Category Archives: Material Culture

Dominion Ale and India Beer Bottles

I was looking though some photos of old Newfoundland beer bottles I took on my trip back home in June of 2012 and noticed that I haven’t posted all of them! In particular, I had missed posting some old Bennett Dominion Ale and India Beer bottles.

First, a pretty sad specimen that I found in my parents garage. It wasn’t really preserved with care!

A pretty sad specimen of the 1980s Bennett Dominion Ale stubby, my collection.

The next is a collection that I picked up from a collector in Grand Falls. It has an old India (1960s), a Jockey (1960s), a Blue Star (discussed here), and a much older Dominion (1960s).

Here is a bit of a close up of the Dominion “Brewed exclusively from the finest malt and hops” and the old blue India label.

Dominion Ale, c. 1970s, my collection.

India Beer c. 1970s, my collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blue India label is, of course, not the original parallelogram-style label that you can see on the main overview. Speaking of that design, however, reminds me of an odd bit of internet reflexivity.

The Obsolescence Project that takes beautiful pictures of old objects recently featured an old india beer bottle. It’s one of the old  parallelogram-labels and they even link to nlbeerhistory.com as a useful and “incredibly comprehensive site” for finding out about Newfoundland’s beer history. That’s little ol’ me! So, please do check out their fantastic photos.

They have also featured an old Dominion Ale stubby that is also well worth checking out!

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Filed under Bennett Brewing, Dominion Ale, India Beer, Labatt, Material Culture, Newfoundland Brewery

The Duke of Duckworth and Blue Star

The Duke of Duckworth is one of my favorite places to drink when I’m in St. John’s, not only because they have a killer fish and chips, but because they have a great selection of local taps and a great collection of beer history memorabilia.

The Duke’s Own Sign, 2012

If you’re new to Newfoundland beer, the Duke is a must visit. They’ve usually got everything that’s currently being brewed by Storm Brewing, a few Quidi Vidi (in particular 1892), and – and this is special – the Duke’s Own. The Duke’s Own, advertised as a “private collection of uniquely brewed beer” and “Newfoundland’s Pioneer Brewpub,” is the closest to an English Ale you’re going to find being brewed in Newfoundland. While the signs seem to indicate there used to be a range of Duke’s beer, today there is only one: The Duke’s Own (an English Ale).

Here’s the deal to the best of my knowledge. The Duke used to have a very small (nano) brewery in their basement but were forced to close it to either expand their kitchen or install a women’s bathroom (accounts differ). Either way, if you ask the bartenders today they’ll tell you it’s contract brewed out of Storm brewing in Mount Pearl. They are very clear though, it’s not a Storm beer – it’s their recipe and ingredients – Storm is just the contract brewer.

The Duke of Duckworth is great for local beer selection, but they also have a great collection of beer memorabilia. They have old Tetley’s beer signs and signs for Upper Canada Dark prior to Upper Canada selling their brewery to Sleeman and converting their brands into discout beers (the brewers from Upper Canada ended up being fired and started up 3 Fired Guys brewing, better known as Steamwhistle in downtown Toronto). One piece of memorabilia that’s important for me is this fine specimen:

Blue Star (early 1980s) at the Duke of Duckworth, St. John’s. (2012)

Behind the bar (pretty much behind the Storm taps) stands this old Blue Star “The Sportsmans Friend” bottle. As I was looking at it to find the vintage, it says Labatt on the side and the stubby was phased out in the mid-1980s so it’s likely from the early 1980s, I noticed that the cap was with it.

Blue Star Cap

Then I noticed something, the cap wasn’t just replaced on the top of the bottle: it was an unopened bottle of Blue Star! You can see the beer line in the above photo. Now, they didn’t seem ready to part with it, but this is an amazing find. A bottle of Newfoundland beer that’s likely over 30 years old. I’d have to fight to urge to drink it! Anyway, if you’re in town and interested in Newfoundland’s beer history, ask to see this lovely bottle.

There is also an (opened) stubby of O’Keefe’s Extra Old Stock, but that’s a mainland brand and not really my focus here. I’m sure there are other NL beer history treasures at the Duke, so be sure to search them out when you’re there!

Below, as a closing note, is the Duke’s account of their microbrewery and the brewing process. You can see this poster yourself on your way to the Duke’s downstairs bathrooms.

The Duke’s Own Microbrew History

The Duke’s Own Process

The Brewing Process

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Filed under Advertisement, Blue Star, Contemporary Beer, Material Culture, The Duke of Duckworth

The Burger Bar

Ok, so the Burger Bar is a great beer/burger bar in Kensington Market, Toronto. They have a large collection of vintage and craft beer bottles lining the walls of the restaurant. I was there for lunch today (drinking a new Ontario craft IPA called Hops and Robbers) and I found this old Black Horse stubby wedged in-between the Kenyan beer Tusker and Duggan’s Number 9 (another local IPA):

Picture taken at the Burger Bar, Toronto. March 7, 2012.

I can only guess at the age of the bottle, but it seems older than the labels that I have. The outside is brown (not golden as it was in the 60’s) but it’s still a square label (not round like up until 1952-ish). My guess is that this was the Ontario version of the label (it doesn’t say “Brasserie Dow” it says “Dow Brewery,” see below) sometime between 1950 and 1970. Also note the difference between the crown in this 1969 label and the older one at the Burger Bar.

1969 Black Horse Label, note the crown and the squaring.

Dawes Black Horse Ale label circa 1939-1952, with a round label.

This might have something to do with the Dow/Dawes connection (see the main page for the history), as the newer crown looks like two D’s. It’s in a stubby too, so, aside from the nice condition, it’s a pretty beautiful thing. Now, if only Burger Bar would put it on the menu!

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Filed under Black Horse, Labels, Material Culture

More Beer Labels

The following videos, uploaded to youtube by coldplay871, have a much wider selection of Newfoundland beer labels. Again, I didn’t make these, so the music choice was not mine!

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Filed under Labels, Material Culture