McLean’s Pub Peel Street

I’m now in McLean Pub, an old-time Montreal tavern of prewar origin as the walls, chairs, and ceiling attest.

It was probably built in the 1920s. In that decade, the urban tavern in Quebec, whose specialty was beer by the glass, was created from whole cloth, by legislation. Before that public drinking was restricted to hotels and restaurants.

This was one of the student hangouts I knew back around 1970.

Although, it had more a business vibe, but it was one of the resorts for us at end of week, or exams.

Labatt 50 ale was served then, and still. Tasting good today, almost wheaty-like, and perfumed.

 

 

 

 

La Porter, la Ville Natale

Quick trip to my home town, Montreal. I left a long time ago, but some small part of me is still here.

There is almost no time to shop for beer, so I brought a couple of cans.

Collective Arts, of Hamilton, Ontario, makes a fine porter, English-styled as the best are, imo.

The first swallow reminded me of the old Porter Champlain, sold in Quebec into the 1980s.

Actually I think Collective Arts’ is better, but is on the same vector, “le meme ordre d’idees”.

(Apologies for lack of diacritical symbols. Using my phone).

 

Brewing Supplies in Prewar Poland. Part III.

Whence Mammut?

In Part I, I discussed mammut, the resin to line beer barrels and for other brewery applications. I stated that as far as I knew, beer historical studies had not uncovered the maker’s name or place of manufacture.

I’ve since found the ad below, which answers the question. It appeared in a 1938 issue of the Polish brewing journal Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy.

The ad states that Richard Bosche Chemical Works in Marienfelde, Germany produced mammut, with various applications specified, e.g. to seal concrete.

 

 

A line in the ad suggests Richard Bosche was the only authorized producer. Perhaps the formula was devised by an inventor or firm that licensed it for production.

Hessenmuller is still representing mammut from his base in Bydgoszcz, Poland – part of Prussia before WW I. In older ads, the given name is Karol, not Karl as here. Presumably it was the same person, or a family relation.

The Longevity of Sinamar

Another ad, in the same journal in 1939, touted Sinamar. Many similar ads appeared in the interwar Polish brewing press.

 

 

Due in part to the Weyermann name, known everywhere in brewing today for its specialty malts, I realized I had seen mention of Sinamar earlier.

It is a widely used aid to colour beers. Weyermann’s website explains what Sinamar is, and is not: it is a condensed beer, not a condensed wort like malt extract. An impressive range of modern beers use the product, as explained in the site.

Sinamar therefore is compliant with the current Reinheitsgebot in Germany, familiarly known as the Beer Purity Law, which originated in the 1500s. The law requires bottom-fermented beers brewed in Germany, to be made with malt, hops, yeast, and water.

The 1939 ad notes the product is lawful for production of bottom-fermented beers, an implied reference to this subject.

For a snapshot of the law’s history and current purport, see Jeff Alworth’s recent essay.

Sinamar, according to the historical outline in the website, was invented by Weyermann in 1902 in the historic brewing city of Bamberg, in Bavaria. Weyermann was founded in 1879 by the Johann Baptist mentioned in the ad.

He started as a supplier of coffee substitutes – grain and later malt were ground to emulate coffee. But the business soon pivoted to supplying breweries.

To expand production of Sinamar, in 1902 he set up a colour malt brewery in Potsdam, in the Berlin hinterlands in Prussia. This was to serve German Prussia as then constituted, Poland, and parts further east.

The Potsdam factory was damaged in 1945 and did not revive after the war. The vacuum boilers were moved to the main operation in Bamberg, where the company continues today, still family-owned.

A Weyermann representative explains in a YouTube video how Sinamar works, specifying the formula to achieve different colouring levels in the EBC and Lovibond scales.

Some craft and home brewers have used Sinamar to produce Black India Pale Ale, but it is used for other types of beers as well.

There cannot be many prewar industrial brands still vibrant in the market today; Sinamar is one. It shows, too, that a product designed for a very different beer world, when Hapsburg and Russian monarchs strode their parts of Europe, can still find relevance today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brewing Supplies in Prewar Poland. Part II.

