Friday, October 12, 2012

~ Bushwick Beer ~

     Do you want a Bier?  Then go to the Oktoberfest and join in the celebration of the German Beer Festival.

     In the mid-1800's, a majority of the immigrants settling in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY were Germans; making them the dominant population.  This neighborhood was home to the brewing industry at the turn of the century.  Also known as Brewers Row,  this area consisted of about a dozen breweries taking up  12-14 blocks.
     During Prohibition in the 1920's, breweries made cereal beer, near beer, and lemonade.
     My mother and aunt grew up in Bushwick in the 1950's and 1960's.  They lived within walking distance of the Piels, Schlitz, and Rheingold breweries.  My maternal grandmother Eleanor drank Rheingold beer and I can still see those red and white cans sitting in the fridge.  My maternal grandfather, Robert F. Newell retired from the F. & M.  Schaefer brewery after so many years as a truck driver.  Can you guess what his beer of choice was?
     By the 1960's and 1970's most of the factories were closed down and the brewing tradition in Bushwick vanished.  So what became of the  breweries that made my grandparents favorite beers?
     The Liebman Rheingold brewery closed their factory in Bushwick in January of 1976.  The land which the Rheingold brewery sat on is now a senior community called Rheingold Gardens.  Those famous Rheingold girls from the 1940's and 1950's who are still alive are now old enough to live at Rheingold Gardens.  F & M Schaefer was the last brewery to leave Bushwick.  They bought a new, more modernized factory just outside of Allentown, PA in the Lehigh Valley. They left a week after Rheingold.

     Auf Wiedersehen !. to the Bushwick breweries. 


my grandfather drove a Schaefer truck !!!

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