A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Alan -

Brewing encouraged by NY colonial law in 1700. Dutch Albany folk had ocean going vessels before the American Revolution.

Alan -

Zythophile has been on the trail of Albany brewing before. More about that brewing room at Taylors here.

In 1997, people went on tours of the breweries of Albany - I guess because the old information super highway had not yet been made into Web 2.0..

Alan -

A reminiscence of Albany Ale past from an article in 1845.

Alan -

Mention of Albany Ale in an Australian newspaper's travelogue of low life in NYC, circa 1865.

Malt arrives in Albany in 1644:

p. 24: The Rev. Mr. Megapolensis and family embarked, together with Abraham Staes, surgeon, Evert Pels, brewer, and a number of other freeman, farmers, and farm-servants, shortly after this, in the ship the Houttuyn, or Woodyard, which was freighted with a quantity of goods for the colonie — between two and three hundred bushels of malt for Mr. Pels — four thousand tiles, and thirty thousand stone for building—besides some vines and madder, the cultivation of which the patroon was desirous of introducing among his people.1 On the arrival of Mr. Megapolensis at Rensselaerswyck, a contract was concluded for the erection of a dwelling for himself and family, but the contractor having failed in fulfilling his agreement a house belonging to Maryn Adriaensen, constructed entirely of oak, was subsequently purchased for his use, for the sum of three hundred guilders, or one hundred and twenty dollars. Mr. Pels erected a brewery in the colonie.

p. 69: second half of the 1600s:

Rutger Jacobsen van Schoenderwoerdt, married in New Amsterdam anno 1646, Tryntje Jansen van Briestede (who died at her son's in Rosendal, in 1711). By her he had two daughters and one son. Margaret, one of the daughters, married in 1667, Jan Jansen Bleecker, who came from Meppel, province of Overyssel, to America, in 1658, and was the ancestor of the present highly respect• able Bleecker family in this state. Rutger Jacobson was a magistrate in Rensselaerswyck as early as 1648, and continued to fill that office as late as 1662, and perhaps later. He owned a vessel on the river in 1649, in which year he rented, in partnership with Goosen Gerrittsen, the Patroon's brewery, at 450 gl. a year, payable in addition one guilder for every ton of beer which they brewed. This duty amounted in the first year to 330 gl., and in the following season they worked up 1,500 schepels of malt.

p. 49: wheat malt in 1749:

They sow wheat in the neighborhood of Albany, with great advantage. From one bushel they get twelve sometimes : if the soil be good, they get twenty bushels. If their crop amounts only to ten bushels from one, they think it very trifling. The inhabitants of the country round Albany are Dutch and Germans. The Germans live in several great villages, and sow great quantities of wheat, which is brought to Albany : and from thence they send many yachts laden with flour to New York. The wheat flour from Albany is reckoned the best in all North America, except that from Sopus or Kingston, a place between Albany and New York. All the bread in Albany is made of wheat. At New York they pay the Albany flour with several shillings more per hundred weight, than that from other places. Rye is likewise sown here, but not so generally as wheat. They do not sow much barley here, because they do not reckon the profits very great. Wheat is so plentiful that they make malt of it.

1. Just parking notes now...

Writing in the middle of the eighteenth century, Governor Glenn, of South Carolina, explained the apparent diminution of the colony's shipping thus:

"Our trade with New York and Philadelphia was of this sort, draining us of all the little money and bills that we could gather from other places, for their bread, flour, beer, hams, bacon, and other things of their produce, all which, except beer, our new townships begin to supply us with which are settled with very industrious and consequently thriving Germans."

2. some mention of taxation of beer in New Netherlands in the mid-1600s:

...soon after this, on the 29th of May, 1644, a privateer, the La Garce, Captain Blauvelt, having been commissioned by the Governor to cruize in the West Indies, returned to Manhattan with two rich Spanish prizes.

Director Kieft now proposed to replenish the Provisional Treasury by an excise on wine, beer, brandy, and beaver-skins. This was opposed by his official advisers, or the so-called " Eight Men," because they thought such an act would be oppressive, and the right of taxation belonged to sovereignty, and not to an inferior officer in New Netherland. An old account says that the Director was "very much offended," and sharply reprimanded the people's representatives, declaring, " I have more power here than the Company itself; therefore I may do and suffer in this country what I please ; I am my own master." * * * Remaining immovable, however, he three days afterward arbitrarily ordered " that on each barrel of beer tapped, an excise duty of two guilders should be paid, one-half by the brewer, and one-half by the publican." But those burghers who did not retail it were to pay only onehalf as much. On every quart of brandy and wine also, four stivers were to be paid, and on every beaver-skin one guilder. Besides the excise on the beer, the brewers were also required to make a return of the quantity they brewed ; but upon their sternly refusing to pay the unjust tribute, judgment was obtained against them, and their beer " given as a prize to the soldiers."

About this time, the ship Slue Cock arrived from Curacoa with one hundred and thirty Dutch soldiers, quite a relief to the New Netherlanders against their savage foe.

Notwithstanding all the efforts to restrain illicit traffic, it still continued at Rensselaerswyck (Albany), where three or four thousand furs had been carried away by unlicensed traders.