Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Original Budweiser?

Look at this label.

Clearly the label dates from the period of Budweiser's history when it was brewed by Anheuser-Busch for Carl Conrad's company, C. Conrad & Co. As such it belongs to the period between 1876 and 1882, when Conrad went bankrupt and the brand become the property of Anheuser-Busch in their own right.

I find this label fascinating for one simple reason, the description of the beer, which reads, for those unversed in German:
"Budweiser lager beer, brewed from the finest Saaz hops and Bohemian malt for C.Conrad & Co..."
Why is that interesting? The use of Saaz hops and Bohemian malt for a start, and also the absence of rice, beechwood aging, or anything else that modern Budweiser is well known for.

Was Budweiser originally an all malt lager, made with Czech hops? If that were so, it certainly sounds much closer to the Czech lagers I came to love in my decade in Prague. That in itself raises further questions, when did rice come into the picture, and when did they switch to German hops instead of Saaz?

If anyone has definitive answers I'd love to know.


  1. No answers; just a note that this sounds like a Budweiser product I'd actually enjoy drinking!

  2. It could have something to do with this

    "The expansions led production to increase from 31,500 barrels in 1875 to more than 200,000 in 1881 "

    Expanding production by that much could have required changing the ingredients significantly .

  3. It`s problably down to the (new) Anheuser - Busch board looking at the cost of producing the beer and , throwing the proverbial caniptic fit !.
    I imagine that Bohemian barley was pretty expensive to import to the U.S , as were the hops .
    The cost price per barrel & yield per qtr or malt (extract) etc ; AND , the size of brewing plant would have been the major factors in recipe / gyle type profile change more than any other factor .

  4. That would make sense but for the fact that the hops in Budweiser were from the Hallertau region of Germany for a long time, until InBev took over, and I have read that Saaz was still used in Michelob.


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