Introduction

I’ll consider now ads in a December 1926 issue of Przemysł Piwowarski, or “Brewing Industry”. This journal preceded the other I’ve also been discussing, it was shorter and more business-oriented.

It sheds further light on inputs used by Polish brewing in this period. With other sources, we get a glimpse into contemporary Polish society and commerce.

 

 

Edward Lutz – Firm and Products

Edward Lutz in Krakow advertised frequently in these journals from 1925 to 1939. In the ad above (p. 375), exterior coatings for barrels and vats are advertised. There were different colours: brown, yellow and gray are mentioned.

A worker is painting barrel ends. I’ll discuss presently the reasons, but first background on Edward Lutz. Lutz was a well-known brand of paints, varnishes, and enamels.

As the ad shows, there were Lutz factories in other European cities including Budapest, Paris, and Prague. The Polish business was profiled in Tygodnik Illustrowany, or “Illustrated Weekly”, in 1930, see p. 454.

(This magazine, according to its Wikipedia profile, was a long-running, Warsaw-based publication. It covered a full range of arts, culture, scientific and business stories. Unusually, it remained apolitical).

Some points from the story: the factory in Krakow was founded in 1924 and quickly became known for its products, producing annually 500,000 kg. of product by 1930. Until its founding Polish industry was not notable in the chemicals sector.

The factory, while Polish-owned, held licenses for the various Lutz brands, evidently Implak was one. Presumably these originated elsewhere, possibly Germany.

Numerous industries were serviced including hospitals, auto firms (varnishes and paints for cars), breweries, as well as private and military needs. The story noted that the products used by breweries had no impact on beer flavour.

To  Paint or not to Paint

Now, why would barrel heads be painted? For English practice, Boak and Bailey offered these notes in February, 2017. I commented, with others, raising further points.

I would summarize it this way: there were different reasons over time, and for different breweries. In England a brewery often did this to show that it was the owner, to show “its colours”. This was an obvious advantage for a publican seeking to send back different brewers’ casks to the right source.

But in an age before universal literacy, such devices helped to distinguish and market a firm’s brands.

In Ireland, Guinness used different colours on barrel ends to show the different brands being barrelled.

An English painted cask is shown on the cover of the 1970s book Beers of Britain by Warren Knock and Conal Gregory. Here, the stave ends are red and head is black and white:

 

 

In 1906 F.F. Haldane’s article “Casks: Their Manufacture and Treatment” suggested brewers paint the ends in a way to distinguish American and European oak types, where the former was used for porter, and the latter for pale ale. See at p. 692.

The background was that most English brewers and probably most Irish ones, would not use the vanillin-flavoured American wood for ale.

But many had no objection to filling American casks with porter. Guinness is the best known case.

Possibly the paint schemes even distinguished among European oaks, depending on a brewery’s preferences and practice.

Yet another factor: depending how the cask head was produced, and especially if sawn vs. hand-fashioned, the beer might leak through cut ends of capillaries. A thin coat of paint, made not to affect the flavour of the beer, guarded against this.

On this latter point, see the Jancis Robinson (wine writer) reference in my comment to the Boak and Bailey post.

Also in Przemysł Piwowarski

On the same page as the ads above, Karol Hessenmuller advertised a range of cooling solutions and fermentation and other tanks for smaller breweries in particular.

We saw mention of him in Part I. A Warsaw supplier advertised gauges and other small tools, brass and other.

And a table of prevailing barley prices appeared, a regular feature in the journal understandably. I was pleased to see Winnipeg mentioned.

Apart from Canada being an emerging granary, there may have been another reason why western Canadian grain was on Polish brewing radar.

A substantial number of Galicians had emigrated there for farming opportunities earlier in the century. This group was, I believe, mainly Ukrainian, but probably some Poles had joined this trek, and anyway the influence might be no less patent for that.

Part III of this series follows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brewing Supplies in Prewar Poland. Part I.

The beer industry cannot exist with a secondary industry devoted to its input needs, everything from malt and hops to tanks, barrels, and cleansers.

