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calendar   Tuesday - August 16, 2005

More Beer Fun!

Why do smart people drink beer from Anheuser-Busch? Because it’s the beer that made Bud wiser! Get it? Bud wiser? Budweiser? Oh forget it! Folks in St. Louis now have a new beer joke to play with. After an absence of over 40 years, the city’s premier brewery is back in business. Stop in at your favorite bar and ask for a glass of Griesedieck! You ladies out there better be real careful how you pronounce that, OK?

Actually, I’m told Griesedieck is a great tasting beer, following an old German tradition ....

(ST LOUIS TODAY)—History bubbles beneath the brew from the center tap at Dewey’s Pizza. Dewey’s partner Dave Justice caught a glimpse of the tradition recently when he watched a baseball documentary on HBO. On the right side of old Sportsman’s Park, Grand Avenue and Dodier Street in north St. Louis, was a big, red Griesedieck Brothers Beer sign. “I’m sitting there going, ‘That’s sweet,’” Justice said. “How great is that?”

After an absence of 40-plus years, Griesedieck Brothers Beer has returned as a microbrew. Cousins Alvin “Buddy” Griesedieck of Warson Woods, Ray Griesedieck of Des Peres and Steve Butler of Defiance, owners of the Griesedieck Brothers Brewing Corp., plan to establish their own brewery. In the meantime, their special recipe is produced under contract by the Morgan Street Brewery on Laclede’s Landing. Nineteen restaurants and nightspots, including Dewey’s, in Kirkwood, now carry the microbrew on tap.

Once one of the largest breweries in St. Louis, Griesedieck Brothers sponsored radio broadcasts of the St. Louis Cardinals and the old St. Louis Browns games in the years before Anheuser-Busch purchased the Cardinals. Harry Caray, host of the sports program, reminded listeners the initials GB meant “good beer.” Today’s German-style pilsener is better, the Griesedieck cousins say. Unlike its working-class grandfather, this microbrew follows a 13th-century German purity law that allows the use of only four ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water. The old GB was corn-based and sweeter, they said.

Ray Griesedieck developed the golden pilsener during a conference with brewmaster John Witte of Trailhead Brewery in St. Charles, the beer’s first contract brewer. It is styled after those brewed in Bitburg and Munich, Germany. “We’re going after drinkers who like a better beer,” Buddy Griesedieck noted. “We’re trying to bring back a tradition. There’s beer in our blood.” “Literally,” added Butler as he raised a glass of Griesedieck Brothers in a toast. “We don’t bleed red, we bleed yellow,” Ray Griesedieck concurred.

More than two centuries ago, Johann Henrich Griesedieck opened the family’s first brewery in Westphalia, Germany. Within eight years after descendants Anton and Heinrich immigrated to St. Louis in 1869, they acquired two local breweries and founded the A. Griesedieck Brewery Co. In 1911 Heinrich purchased the Consumers Brewery and named it Griesedieck Brothers for his sons: Anton, Henry, Raymond, Robert and Edward.

After Prohibition ended, three branches of the family went head-to-head in the St. Louis beer market. The Griesedieck Brothers ran their brewery; Anton’s son, “Papa” Joe Griesedieck, produced the Falstaff line; and another family member, Henry L. Griesedieck, brewed Stag beer in Belleville. “Griesedieck Brothers was always known as the beer with the funny name,” Butler recalled. By 1937, its brewery at Shenandoah and Lemp avenues was known as the most modern brewery in St. Louis, and its product was regarded as one of the hometown’s most popular brews. By 1950 the company sold nearly a million barrels a year.

Ray’s father, Henry A., was the final president of the company before it was bought out by Falstaff in 1957. Falstaff closed in St. Louis in 1977, and in the mid-1980s an investor named Steve DeBellis purchased the GB trademark, but did not have the support of the family, the cousins said. Ray Griesedieck now owns the trademark.

So there you go! Stop in at a St. Louis pub and down a Griesedieck tonight!

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UPDATE: As a public service to our readers and to help them avoid the possibly embaressing moment that might occur if they enter a St. Louis pub and ask the bartender, “Do you have Griesedieck” or “Can I have a Griesedieck”, we present to you a link to the list of pubs that serve this great beer. Don’t forget to ask for some NastySnatch chips to go with that beer. (OK, I stole that last sentence from Fark)


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 08/16/2005 at 11:52 AM   
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