Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Sprecher Brewing Offers Treats For The Troops

Posted by Bob Skilnik on December 9, 2008

Treats for the Troops from Sprecher

Glendale, WI –


Do you know U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan who love Sprecher gourmet sodas? Thanks to a partnership between Sprecher Brewing Company and the George Washington Stein Club, you can now send your favorite troops a 12-pack shipper of Sprecher gourmet soda for only $25.00 through the Treats for the Troops program. That’s correct: You can send a 12-pack shipper of Sprecher gourmet soda to U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan for only $25.00. What a great way to say “Happy Holidays,” or let these special people know that they’re in your thoughts.

To send Sprecher treats to your favorite troops, visit Sprecher’s gift shop and select the 12 sodas you’d like send or call the gift shop and place your order. Your gift may be tax-deductible; ask how when making your purchase.

On a related matter, scheduled Sprecher Brewery tours are free for all U.S. military personnel with valid ID. Contact the Gift Shop to make reservations.

The Sprecher Gift Shop is located at 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI. Phone: 414.964.2739.

For more information about ordering


 contact Michelle Brzek,

414.964.2739 x114, or

For more information about the George Washington Stein Club, contact Dave Bowen,

414.964.7837 x150, or




Treats for the Troops,


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Events Leading Up To National Prohibition

Posted by Bob Skilnik on December 6, 2008



Racking Room - Chicago's Columbus Brewery

Racking Room - Chicago's Columbus Brewery, 1915

Well, December 5 has come and gone, but the romanticizing of pre-Prohibition beer continues. I’ve included a chapter from Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago that explains the national events leading up to January 16, 1920 and the state of beers during this time. As you’ll read, these beers were NOT the romanticized pre-Prohibition “craft” beers that some wax nostagically about.

Congressional Actions

     While the brewers and their allies in Chicago battled with the almost fanatical strength and determination of local prohibitionists, national and international events were occurring that would take the matter of prohibition to Washington and out of the hands of local officials.

     By the end of 1916, there were 23 dry states with prohibition laws on their books. With the well financed congressional lobbying efforts of the Anti-Saloon League and the U.S.A.’s declaration of war with Germany on April 6, 1917, the campaign for national prohibition became interwoven with President Woodrow Wilson’s institution of a wartime food control bill.

     In 1917, Wayne Wheeler and the Anti-Saloon League lobbied to attach a provision to Wilson’s food bill that would make it illegal to use any food material in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, except for scientific, medicinal or sacramental purposes. Wet Senators promptly threatened to filibuster the bill. A compromise was eventually reached that took beer and wine out of the prohibition clause of the food control bill but gave the President the discretion to later limit or stop the manufacture of beer or wine as he saw fit. The compromise bill was passed on August 10, 1917. As mandated by a rider attached to the compromised food bill, the production of distilled alcohol ceased on September 8, although sales of the remaining stock of ardent spirits could legally continue.

     Most threatening to the nation’s brewers was a Senate resolution for a constitutional prohibition amendment that had passed weeks earlier on August 1. With the passage of the resolution, the necessary time for state legislators to ratify the constitutional amendment, which had been originally limited to five years, was compromised to six, avoiding a threatened wet filibuster but giving the League more time to marshal their forces. If ratified by Congress, the liquor industry would be given one year to close and dispose of its’ bonded stock. In exchange for this one year grace period, the House of Representatives pushed through the Webb Resolution on December 17, which further extended the time for ratification of the constitutional prohibition amendment to seven years, allowing considerable time for the Anti-Saloon League to influence the decisions of the legislative representatives of the remaining wet states.

     On December 11, 1917, Wilson exercised his authority to further reduce the amount of permissible food materials used for the manufacture of beer by thirty-percent and limited it’s legal alcoholic content to a paltry 2 3/4% by weight.