A page of trade ads in a 1925 issue of the Polish journal Przemysł Piwowarski, or Brewing Industry, sheds light on a period of technological advance. Old and newer technologies jostle for attention, often in the same ad.

 

 

Mammut, an obscure topic even to beer historians, was a proprietary coating applied to the interior of vats and barrels. Mammut was used not just in brewing but a broad range of the food industries.

The name is German for mammoth. Some ads were accompanied by a drawing of the extinct mammal, so it is clear this was a trade or coined term.

Traditionally, brewers on the Continent, and in the U.S. under their influence, applied a coating of pitch to barrels, lagering vats, and other vessels. This is a concentrated, softened extract of conifer tree resin, also used widely in industry.

Brewers heated and applied it to coat the interior to form a barrier from the wood.

The idea was to prevent both a raw wood taste from entering the beer and souring of the beer from hard-to-clean beer residues in the wood fissures.

The process was tedious and cumbersome, as vessels needed to be re-pitched regularly. There were also problems with chipping and particles entering the beer.

Conifer pitches also imparted some odour to the beer. Some brewers made capital of this, e.g. American Budweiser in 1899 (a mild “pitchy” taste was lauded).

Increasingly from 1900 the industry wanted to avoid such “extraneous” influences. Mammut was one answer, a proprietary organic compound. Its asserted value: a tight sealant that did not need re-application, and imparted no taste to the beer.

Before Prohibition, ads appeared for mammut in American food industry journals, including for brewing. I have not seen one that actually states the place of origin of the product.

It was probably Germany. As noted, mammut means mammoth in German. The 1925 ad does not use the Polish spelling, for example (mamut).

The ad lists as well a representative with a German-sounding surname, in a city, Bydgoszcz, that was Prussian before WW I. Whether he was connected to the firm that originated mammut I cannot say.

The ad suggests the product dated from 1905, as it notes use by industry for 20 years. I have not found trade ads before 1905, at any rate.

A detailed description of mammut was written by its American representative, Paul Hassack in New Jersey. An advertorial-type piece, it appeared in 1917 in the Vinegar Bulletin. It noted in part:

 

 

Brewer’s pitch, the old-fashioned kind, nonetheless continued in use, at least until metal overtook wood for barrels. Metal also supplanted wood for aging tanks with other materials sometimes used, enamelled glass was one.

In the Polish journal we see an ad for both metal and wood barrels. Krupp of Germany made the metal type (beczki metalowe Kruppa), capitalizing on its long experience with metallurgy to find a solution for beer brewers.

A handsome 1933 ad in the United States, via the Period Paper site, advertised this barrel, showing a sleek, well made item. Its stainless steel lining, “Silchrome”, made pitch and its substitutes redundant.

The ad claimed no impact on flavour, foam, or colour of the beer. The barrels were made in the U.S., hence evidently under license, by Ingersoll Steel.

Further ads in the Polish journal advertised cork and other closures, and pure yeast cultures, both for bottom- and top-fermented brewing.

Beer and brewing are always a strange combination of old, more recent, and cutting edge. The pendulum swings back and forth between focus on the traditional and the modern, but this is largely a matter of marketing.

The march of technology is, in other words, inexorable, for brewing of any scale. Very few wood barrels and vats are used today.

Most yeast cultures used in brewing are pure yeast cultures, vs. the mixed cultures they supplanted by the mid-1900s.

Most fermentation vessels are the cylindro-conical type.

Exceptions to these rules, there are, but to use a Polish saying, it’s as much as a cat cries, in comparative terms.

A surprisingly old technology, the crown cap, endures for the bottle, but the beer can has taken over much of that market. The beer can was devised about the same time the Krupp metal barrel was being trumpeted in Poland and the U.S.

American know-how played a key role in this case, especially via the Continental Can Company.

Our Part II follows.

 

World Beer Production Between 1913 and 1934

Polish Interwar Brewing and Malt Review

I’ve been talking for a while of helpful articles in the interwar Polish brewing journal, Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy, or Brewing and Malt Review.

