germany probably wouldn't suck either.
  12. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,177) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    As a simple answer to your query I would say Bavaria and adjacent areas of the modern Czech Republic and Austria. But in an H.G. Wells version of the "way back" machine, I would like to drop in on the tribal goings on back around 400 B.C. in the same general area. I would like to see early barley cultivation, overall brewing methods and possibly learn about the birth of the great local beech-smoked brews. I would try to not talk about politics or religion.......
  13. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,754) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    I think I would want to go back to somewhere between the mid-80s and mid-90s. I'd want to have Sherman and Peabody access to Grossman and Calagione (mostly) with perhaps some day trips to a few others. I think it'd be great to just be there to watch their creative juices flowing and see exactly what they were thinking about and what they were trying (and failing) to do.
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  14. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Meyvn (1,167) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I'm fine in the here and now. The US is a freaking beer wonderland. There's more beer being made than I could ever even try.
  15. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,322) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    San Fran summer of ‘67 drinking Anchor Steam and experiencing all that was the California dream that has since disappeared and late 60’s music explosion and hippie counterculture etc. notable mentions, Portland Oregon 2000-2005 or Vermont around 2010 when those scenes were just emerging as craft beer meccas in the US before most people around the US realized what great craft beer could be.
    #15 bubseymour, Nov 20, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
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  16. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,458) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I'd like to go back to about ten years ago when it seemed Belgian and German imports were more readily available.

    On the time machine, I'd like to go check out English, German and Belgian regional breweries.
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  17. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (121) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey

    I think it would be interesting to go back before Louis Pasteur did his research and taste how beers were then. Pretty sure I would not enjoy them much.
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  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, you might but it never sounded like Fritz Maytag wanted to go back to that period of Anchor Steam Beer:
    from Lew Bryson's Interview with Maytag. Page down a bit to the section that starts with "MA: Was there a low point after you bought the brewery?" for the story of Maytag trying to find good kegs of Steam Beer to serve at an event at the brewery.
  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,253) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Oh my, it's the Way Back Machine! I'm in if I get to meet Rocky and Bullwinkle too.

    I'd like to go back to the year that the Mayflower landed and see just how desperate those folks were to end their trip in Massachusetts. I'd also be curious to see how bad the beer might have tasted on that last day after no refrigeration during that trip.
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  20. TheEpeeist

    TheEpeeist Zealot (538) Nov 5, 2008 Pennsylvania

    i'd go back to 2006 when i started seeking out good beer. one of the stops on my Philly to NYC beer runs was the Somerville Super Saver in NJ. they had multiple bins of vintage lambics and gueuzes just collecting dust. also lots of old De Dolle and other rare belgians. back then i just wanted to try one of everything that was highly rated so rarely bought multiples. even so i still rang up charges of $300+ for each visit. when i finally got around to tasting these gems and understanding the rarity, the store was cleaned out. what a cellar i could have had!
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  21. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,183) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Common misconception this time of year. It wasn't the pilgrims who ran low on booze, it was the crew of the Mayflower.

    They were low on all provisions and decided to unload their passengers early so they could get back to England before everything ran out.
    #21 steveh, Nov 20, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  22. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,654) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I would travel back to the year 1890 and spend two weeks in British Pubs then another two in German Biergartens.
  23. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,654) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    It should be mentioned that Pilgrim Leader William Bradford, who also served as the first Governor, kept a detailed journal in which he described the reason for ending the journey in MA was. "Our victuals were spent, especially our beer."
  24. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Ulterior motive for going to SF in the 60's. For Portland I would set the time machine earlier, so I could talk (again) to Charles Coury of Cartright, the Widmer brothers in their Lovejoy Street brewery, the McMenamins, and impresario Fred Eckhardt when the beer scene was just getting started there.
    #24 moodenba, Nov 20, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
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  25. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,317) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Yakima, Washington, 1982, (Bert) Grant's Brew Pub (the first brewpub in the US post prohibition). Oh, Perfect Porter...
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  26. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,906) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    On a personal level, I'd like to travel back to the early 90s to join my aunt and uncle (who passed when I was 20 or 21) on one of their many road trips seeking out good beer and good camping. They were instrumental in my introduction to good beer and my aunt is still one of my favorite people to share a drink with. I'd just love a chance to get into a proper session of good beers with my uncle as well. He was a remarkable guy and a fascinating conversationalist.

    From a beer nerd perspective I think I'd like to visit either central Europe or the UK in the late 19th century. It would be cool to try traditional wood kilned malt beers and the then novel beers made with malts kilned free of smoke. Im also very curious to see how much local beer changEd from valley to valley
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    Well, if Mr. Peabody would permit me to use his Wayback time machine I would travel back three times to the 1800’s to drink three ‘classic’ American beers:

    IPA brewed in America

    My first trip would be to Newark, NJ in the latter 1800’s to drink the original Ballantine IPA. IPA of the 1800’s is often viewed as a British thing but there were a number of US breweries in addition to Ballantine (e.g., C. H. Evans, Frank Jones, Christian Feigenspan and Matthew Vassar) brewing IPAs. My desire would be to taste the Ballantine IPA.

    The first AAL beer?