     On November 21, 1918, ten days after the Armistice, Congress passed a wartime prohibition bill as a rider to the Food Stimulation Act. This bill was to take effect the following year but the Federal Food Administration used it’s authority to order the cessation of brewing nine days after the wartime prohibition bill was passed. Preparing for the cessation of brewing in Chicago, local breweries began to produce all the beer they possibly could before the cutoff date of December 1, 1918. A scarcity of grains and the resultant closing of some plants in order to economize made the challenge of this new post-war measure difficult for the industry to respond to in such a short period of time.

     Beginning on December 1, Chicago brewers used the down time after the imposed brewing stoppage to continue to bottle, keg and sell whatever stock was still on hand. There was also a rotated layoff of the 7,500 employed by the local industry. In this manner, the local brewers hoped that they would be able to quickly recommence the brewing of beer if given the President’s approval. With the brewing moratorium in effect and no hope for a quick resumption of production, Chicago Brewers’ Association President William Legner estimated that the country’s dwindling supply of beer would run out by May 1, 1919.

The German Brewers And World War I

     The German and German-American brewers were not prepared to challenge the dictates of Washington after the declaration of war against Germany. Anti-German hysteria had already gripped Chicago, not only with the nodding approval of the local Anti-Saloon League, but also because of the questionable actions of some German-American organizations. When hostilities in Europe commenced in 1914, the United States Brewers’ Association began funneling money to the National German-American Alliance, headquartered in Chicago. But as the U.S. moved from a neutral to a more proactive stance, the USBA continued to maintain their fraternal ties with pro-German organizations. The Alliance used the funds, in part, to send out press releases that were pro-German in tone.

Author Bob Skilnik Discussing Beer On Fox

Author discussing beer on Fox News Channel

     As public opinion turned against “hyphenated Americans,”  including the highly visible German-American brewers, Mayor Thompson, at the time courting the favor of Chicago’s German-American voters, caused additional problems for the local German community. His refusal to support the early national Liberty Loan efforts or to assume the role of local draft chairman, infuriated many patriotic Chicagoans and earned him the name of “Kaiser Bill”.  In an effort to calm down some of the local anti-German bias and prove their loyalty to the U.S., Chicago brewers and members of affiliated trades and businesses later subscribed about $1,400,000 to the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign. Through the efforts of the Manufacturers’ and Dealers Association of Chicago, brewers distributed several hundred thousand copies of the Appeal by American Brewers to the American People, which attempted to repudiate charges that the brewers were pro-German. These efforts proved ineffectual as wartime Chicago developed a siege mentality.

     In late 1918, A. Mitchell Palmer, who held the federal position of Custodian of Alien Property, began an investigation of the Schoenhofen Brewery and its owners because of the family’s close ties to friends and relatives in Germany. The World War I Office of Alien Property Custodian had been created by an Executive Order on October 12, 1917. The Trading With The Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, had already authorized Palmer to assume control and dispose of enemy owned property in the United States. Instigated by the Anti-Saloon League’s Wayne Wheeler, federal agents seized the corporate and trust files of the brewery. Title to the brewery property was then placed in the control of the federal government in order to prevent the possible use of the company assets by enemy aliens against the United States. German owners of breweries throughout the U.S. suffered similar federal actions. Palmer eventually controlled $506 million of German owned trusts, including the Schoenhofen’s. Ironically, Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, whose failed attempt to kill Hitler at his Wolf’s Lair in Eastern Prussia in 1944 would lead to his own death, was purported to have been a descendant of Peter Schoenhofen, founder of the Chicago brewery.

Ratification Of The Eighteenth Amendment

     After appeals to the beer drinking public and failed legislative efforts by the brewers to resume brewing, the fate of the drink industry was sealed on January 16, 1919, with the shockingly quick ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment  by the constitutionally required thirty-sixth state. One year later, the entire country would fall under National Prohibition. The Illinois Legislature had already followed suit with twenty-eight other dry states and ratified the National Prohibition Amendment,  the Senate on January 8, with a vote of 30 to 15, the House by a vote of 84 to 66 on January 14.