Ron Pattinson has had a go at some of the data, and maybe others will too. I find the journal of particular interest for a number of reasons. Representing a smaller brewing country, developments elsewhere attracted local attention: scientific, technological, malt and hop production, beer production, excise systems.

There is a theoretical focus in the journal: lots of articles on fermentation, yeast science, hop characteristics, and other lab-based analyses or discussions.

A fairly austere tone prevails, in general. This reflects I think an old-school Continental approach, but perhaps also Polish academic conventions of the time.

British journals of the period seem more informal in tone, and American equally or more. American journals – some did continue during Prohibition – show a steady focus on the business of brewing.

Articles regularly appeared on how to save money, how especially to advertise, new product development, and other can-do strategies.

The Polish journal seems less focused on such areas although they are addressed implicitly by supplier advertisements. Equipment fabricators, hop suppliers, and dealers in enamels, cleansers, disinfectants and more trump their wares.

On the other hand, the Polish journal also carried historical pieces. The Journal of the Institute of Brewing in Britain occasionally did, but the American journals, rarely, by my canvass.

World Beer Production Between 1913 and 1934

So here is a useful table, from the September 1935 issue, dealing with beer production on a world scale for the years shown. A column is included for 1913, the year before the Great War, which makes it even more interesting.

 

 

Output is expressed in 1000s of hl.

One can see for Poland (Polska) in 1929, 2,786,000 hl which shows indeed, as I discussed the other day, that by 1937 production had fallen by half. The prewar and 1920 figures are omitted as Poland’s Second Republic hadn’t yet taken shape, and the data didn’t match up.

Just looking at the top three countries, U.S., Germany, Great Britain, significant fall-offs occurred between 1913 and 1934. Belgium is down somewhat, France actually up but not by a great deal.

And so on for each country, easy to see at a glance how they fared.

Whys and Wherefores of Decline

The toll of war and world economic slump was a big part of this story, yet in addition, changing consumption patterns had to play a role.

Beer increasingly had less of a place in industrialized, and industrializing, countries. This was due to changing habits of work and evolving conceptions of health, even fashion, e.g., slimness was increasingly valued.

This is a generalization: beer obviously gained a greater following in some countries, particularly where a beer tradition was not prevalent. Parts of southern Europe come to mind, and the Soviet Union.

A methodical study of this issue on a global basis would be a rewarding study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Briton Rates Courage Best Bitter

 review of bottled Courage Best Bitter appeared recently on YouTube, from a Briton tasting at home.

It is always interesting to hear what people say who like beer but don’t claim great expertise, as this man. As I recall the Courage beers, his impressions are pretty accurate, down to the mildness of the palate. (Taste was more pronounced back in the day, imo).

First, he notes a complex aroma compared to the typical lager, featuring malt and biscuit. He finds some lemony character, too, which may be Golding hops, but seems to want more.

He considers the beer not very bitter, but admits engagingly to no great knowledge of hops. There could be some British understatement here, as he says he expected a bigger palate based on the longevity of the Courage brand.

He identifies a “copper coins” note, and returns to this theme a number of times. I noticed the same thing in many bitters at the last Great British Beer Festival I attended, three years ago.

This undoubtedly is the yeast, or I think so. Current British top-fermenting yeasts, diverse as they may be, seem to share this characteristic. I noticed it in Guinness too when in England.

The video shows the colour well, classic amber English bitter. It’s inviting unto itself.

Courage Best is only 3.6% abv. While I’m sure it could be made to have a stronger taste, its drinkability, at that strength, favours multiple unit consumption, which he points out (“sessionable”).

In the comments, a person states he should try Courage Director’s Bitter, which is a class above Courage Best. Certainly on draught it was in the old days, deeper and richer. I am pretty sure in fact there were three beers: Courage Bitter, Best Bitter, and Director’s.

Director’s is still made, I believe on cask and certainly in canned form, I had one a while back. Not quite what I remembered, but I’d like to try the Best Bitter. Sometimes one finds these odd inversions, where the ordinary quality trumps the premium.