    Budweiser is now associated with Anheuser-Busch but the very first Budweiser was based upon a recipe by Carl Conrad who had his beer brewed in 1876 at what was then called the Busch Brewery in St. Louis. I suspect that this original Budweiser was a tasty beer.


    My third trip would be to St. Louis to drink the original Michelob beer in 1896. The brewery was now called Anheuser-Busch and the reported motivation for brewing Michelob was to brew a beer like those Adolphus Busch tasted during a visit to Bohemia. The original Michelob was an all-malt Bohemian Pilsner. According to a magazine article from the 1920’s, “Michelob was perhaps the best beer ever made in America and the most expensive; it sold for twenty-five cents a glass. In New York, at one bar at least, it was sold for forty cents by a barkeep who told his patrons that it was imported.” I would be willing to bet that Michelob of the late 1800’s and into the earlier 1900’s was an excellent beer.

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  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dave, given your interest in ancient beers I would strongly recommend that you read the book Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-created by Dr. Patrick McGovern. I read it this past summer and I found it to be both very informative and educational. And for those who are homebrewers each chapter provides a 5 gallon homebrew recipe to brew a reconstructed version of an ancient beer/beverage.

    I have become friends with Pat over the past year exchanging a number of e-mails back & forth. He is a fascinating fellow.

  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Even though Busch had become a full-fledged partner in his father-in-law's brewery by then, the name of brewing company was still E. Anheuser Co., and wouldn't be changed to Anheuser -Busch Brewing Assn. until 1879. Also, St. Louis Lager (below) was their first adjunct (rice) brew, and most accepted sources noted the Budweiser recipe was developed by Busch and his brewmaster Irwin Spoule, at the request of Busch's friend and grocer/wine importer, Carl Conrad. Ogle, for instance, wrote "Conrad knew nothing about making beer, but he knew a market trend when he saw one and asked Busch to to create 'a very pale, fine beer'."

    #29 jesskidden, Nov 20, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will drink that beer too!

    After traveling 145ish years why just drink one brand!?!:beers:

    beer_beer and PapaGoose03 like this.
  31. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (349) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I wouldn't mind visiting Munich anno 1844 to try the beer which launched thousands of breweries across Europe and the world, essentially the IPA of its day, the Bavarian lager beer. Then make a beeline to Stockholm where Tyska bryggeriet (the German brewery) were busy brewing three kinds of Bavarian beer (BÄJERSKT ÖL): bitter, less bitter and double. If I had time over I would make a visit to New York to taste that city's lager beers as well.
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Patrik, you would prefer to drink this beer vs. the first Pilsner Urquell of 1842? The beer that started the Pale Lager 'trend' which represents the vast majority of beers consumed today?

    I am personally not a fan of the way that Miller Lite is 'marketed' since it is an AAL but...


    Na Zdravi
    officerbill likes this.
  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    You're in luck. No time machine necessary (maybe a slight suspension of one's suspicions about "original recipes").
    Anheuser-Busch To Brew St. Louis Lager For First Time In Over 100 years
    OTOH, you do have to go to St. Louis to get it...

    Try some of Lemp's beer while you' re there, probably easier to find, too, since they were brewing more beer in St. Louis (61k bbl) than AB (45k bbl) was at the time (1877),
    #33 jesskidden, Nov 20, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, couldn't I just set the Wayback machine to just travel 1 second in the past while setting the location to St. Louis? :thinking_face:

    That would save me in airfare! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    Sure, three brands is even better!

    But I would really make the effort to drink the original Bud considering the 'rarity' (45k bbl) effect!:beer:

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  35. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    The 19th century Muncheners were all dark beer. Today the style isn't too common. Can you even get a dunkel at Oktoberfest these days? The introduction of pale Munich lager was by Spaten in 1894 according to:
  36. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,823) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I keep thinking back to the late '70's. I don't boast much of a beer pedigree, and I never was much of a drinker. Stroh's was the usual (6%, not that 3.2 swill :wink:), and my go-to dive bar in Columbus' Brewery District had 25-cent draws of Gambrinus served in heavy glass dimpled goblets and free peanuts on the side. Life was simpler until I learned that there was beer out west that you couldn't get in Ohio. I'd love to be able to relive the first trip I took to Colorado and Wyoming. So much beautiful scenery to take in, and so much Coors to haul back east! I know there are lots of whale destinations out there, but somehow I don't think the experience would be quite the same. (And I'm pretty sure you can't get those thumb-slicer cans any more. :grinning:)
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,161) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Plus, you get to drive a cool car!

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  38. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,615) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    I too am a fan of Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Although Dudley Do-Right is more apropos. :rolling_eyes:

    Bouncing around Northern Europe from about 1,000 to 1,900, with specific visits with some ancestors. Just to chat and drink what was available, and to try a wide variety of Farmhouse and Smoked beers.

    Maybe one quick visit to Jacob Ruppert’s office late December 1919, to throw back a Knickerbocker with him and the Babe.
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  39. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,615) Feb 24, 2008 New York
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    Unless I’m mistaken; That beer came from Texarkana in les than 28hr’s.
  40. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Poo-Bah (1,823) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I’d like to try the porters that were popular before prohibition.
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