Homebrew Spin-off

Glasses in Berlin

You think you brew for the delight of that first taste of a special beer. That’s how it all starts, but 20 years later I discovered historic beer glasses, each with its own story to tell. Today’s collection was a morning’s work in the Frankfurter Allee in the old east Berlin. Locally, it is known as Little Moscow, due to the impressive Soviet Russian buildings, supposedly clad with Meissen tiles.

Frankfurter Tor beautifully composed by Ralph on Flickr.

Beneath the apartment buildings are comfy arcades of shops, now schicky micky outlets, but a few years ago, it was all second hand bookshops and junk stores. It was in one such that I discovered the beer glass with PdR on the side.

I had to ask the significance and discovered it was the logo for the Palast der Republik – now scandalously demolished by an over-zealous Berlin Senate, but once, during the days of the DDR, the favourite entertainment venue for East Berliners. And if you went there for Sunday tea and a dance, you took a souvenir home – a glass or cup and saucer. The junk shop owner explained.

‘This glass is a perfect example – never been drunk from, or perhaps just the once. Stealing a souvenir was an act of revenge by the people, who were being screwed over by a government as never before.’

Most available pictures of the Palast der Republik are of its destruction. It was truly vast and I cannot imagine what the immense space was used for. Thanks to aad1969 on Flickr for this rare pre-1989 picture.

There should be numerous examples of this glass, if every visitor took one – but not so. When the Wall came down in 1989, the East Germans were so sick of their history, that they must have ceremoniously smashed their stolen goods, as the final revenge act.

In the same junk shop was a rare Pilsner Urquell glass, with a frosted cracked look. I’m still trying to date this beauty.

Stunning workmanship. It doesn’t go through the dishwasher.

I also collect kitsch as well as beauty. This one shouldn’t have been allowed out the factory.

Reiner frischer Gerstensaft
Gibt Herzensmut und Muskelkraft
Pure, fresh juice of the malt,
gives you a brave heart and strong muscles.

So, let’s end with a German beer gyle. This is a Bavarian Brown Beer, recorded in 1842 and begins halfway down the page in my book on historical brewing. This is a screenshot from the author’s previewer provided by Kindle.

Kindle Software previewer for authors

This shot was taken from the iPad Kindle reader, with an Android camera. Stunning clarity!

And finally, so that you can brew Müller’s Brown Beer, the last page of the method.

I decided to display this, because the original paper copy of the Historical Companion to House-Brewing, is fetching eye-watering prices on the second-hand market.

Here is the page from the 1990 paper version.

1990 Historical Companion

E-Book versus paper version!

  • the force needed to keep the book open, which will soon break the spine.
  • and if the spine survives the treatment, the paper won’t stand being splashed with hot wort.
  • the e-version costs $6.99, not $200. Does anyone get the e-bay asking price?
  • I have removed the printshop gremlins from the e-version. OGs are back where they should be. (It’s always the printer, never the author).
  • modern software makes tabular presentation possible. It’s easier to find where you are on the page. Tables were a printer’s nightmare in 1990.
  • tablet screens will always be slightly warmer than ambient – no steaming up.

Let me know if you brew Müller’s Brown Beer. The special malts required might not be available to you, but I describe how to make the malt varieties, at home with nothing but a fridge and old baking oven. If you live as far up the northern hemisphere as I do, you can dispense with the fridge.

See you next week with more beer glasses from back when I was the principle speaker at the LA and Baltimore AHAs.

That happy moment when the blog is ready to go!

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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