     But Springfield was not Chicago. Provisions of the wartime prohibition bill, passed in 1918, pushed the last date for the legal retail sale of beer and liquor further back to June 30, 1919. Brewers, distillers and saloonkeepers still held out hope that President Wilson would revoke the wartime prohibition bill and give them until January of 1920 to put their affairs in order, as agreed upon in the Eighteenth Amendment. The Armistice had been signed on November 11, 1918; as far as the brewers were concerned, the wartime prohibition bill was void. Prohibitionists countered that the war could not be considered over until demobilization of the European Expeditionary Forces was complete, a process that could last six months or more.

     In Chicago, Deputy City Collector George F. Lohman estimated that the abrupt loss in city revenue from brewery and saloon licensing and permit fees would exceed $8,000,000 per year should the saloons be forced to close. He also took note of the additional loss to real estate owners of useless saloon sites after the closings, speculating that the financial blow to them would be ten times greater than the loss to the city from liquor license fees. It was a loss that would heavily impact local brewers since they owned a significant portion of the Chicago saloons.

     A local Anti-Salooner official naively suggested that raising taxes to cover the $8,000,000 revenue deficit could easily be avoided by simply reducing expenses in all city departments. A Chicago Tribune  editorial, however, demanded a quick revision of taxes to make up the huge deficit. Acknowledging the cost of politics in Chicago and a need for municipal belt tightening, the paper also suggested a realistic percentage of the needed money be allocated for the waste of funds that flowed through Mayor Thompson’s executive departments.

1919 Referendum

      While brewers’ and distillers’ representatives continued to challenge the wartime prohibition bill and the National Prohibition Amendment in Washington, stocks of beer in Chicago were becoming scarce. By February of 1919, barrel prices had risen to $17, reflecting the dwindling supply.

     With prohibition fever sweeping the nation, Anti-Saloon and Chicago Dry Federation forces successfully managed to include the issue of making Chicago a possible dry territory on the April mayoral ticket, months before National Prohibition would take effect. It had been an uphill battle for dry forces to include such a symbolic issue for city-wide vote, culminating with a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court that the question had to be included in the April, 1919 election. But the results of the referendum clearly demonstrated the present and future attitude of a majority of Chicagoans and their insistence on the right to drink. Wets won the issue by a majority of 247,228 votes, 266,529 men and 124,731 women voting against Chicago prohibition. Had there been a dry victory, local saloons would have been compelled to close their doors on May 1, in compliance with Illinois state law, fostered by local option.

Chicago Wet And Dry Vote By Wards For 1919

  Ward               Dry                    Wet                       Wet

                        Votes                 Votes                    Majority

   1                   1,024                  7,792                    6,768

   2                   3,188                12,826                    9,638

   3                   6,087                11,980                    5,893      

                           4                      873               13,907                    2,806

                           5                   2,203                  9,637                    7,434

                           6                   9,791               12,597                    2,806

                           7                 10,693               13,004                    2,311

                           8                   3,738                 8,329                     4,591

                           9                   4,836                 7,784                     2,948

                         10                     405                  7,104                     6,699

                         11                     857                  8,858                     8,001

                         12                  1,105                10,488                     9,383

                         13                10,472                13,730                     3,258

                         14                  3,043                10,448                     7,405

                         15                  2,486                11,221                     8,735

                         16                     509                  6,966                     6,457

                         17                     568                  4,490                     3,922

                         18                  2,949                  9,496                     6,547

                         19                     588                  5,247                     4,689

                         20                     624                  4,685                     4,061

                         21                  4,104                  9,784                     5,680

                         22                     728                  6,771                     6,043

                         23                  5,131                12,370                     7,239

                         24                  2,111                11,811                     9,700

                         25                12,563                16,576                     4,013

                         26                  6,826                16,288                     9,462

                         27                  8,714                19,865                   11,151

                         28                  3,531                10,651                    7,120

                         29                  3,026                13,350                  10,324

                         30                  2,094                  9,033                    6,939

                         31                  4,979                12,228                    7,249

                         32                10,145                15,160                    5,015

                         33                  9,578                17,011                    7,433

                         34                  2,280                17,141                  14,679

                         35                  6,943                18,622                  11,679

                                             _____                 _____                   _____

                        Totals        114,032               391,260                247,228[xi]


