Just the other day, as I was conducting a online search entirely unrelated to beer, I happened on a couple of images depicting the 2nd International Brewer’s Congress held in Chicago in 1911.
Following up on them I discovered that they came from the American Brewers’ Review, a trade journal published between 1887 and 1939 under the editorship, first, of Robert Wahl and Max Henius, and later of Arnold Spencer Wahl.
Besides being the founder of the American Brewers’ Review, Robert Wahl, it turns out, was a chemist who dedicated his life to establishing standards and procedures for the brewing industry. He was born in 1858 in Wisconsin, to Christian Wahl and Karolina Schappacher, both German immigrants – he from Bavaria and she from Baden.
Eventually settling in Chicago, he confounded, along with Henius, what would be known as the Scientific Station for Brewing of Chicago and as the Institute of Fermentology, before finally becoming the Wahl-Henius Institute. The institute was later expanded with a brewing academy, which operated until the whole thing was shut down with the advent of Prohibition.
As for the American Brewers’ Review, it was the official publication of the United States Brewers’ Association, and official organ of the brewers’ associations of Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburg and St. Louis. It had started life as Der Braumeister but by July 1896 it had adopted its English name. The journal, however, continued to be published concurrently in English and German, although the German edition appears to have been dropped once the US entered World War I.
The American Brewers’ Review offers a fantastic glimpse of the world of brewing and malting in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is chock full of ads and articles announcing the newest advances in bottling, labeling, packaging, and brewing technology, the newest malts, as well as the latest on the operation and status of breweries throughout the country, from descriptions of “steam” breweries in San Francisco to the fact that the Kunz and Blase brewery in Manitowoc had installed a “time-saving” electric machine for brushing its horses.
It is also interesting to come across many familiar names – Stroh, Pabst, Heileman, Anheuser-Busch- back when they were just another brewery and not the behemoths we know today.
Follow the links below to read the American Brewers’ Review, scanned by Google from bound originals at the New York Public Library, and housed on the servers of the Hathi Trust: