Ehingener Beer History
Ehingen's city history has always been closely related to beer brewing and the brewing industry.
- Oldest relevant reference in city history in regard to the Ehingener beer brewer Walter Wender in 1384.
- The city of Ehingen received the Gold Medal for their hops quality at the hops exhibition in Tettnang 1875.
- In 1877 they received a further Gold Medal at the hops exhibition in Nuremberg.
- 21 operational breweries were counted in the city of Ehingen around 1890.
- The Beer Culture City Ehingen was awarded in July 2009 as the winner of the "Concept Competition Land of Connoisseurs Baden-Wuerttemberg" (Ideenwettbewerb Genießerland Baden-Württemberg).
- "We're on a trek from one beer to the next" is th trend since 2009 on the certified beer hiking trail, which only one year later was voted one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Geermany
- In March 2012, the Schwanen Brewery opens the world's first BierKulturHotel (Beer Culture Hotel)
History of Brewing Water and the Old Well House
In an agreement dated March 25, 1876, 5 citizens of Berg, including the Breweries Adler and Rose, regulate the rights and obligations for their “already long-running well”.
The water quantity is divided into 7 parts. In the main copper vessel, which is exhibited in the old well house, the water quantities are correspondingly distributed by means of the width of the slits in the metal::
- Joh. Denkinger 1 part
- Joh. Traub 1 part
- Johannes Walter 1 part
- Johann Zimmermann 2 parts
- Josef Zimmermann 2 parts
This distribution was installed in the water reserve on the Sameershof belonging to Johann Denkinger (later Sontheimer).
Beneath the old well house is a surface water well, which was built around 1890 and was in use until 1949/50.
In the aforementioned year, Berg got its first public drinking water supply. The pumps in the well house originate from the supply at the “Ochsenplatz”.
Today, Berg and the brewery receive their water from a depth of 198 meters from the Gamerschwang deep well, which is 5 km away from the brewery.
The History of Beer Brewing
Beer is the epitome of sociability and enjoyment for many modern people. Yet only few people thereby know that when they raise a beer glass, that they are also holding a piece of cultural history in their hand.
The origin of beer can be traced back to the time around 6000 BC. At that time, the Sumerians lived in the region that lay between Euphrates and Tigris. Their pictures and cuneiform inscriptions have been preserved to this day and tell the tale of the custom of making a beverage out of fermented bread dough, which we can most probably identify as the ancestor of our beer. In the period around 3000 BC, there was already something reminiscent of a – very modest – variety: at any rate, there were four different types of beer available at this time.
Babylonia: "Have a drink of beer"
Around 2000 BC, one of the oldest works of world literature was written in Babylonia: the epic about the legendary King Gilgamesh. In one story of the epic, Enkidu, a still very animal-like caveman, learns what makes man civilized: “Bread you shall eat, o Enkidu, as it belongs to life, have a drink of beer as is the custom here!” After another seven mugs, ablutions, and anointments, Enkidu became “the likeness of a human being” according to the Gilgamesh Epic.
Brewing was a woman’s work
Beer was even brewed by the old Egyptians centuries before the birth of Christ. This is evidenced by wall paintings and figures found in King’s tombs. On the other side of the Mediterranean, where the Greeks and the Romans lived, beer seems to have not had great significance. Wine was dominant here. For the Teutons, in comparison, beer was the most popular drink. The oldest evidence that beer was brewed in Germany, is provided by beer amphoras found in the Kulmbach region in the time 800 BC. Brewing was thereby, just like baking bread, women’s work. But the beer of former times must have had a sticky consistency and tasted sweet, since it was made without hops. According to sources, brewers began adding hops to the brew in the 8th century. It not only gave beer the finely bitter taste that we know today, it also served as a natural preservative that kept the beer longer fresh.
Flourishing handicraft in the Middle Ages
It was particularly the monasteries that took up the art of brewing beer in the early Middle Ages. The first monastery that brewed beer was, according to a chronicle from the year 820 AD, St. Gallen in what is now Switzerland. The monks quickly learned the art of brewing a nutritious, tasty beverage, which enriched their bland meals. This was particularly important during the fasting period, when they had to tighten their belts. At that time a strong beer was an especially welcome compensation, since “if fluids you take, no fast will you break”. The tradition of strong beers, that are seasonal from the beginning of spring, has been preserved above all in Bavaria.
Monasteries brew beer
Beer sales by the monasteries proved to be stiff competition for the secular breweries in the early centuries. As a result, a ban was issued as early as the beginning of the 15th century for the public sale of monastery beer. It didn’t really help. First in the course of the French Revolution, when monasteries were also secularized in Germany, the fate of most monastery breweries was sealed in the early 19th century. But there are still eleven monasteries where beer is brewed. The most famous is Andechs in Bavaria.
As the German cities flourished, the brewing industry also developed into a reputable economic sector on an international level. The first and oldest large-scale beer trading center was Bremen, which supplied large quantities of lager to Holland, Flanders, England, and Scandinavia as early as 1300. Hamburg was considered the “Hanseatic brewery”. Nevertheless, in the 16th century the city was home to 600 breweries, which employed half of all tradesmen. Breweries were often the most important source of income for the urban economy at the time.
The way to the modern brewing industry
The barriers of the trade associations and guilds fell in the 19th century; freedom of trade was propagated. It was the dawn of a new age. When the first railroad train made its way from Nuremberg to Fürth, it had a cargo of beer. The brewers benefitted from the technical advancements that were being implemented everywhere. Three names are particularly closely linked to the technical development in the brewing industry: Louis Pasteur discovered the microorganisms in yeast and their role in the brewing process. Emil Christian Hansen was the first to successfully isolate a single beer yeast cell. And Carl von Linde invented the refrigerating machine, and thereby created the conditions necessary to brew bottom-fermented beer even in summer. Bottom fermented beer requires appropriate cooling to facilitate a brewing process at temperatures between 4 and 9 degrees centigrade, which was originally only possible with a depot of large amounts of ice. For this reason, top-fermented beer was predominantly brewed up until this time.
Computers enter the picture
Times change and with them the requirements of those who brew, serve, and drink beer. This gave way to the replacement of wooden barrels with kegs in the catering industry. Today beer cases are mainly made of light plastic and no longer of wood. The customer demand to enjoy a perfectly served beer in the comfort of their own home, led to the increased filling of the beer in bottles and cans, and therefore to the development of increasingly faster bottle-washing, filling, and labeling equipment. Process control and computers moved in to the breweries. New specialties – like alcohol-free beer or beer mixers – meet the expectations of modern drinking habits and fulfill the demands of today’s consumers.
Tradition and modernity joined
German brewers have always understood how to join the traditional with the modern. The ability to fulfill new demands while upholding tradition guarantees that the brewing industry not only has a proud heritage, but also a secure future.
Source: Deutscher Brauer-Bund e.V. (German Brewers’ Association)