Note the witticism “Madam” makes just out of the camera angle. After a taste from his glass, she says, “Better than the value bitter”. His quick counter: “fresh air is better than value bitter!”.

Some beer writers would be happy to pen that line!

The beer is brewed at Eagle Brewery in Bedford by Marston, now in a joint venture with Carlsberg. See label images and taste description in the Eagle Brewery website.

To conclude, good review, his comments are well-expressed and tell us a lot about the drink. He approaches it too in genial spirit, the right approach for such an exercise.

 

Polish Beer Slump 1930s

In the Polish brewing journal, Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy, March-April 1938 issue, at p. 45, a table lays out national production for 1937, and by month, and similarly back to 1933.

Note how production ramps up with approach of summer, almost an evergreen in the world brewing scene.

 

 

The item noted that 1937 production represented a 51.5% decline from the two-month peak economic period in 1929/1930. Presumably a like-with-like or averaging was done, as the earlier data is summarized, but the percentage is telling.

Economic malaise was likely the main reason, as 1930s depression hit parts of the economy hard, not necessarily large industrials but smaller manufacturers, small traders, shopkeepers, farmers, and artisans.

Some Jews had economic boycotts to deal with as well after 1934, an agenda of nationalist politicians which the government tolerated in various ways.

Possibly excise tax policy did not help, this has been said for the spirits industry, where a similar drop in (legal) consumption occurred. See Adrian Zanberg’s article (2010), “‘Villages … Reek of Ether Vapours’: Ether Drinking in Silesia before 1939”, in the journal Medical History. He noted:

As the burden of taxation grew, per capita alcohol consumption declined. Between 1928 and 1932 government sales of alcoholic drinks decreased by 53.4 per cent32 as the legal consumption of spirits had fallen from 1.6 to 0.7 litre per person.33 These figures suggest that the Polish state had failed to observe the changes in alcohol consumption. Many consumers turned to illegal options. Demand was seemingly met by the bootleg industry, the production of denaturated alcohol,34smugglers, and—to a lesser degree—ether producers.

While the article focuses on Silesia, the ether problem was also national. The government had made it illegal in 1928 but economic travails caused resort to unlawful sources.

Much of it was made in Germany and smuggled in.  Since ether was diluted in many kinds of drinks – a mixture with raspberry was popular – it seems likely some used beer for this, an evident way to stretch supply, although the article does not mention this.

I noted earlier that some breweries closed even ahead of the Soviet and German invasions of 1939; an economy on the ropes could not have helped.

As well, there was the risk small breweries always face of takeover. Lublin brewery-owner Hersz Jogna Zylber made that point in his 1936 article I referred to recently.

A statement (translated) from the Polish Wikipedia entry, Breweries in Poland, bears out the overall picture:

… in 1928 beer was brewed by only 179 breweries, which produced a total of 2.5 million hl of beer, which was 8 liters per capita.

Production before WW I was far higher, as numerous sources state including the last link above. And the complement of breweries had fallen by over 50%.

It would make an interesting study to trace this arc methodically. Likely further factors were involved such as changing consumer habits and beer quality. But at day’s end, a Depression will affect alcohol consumption significantly.

The 1930s slump hit rural Poland especially hard. A short but impactful article, by scholar Zachary Mazur, “Global Depression, Local Tragedies: Rural Life in 1930s Poland” makes the point (November 2020, in Culture Pl).

And in that period most Poles still lived in the country; whereas today a majority lives in cities. Regional breweries, still spread over the country despite a decline in numbers, took the hit.

As to the ether fad, it did not continue after WW II. This seems mainly due to tight Communist controls; see the 2010 study linked. Today the substance is rarely used, by my canvass, although it is not unknown especially in some border areas.*

Note re image: source of image is identified and linked in text. Used for educational and research purposes. All intellectual property in source belongs solely to lawful owner, as applicable. All feedback welcomed.

…..