     “There will be no let up until fanaticism has been completely overthrown,” vowed William Fisher, secretary of the wet Trades Union Liberty League as he reviewed the overwhelming election results. “This is the message Chicago sends to Congress.”

     Congress, however, had its own agenda, something that brewers’ attorney Levy Mayer ruefully pointed out. Although the referendum had deflected the local option move to make Chicago a dry territory months before National Prohibition, its results could not stop its inevitability. Passage of the Eighteenth Amendment had been through legislative action, not by a popular mandate. “Members of the legislature and congress…have without a direct vote of the people, undertaken to amend the constitution and say to more than 100,000,000 people that they shall not drink malt, vinous or spirituous beverages of any kind, and that possession of such beverages makes their possessors felons.”  Mayer then threw down this challenge to the electorate. “ I can stand it if the rest of the American people can.”

     Buoyed by the results of the referendum vote and on the advice of legal counsel, Chicago brewers defiantly restarted the brewing of 2.75 % beer on May 1, following the lead of New York brewers. At this point, low alcohol small  beer was better than no beer.

     Hoping to influence President Wilson’s decision on extending the wartime prohibition bill’s effective date of July 1, 1919, the Chicago City Council adopted the following resolution and left no doubt as to its stance on National Prohibition;

     Whereas, In the present day of democracy the majority rules, and the city has by a vote of 300,000 at the last general election declared against a dry Chicago; and

     Whereas, If demobilization is not complete before July 1 the country will go dry by presidential decree, which will, when effective, mean a property damage in Chicago of about $15,000,000, a loss of business of $25,000,000 and inability of the administration to meet the pay-roll of the police and firemen; therefore

     Be it resolved by the City Council that we petition the United States Senate, Congress and President Wilson to declare the army of the United States demobilized by July 1, 1919.”

     Hopefully, if Wilson acceded to the City Council’s petition and to similar demands from other municipalities that feared that a reliable cash cow was prematurely drying up, it would give local governments six more months to draw additional revenues from the local breweries and their affiliated saloons and give them a little more time to get their financial houses in order. The absoluteness of National Prohibition would still be six months away, not scheduled to take effect until January 16, 1920, but time was running short. Wilson, however, let the wartime prohibition bill and the last date for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages come into law on July 1, 1919. He offered one ray of hope to the drink interests when he stated that when “demobilization is terminated, my power to act without congressional action will be exercised.”  With this ambiguous statement by Wilson of a possible short reprieve, there were predictions that saloons in states that were still wet might be back in operation by the end of August. Local brewer association president William G. Legner was wary, however, of unwarranted enthusiasm concerning the possible reopening of saloons.

Chicago Reacts To The Wartime Prohibition Bill

     In Chicago, attitudes towards the up coming closing date of city saloons proved defiant, not surprising after the results of the April election. Over the back bars of many of the saloons were signs declaring, “THIS SALOON WILL BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AFTER JULY 1.”  Rumors abounded that some local brewers were so confident that the ban would be lifted before July 1, that they were not only brewing beer, despite the restrictions, but were once again brewing full strength brew.

