As host of Session #52, I’ve decided not to focus on the substance of beer, but the material that plays a supporting role. Bottles, coasters, cans, labels, ads, tap handles, church keys, hats, t-shirts, tip trays, glassware and signs have been collected by fanatics ever since beer has been sold. These objects constitute the world of breweriana, a term that surfaced in 1972 to define any item displaying a brewery or brand name.
So what old or new beer related items do you collect and why? It’s that simple. This is your opportunity to share the treasured objects your wife or husband won’t let you display on the fireplace mantle. You don’t need to be a major collector like this guy to participate. In my mind, just a few items constitute a collection. Maybe you have mementos from a beer epiphany or road trips? You can focus on a whole collection or tell the story behind a single item.
The topic is interesting, but in this case I’m not so much. I don’t collect much in the way of breweriana: I have some odds and ends, including a few piece of wall art (posters and signs), a small collection of coasters, glassware which I use regularly, T-shirts, and a small collection of cans and bottles which gets re-evaluated periodically. Frankly, I just don’t collect much when it comes to beer.
What I do have—the “prize” of my collection, as it were—are several old, unopened bottles of beers that I acquired a number of years ago and wrote about originally on Hop Press:
“Collection” might be a bit of a misnomer here; while these are actual, bottled beers, they are not ones that I will ever open and drink: I picked them up some dozen or more years ago from a wine shop (that also dealt in occasional beer) that was going out of business, and even at the time I knew they were dubious at best. As far as I know, they have never been stored properly, and I’ve even left them out on display (storage isn’t a concern for me since I never intend to open them).
Go view the pictures at my Hop Press article; in summary, though, I have the following beers:
- Russkoye, “Premium Russian Lager Beer. Brewed and bottled at Obolon Brewery, Kiev, U.S.S.R.” Circa 1990.
- Kulmbacher Schweizerhofbräu. 5.69% alcohol by weight. “Original Bavarian Bock.”
- A pair of “River City” beers (Dark and Gold), from Sacramento, River City Brewing Company. Circa 1983.
- New Amsterdam Amber Beer. “Brewed by the West End Brewing Company, Utica, NY.”
- Lorimer’s Traditional Scotch Ale, from Lorimer’s Breweries Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland. 5.3% alcohol by weight.
- Charles Wells Bombardier Ale, from Charles Wells Ltd., Bedford, England
I do enjoy looking at these old beers, I must say.
What do you collect?