The Last Detail: The Hall of Foam

The milestones, masterpieces, and firsts of Cincinnati’s rich brewing history

Editor’s Note: This was originally published in the May 2010 issue.

1796—Numbündnumber: The city’s first locally brewed beer as well as its most popular one for over 70 years, this pilsner’s not-so-secret ingredient was a judicious dash of clove oil, which anesthetized a drinker’s tongue and taste buds, thus making it the perfect accompaniment/antidote to German home cooking.

1808—Blitzenschnell: A high-potency, low-cost beer that was sold in übergroß 40-ounce “to-go” steins. It proved to be a favorite among the growing ranks of disaffected German youth who idly roamed Over-the-Rhine in baggy lederhosen hanging well below their hips.

1823—Theses 95: Produced by Max Stagger, a strict Lutheran, Theses 95 was Ohio’s first fortified beer, or malt liquor. Its name referred to the fact that any man who drank more than three could expect to wake up the next morning feeling like his head had been nailed to a church door.

1857—Visigothic Raspberry Wheat Brown Elixir: Generally acknowledged as the original microbrew/niche beer. Unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough hypochondriacal gay barbarians in town to sustain the brand.

1900—Jewish Moerlein: A limited production beer that served to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Cincinnati’s Hebrew Union College, and coincidentally, the 25th anniversary of the city’s first restricted country club.

1909—Bavarian Cream Stout: William Howard Taft’s favorite tipple. At 7,000 calories per bottle, a huge contributor to the making of our hugest president.

1924—DoppelDada Bock: Produced by the Ernst Brewery, DoppelDada was the first (and last) surreal beer. It was fermented using the ribs of 1,000 umbrellas and sold by the pocketful.

1933—Einstein Ale: With a recipe that had its origins in Germany, Einstein was sold as a draft beer only and was notable for being all head.

1941—WeinerBurger: Burger Brewery not only captured the public’s imagination but cornered the closet alcoholic market with a singular innovation: hollowed-out half-pound sausages filled with eight ounces of their popular suds.

1949—Gem City Beer: An attempt by
the Beidendorfinchgloecher Brewery to reach out to Daytonians with a beer that “tastes like your hometown.” Good to their word, Gem City Beer was dull, uninteresting, and generally disparaged.

1968—Break the Shackles of the White Oppressor Party Pack: Launched to cash in on the black rage that fueled the 1968 race riot, this novelty beer eight-pack featured bottle caps topped with cotton wool, to resemble Molotov cocktails.

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