     When informed that there were strong indications that some Chicago saloons would remain open after July 1, United States District Attorney Charles F. Clyne countered that he would be forced to prosecute any violators. It was pointedly noted that Police Chief Garrity had 5000 policemen at his disposal for enforcement of the closings. As the deadline date approached, however, Garrity was away in New York. Acting as chief in Garrity’s absence, First Deputy General Superintendent of Police, John M. Alcock startled everyone by declaring that “…after midnight it is a federal question (the enforcement of saloon closings),”  and indicated a reluctance to act.

     In the seedier areas around Chicago’s barrel houses,  the crowds of bums and hoboes grew unusually large as saloonkeepers tried to unload their stock. Huge schooners of beer dropped back to a nickel, shots of whisky from ten to twenty cents, depending on the quality. Authorities predicted a marked increase in the number of drunks who would probably apply for the cure at the healing Bridewell, Washingtonian and Keeley Institutes when the wartime prohibition law took effect.

     A last minute price war took place in saloons throughout the city as retailers dumped stock. “Only two days more to shop-do your shopping now!”  was a commonly-themed advertisement seen in many of the saloon windows as the deadline approached. A majority of dealers were staying open well past the 1 A.M. closing time, hoping to squeeze out the last bit of change from thirsty Chicagoans. Travelling salesmen, their satchels loaded with booze, scurried through the neighborhoods trying to entice potential customers of the necessity of buying their products now.

     For the would be home brewer, small cans of Hopfen und Malz Extrakt  were popping up for sale in delis and food stores. By adding water and a packet of yeast to the malted extract, the beer drinker was promised a stimulating malt beverage of at least 5% alcohol in five to seven days.

     First Ward Alderman Michael Kenna’s Workingmen’s Exchange mockingly announced a series of recitations and songs on June 30 to mark the passing of John Barleycorn, including “The Old Man’s Drunk Again”  and “Father, Dear Father, Come Home With Me Now.”  At the Hamilton Club, a dinner dance was to be held until midnight when the body of the late John Barleycorn would be brought in by pallbearers for a solemn, but tongue-in-cheek wake. Preparations in hotels, cafes and saloons throughout the city were being made, proprietors predicting record business. When some establishments still threatened to stay open after midnight, July 1, Alderman Anton J. Cermak of the United Societies warned that those who defied the law would endanger any chance of reopening if President Wilson finally declared the Army demobilized and allowed the bars to reopen.

Good Bye To Beer


     On June 30, 1919, Chicagoans celebrated like never before. Whisky and some of the more exotic mixed drinks seemed to be the drinks of choice. The reason for this was simple; Cermak declared that Chicago saloons had run out of real beer before June 30. “Two days before June 30, the last available barrel of real beer had gone from the breweries. There wasn’t a beer jag in town, unless some youngster had a make believe.”[xxii]  If Cermak was correct in his sobering assessment, it would have been the second time since the hot summer of 1854 that Chicago had run out of beer. The Green Mill Garden, the Marigold Room, the Sheridan Inn and the Rainbow enjoyed record business. On the South Side, the De Luxe, the Entertainers and the Elite, were reported to be open well past midnight. An estimate that over $1,500,000 had been spent on beer and booze caused one observer of Chicago’s greatest wassailing occasion to suggest that the city motto be changed from “I Will” to “I Swill.”

The Illinois Search And Seizure Act

     With a collective hangover of tens of thousands, the city slowly awoke the next day to learn that United States Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer had announced the night before that the manufacture and sale of beer with 2 3/4% alcohol could continue until the federal courts ruled on whether or not such beer was legally intoxicating. Recent test cases in New York had resulted in a decision to question what amount of alcohol in beer could be legally considered intoxicating. “We will proceed in an orderly fashion to establish whether intoxicating beverages proscribed by the law include those having less than 2 3/4% per cent alcohol,”  advised Palmer. Until the Supreme Court ruled on a legal definition of intoxicating or until January 16, 1920, 2 3/4% beer could continue to be sold in those states that did not have dry laws on their books. Impulsively acting on Palmer’s ruling, Illinois Attorney General Edward J. Brundage initially issued a statement that the sale of beer and wine with 2 3/4% alcohol could continue in Illinois until National Prohibition took effect on January 16, 1920. In accordance with these opinions, the Chicago City Council quickly passed an ordinance authorizing the issuance of temporary sixty-day liquor licenses, a move introduced by Alderman Cermak. The licenses now sold for $50 a month instead of the old cost of $83, which would have allowed the sale of hard alcohol.

