Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Revenge of the Schnitzelbank.

My wife's Grandma Bernie has a lot of old family letters, books, photos and other documents that go back to the mid- and late 1800's. Most of them are in German up to a point, then they all go English. You can deduce why. Probably the same reasons my great-grandparents changed the pronunciation of our name in the 1930s. Germany was very uncool in America for a while.

Anyway, Grandma Bernie recently mailed us this song sheet/advertisement for Gluek beer. I date it to 1923 or thereabouts. She sent it and I scanned it just in time... after the journey it's suddenly falling apart. It's digitized form doesn't have the same feel and musty scent, but it's better than nothing.

Gluek was a Minneapolis brewery that goes back to 1857, although it had a different name at first. It was one of the many American breweries founded by Germans and later participating in the rampant popularity of pale lager. Gluek still exists today as Cold Spring Brewery. It still makes Gluek. I suspect we all know pretty much what it tastes like. Meanwhile a glance at the Web site reveals that Cold Spring has adapted to the times by selling health drinks and crafty-looking ales. Any reports on this brewery or its history are welcome.

Back to the literature: It folds out to three pages, front and back, and inside are a bunch of drinking songs – some in English, some in German. Pretty cool, I think. Maybe not cool in the '30s and '40s. But pretty cool now. It's a glimpse of a brief time when German-Americans were still proud of their heritage. They were still teaching their kids to talk and sing in both English and German. I don't want to over-romanticize it. But it's fun to think about.

I also don't want to overload this post with heavy jpeg files, so I'll post more of the sheet another day. And maybe another. If you're interested.


  1. The Gluek (according to locals, it rhymes with "click") honey bock is nearly drinkable.

  2. Well, "nearly drinkable" is usually more than good enough for me.