*Once again Wikipedia offers excellent background, see here for ether addiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ale and Porter on the Polish ‘Main – Zwierzyniec Brewery

English-style Brewing in Poland

The Jan-Feb. 1937 issue of Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy, a Polish journal on malting and brewing, carried Part II of Marian Kiwerski’s series, “English Beer in Poland”. See at p. 13. (Via Wielpoloska Digital Library).

Kiwerski states the English brewer Hall, whose name is rendered here as Hahl or Heyles (Google translation), commenced brewing English beer and porter in Czyste.

As I discussed earlier, that was in 1821, just outside Warsaw, and brewing lasted into the 1890s under the original family.

Kiwerski mentions other early ale and porter brewing in Poland, some preceding Hall. One was the “English liquors factory” established by “ordinate count Zamoyski” (Google translation), which had particular repute.

Zamosc is a historic town in south-east Poland, bordered to the west by the extensive former domain of the noble Zamoyski family. Count Stanislaw Zamoyski (1775 -1856), pictured, set up his brewery on Zwierzyniec farmland, in 1806.

 

 

Brewing at Zwierzyniec

Zwierzyniec’s English brewing origins are attested, not just by the ale and porter known to have been made by the Count, but by the British surnames littered through its early history.

Cunning (possibly Cummings?) and Millard are two, according to a detailed chronology for the brewery in the Polish travel portal Perly Polksi.

Another account, author and date unclear but post-2013, includes many details of the brewery’s history. It states a John McDonald from Scotland supervised the commencement of brewing, see here.

These men were brought to Poland by Count Zamoyski to work his English brewery. The count was an admirer of English beer, as were many of his contemporaries. In fact he travelled to England to learn proper methods, and no doubt met Millard et al. there.

Kiwerski writes that despite porter’s humble origins in England, in Poland it was a drink of the elect, of high society. I think he makes this point to explain why it attracted the attention of an eminence such as Zamoyski.

Kiwerski notes that by about 1850 brewing at Zwierzyniec, as in Poland generally, underwent significant German and Czech influence.

Unlikely as it may sound in 2021, the aristocrat’s brewery still stands, and not only that, it still brews. Although, a building across the street actually produces the beer. The elegant historic structure assumed its present lines following enlargement in 1845, and the building today seems hardly changed.

 

 

Wikipedia entry has more detailed photos. A handsome heritage property it is.

Interwar Brewing and Later

This image dates from 1929 and gives a flavour of the interwar period.

 

 

The brewery made an effort between the wars to distribute nationally, as noted in the second historical chronology linked. Proof of this the 1931 advertising poster in the Polona archives. It shows beer was bottled for the brewery by a M. Kestenbaum in Tyszowce, 35 miles east of Zwierzyniec.

Kestenbaum advertised sale of the beer in a beer hall by the mug, with a special price for part of April, 10 gr. vs. 15.

The Polish Beer Labels site offers a selection of prewar labels on its Zwierzyniec page. The beers Kestenbaum bottled likely were light and dark lagers.

The brewery remained in the Zamoyski estates until WW II. After invading in 1939 the Germans took it over to brew. After the war the Communists nationalized it with the Zamoyski properties.

Zwierzyniec Today

Independently-owned Perla Brewery of Lublin is now the owner, or rather, lessee of the site from the Polish State Treasury. The Zamoyski family lost its lands with post-WW II nationalization.

The Count’s building now houses a museum and other amenities, as explained in the brewery website. One can tour the site, which features disused equipment such as open fermenters.

Perla has been involved at Zwierzyniec almost since its privatization (see my last post), with a gap between 2010 until 2013. The relationship resulted from the grouping of Perla’s predecessor, Lubelskie, with Zwierzyniec and other breweries during the Communist era.

Zamoyski descendants have been seeking to recover the brewery according to some sources, including the Wikipedia entry for the brewery (see above).

Current Beers 

As expected and shown in the Zwierzyniec website, the main product today is a pilsener. That beer, which is double-decocted, is in a direct line from the Czech and German influence that succeeded to the English one in the 19th century.

But when brewing recommenced in 2013 a Dzikie Ale was also released. Its stylish label may be viewed in the website of the designer, Studio Ikar.