     Later that day, City Corporation Counsel Samuel A. Ettelson conferred with Attorney General Brundage on Palmer’s ruling. As a result of their meeting, despite no federal court rulings on the definition of what amount of alcohol in beer was legally considered intoxicating, Police Chief Garrity was instructed to arrest anyone who attempted to sell any beverage that contained more than one-half of 1 % of alcohol. Brundage now ruled that “The search and seizure act of the state of Illinois, in force and effect after July 1, 1919, defines intoxicating liquor or liquids as including all distilled spirituous, vinous, fermented, or malt liquors which contain more than one-half of 1 percent by volume of alcohol, and all alcoholic liquids, compounds, and preparations, whether proprietary, patented, or not, which are portable and are capable of or suitable for being used as a beverage.”

     When reporters questioned Brundage on his reversed decision, he claimed that he had been earlier misinformed. “I was called on the telephone at my home and informed that the government had modified its provisions of the wartime prohibition act to permit sale of light beverages containing no more than 2 3/4 per cent of alcohol. I said that if this were true, it would be permissible under the Illinois law to sell such beverages here. When the full details of the federal government’s action were shown to me I immediately issued the new statement regarding the search and seizure law, which effectually prohibits the sale of anything containing more than one half of one percent of alcohol.”

     With the enforcement of state law versus a yet established federal opinion, the death knoll for beer in Chicago was sounded at 6:30 P.M. July 1, 1919.

     Some saloons and clubs openly defied the closing mandate. It was later reported that fanatical prohibitionist Reverend Arthur Burrage Farwell of the Chicago Law and Order League and his team of vigilant investigators had found violations of the 12 o’clock closing law on June 30. Farwell also disclosed that whiskey was seen purchased at the Dorchester at 67th and Dorchester and at the Tavern, located at 58th and State. The Reverend stayed long enough at these locations to additionally note in his report that women in all stages of undress were seen in both places.

Local Brewers Go On The Offensive

     After the closings, the Chicago Brewers’ Association passed a resolution to continue to challenge not only the wartime prohibition bill but to also challenge the National Prohibition Act by hastening any test cases through the courts. What they needed was a brewer willing to act as a “victim”  for a test case on the legality of manufacturing 2 3/4% beer. The procedural events leading up to a ruling had already been mapped out by the brewers and their attorneys. Industry leaders anticipated that an expected federal suit would charge a consenting brewer with a violation of the food conservation act and the selling of an intoxicating beverage. After arrest, the association’s plan called for the brewer to plead guilty and pay the fine.

     On July 14, a suit was filed by District Attorney Clyne against the Stenson Brewing Company. It was charged that the brewery “did use grains and cereals in the manufacture and production of beer for beverage purposes containing as much as one-half of one percent alcoholic content by both weight and volume…”  and sold the beer on July 2 to Timothy King, a saloonkeeper at 3153 Archer Avenue. Six counts were included in the suit, three for the sale of the beer and three concerning the manufacture of the beer. The Stenson brothers abruptly changed their original strategy of pleading guilty and instead argued that they were innocent of the charges, stating that the November 21, 1918 wartime prohibition bill “relates only to beer which is in fact intoxicating”  and that the information used in the charges “fails to allege that the beer made or sold was in fact intoxicating.”  They also argued that the wartime prohibition bill should be construed as unconstitutional and void since it was a wartime measure and that at the time of the manufacture and sale of their beer “No war affecting the United States was in progress.”