The label states top-fermentation was followed, with abv of 4%. Polish reviews upon release suggested an English brown ale palate. See also the notes for the beer in Piweczko, a beer news and review site.

Dzikie means “wild”, a reference to the boar symbol on the label and bucolic origins of the brewery, not wild fermentation. The founding year of the brewery, 1806, is stated on the label.

Brewing of Dzikie seems not to have lasted all that long. Blogger opinion varied, but most noted the rarity of a regional brewery (vs. a craft brewer) issuing a new beer outside the blonde lager norm.

One blogger, Tomasz Kopyra, posted a video on YouTube commenting on the beer.

Pedigree

The brewery is over 200 years old and with all the changes, represents a fine tradition, in tune with its noble origins. While the English-style brewing receded in time, it has never been forgotten, not in 1937, not in 2013, not today.

There was an undoubted symbolism to brewing ale on this historic property in 2013. Irrespective of the beer itself, this provides its own satisfaction. One hopes the brewery will be encouraged to try again. (The boar label + English I.P.A. would be a good combination).

Speaking of today, the dashing count would be surely impressed by the richness of craft brewing. If he was setting up a new brewery on his estate, he might bring home a brewer from Vermont, or Portland (either one), or Toronto. Or dare I say Warsaw.

Note re images: images above were sourced from Zwierzyniec’s website linked in the text. Images used for educational and research purposes. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. All feedback welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meaning of “Piwo Szynkowe”

Talk on Twitter today for the meaning in Polish of “piwo szynkowe”, of which variant spellings existed (also in Czech, etc.).

I considered the term in my post of April 30 this year on Stefan Weiss brewery in Kolomyja, Galicia.

I feel I hit on the answer, meaning it is the Polish version of schenk bier. See in particular the discussion in Comments.

Schenk is the German-derived, bottom-fermented beer brewed in colder season that wasn’t long aged, or so-called sommer bier.

It was known in variant spellings through the international brewing world.

The term is not standard Czech or Polish in connection with beer, I understand, so likely had a trade or specialized meaning.

The term, by my recent surveys of prewar Polish brewing, was in no regular use, and seems a late-1800s occasional expression.

However, a 1938 issue of the Polish brewing journal I’ve discussed recently, Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy (Brewing & Malting Review) mentions the term. See pg. 10 (via Wielkopolska Digital Library).

It is in an article on how pilsener beer emerged to acceptance in Poland, by Marian Kiwerski, a brewing engineer and beer historian.

Of course it is in Polish, but as I read it, a portion refers to late-1800s analyses of Bavarian beers by a Russian scientist, L.N. Simonova. This table follows:

 

 

Stefan Weiss started brewing about the same period.

The alcohol range for szynkowe is the lowest, which sounds right for a “pub” beer served in quantity, and schenk bier traditionally was lower in alcohol than fully-aged lager, which gained in strength over time.

I think too lezakowe here means lager properly speaking, fully-aged, therefore with higher average alcohol than the other.

I think this supports the schenk bier interpretation, given also the German context a Polish article is alluding to.

Last  point. In my post earlier this month I discussed a chart of data for Czech and other beers that appeared in a ca. 1900 Polish encyclopedia (the hyperlinked page number in post leads to the chart). The term zwyczajne appeared numerous times in the Czech section as a beer type, and once with other terms in the Polish summary.

In Polish it translates to “normal”, and most of these beers seemed relatively low alcohol, run of the mill so to say.

Offhand, and I do not speak Polish certainly, this word seems different than szynkowe, which seems in the standard tongue unconnected to beer in any way. Whereas “normal” could conceivably denote a beer of average quality, as say ordinary vs. special bitter in the U.K.

I don’t know, too, how in its beer sense szynkowe is pronounced. The ham sense does not sound at all like schenk (nor does zwyczajne for normal). If in its beer sense szynkowe is pronounced to sound like schenk, well that would support a connection.

So far the schenk idea seems the most plausible to me for the beer sense of szynkowe, but happy to hear other ideas.

Note re image: image drawn from source identified and linked in the text. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to lawful owner, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.