     Attorney Clyne confirmed that a dozen more suits would soon be filed against the North American Brewing Company, the Hoffman Brewing Company and the Primalt Products Company, the old Independent Brewing Association. The Stenson case was the first suit of it’s kind in the United States since a criminal statute was brought into question. Both Levy Mayer, special counsel of the Chicago Brewers’ Association, and Attorney Clyne worked together on bringing the test case to the District Court and eventually to the Supreme Court, hoping to force the federal court to arrive at a definitive ruling of what percentage of alcohol was to be considered intoxicating. A demurrer filed on July 21 by attorneys for the brewers once again argued that the wartime prohibition bill was void since it was passed as a war measure, the war now over, and that the law did not fix the alcoholic content which beer might contain.

     All arguments and legal challenges by brewery industry and legal representatives were ended with the passage of the Volstead Act on October 27, 1919. The Act clarified prohibition enforcement procedures and mandated a limit of 0.5 percent alcohol of any and all drink as the baseline standard for intoxicating beverages. In doing so, the Volstead Act quashed the final question of legality for National Prohibition.

Early Effects Of No Beer In Chicago

     Of the forty-three city breweries operating before July 1, only sixteen had renewed their brewing licenses. It had been expected that most of the remaining twenty-seven breweries would have applied for license extensions to produce 2 ¾% beer. But now, just days into the end of the drink trade in Chicago, saloonkeepers were serving near beer, pop or numerous other non-alcoholic drinks such as Old Crowe Flavor.  Of the 120 bars in the Loop, all but 16 remained open, waiting hopefully for President Wilson to declare the Army demobilized and allow a return to a whisky and real beer business. But as the saloonkeepers and brewers waited for a sign from Washington, the early effects of the state mandated search and seizure law began to cascade throughout the restaurant and hotel industry. Waiters at the downtown hotels and clubs started to bemoan their now sober customers. “I got a $1.50 in tips today,”  complained one frustrated waiter at Vogelsang’s Restaurant. “Before July 1, it was a poor day when I didn’t clean up $8 to $10 in tips.”  A Hotel Sherman waiter echoed his comrade’s sentiment. “The firewater sure did lubricate a man’s pocketbook. How’s a man gonna get tips on lemonade?”  he asked.

     Others realized the futility of it all; whether beer and booze came back briefly next week or next month, National Prohibition was just around the corner. At the famous De Jonghe’s, a soda fountain was soon installed. Workers at the Palmer House bar were following suit, converting the business into a soda fountain emporium.

     In less than a week after the state search and seizure law had taken effect in Chicago, saloon owners started to complain of poor business. One drink or two of near beer or some non-alcoholic concoction was the limit for regulars whom continued to visit their old drinking haunts simply out of habit. But the habit was starting to fade. John Dunne, a saloonkeeper near the Criminal Courts building, gave all his bartenders the day off for the Fourth of July. By noon, manning the bar by himself, he sold one bottle of soda on a day that business customarily boomed. At 12:10, Dunne had enough and closed for the day. Bartenders throughout the city complained that customers didn’t loiter like they did before. After the usual rush at lunch and after work, the once busy bars were quickly deserted as near beer and soda pop failed to satisfy the cravings of patrons for something more stimulating. Once thriving saloons lay deserted save for the empty beer kegs piled next to the bar. Wooden cases still holding bottles drained of their contents and now stacked for disposal beckoned their old customers through dirty saloon windows to enjoy “A Case Of Good Judgement”,  but to no avail.  

     Chicagoans had given the state imposed Search and Seizure Act less than one week before turning in their verdicts; prohibition, in a state or federal form, was not for them. There were those who quietly observed the reactions of thirsty Chicagoans with marked interest and heard their grumblings of “no whiskey”  and “near beer”  and watched the frustration and disappointment of desperate saloon owners as their livelihoods slowly collapsed. They realized that the prohibition of beer and strong drink would never satisfy the needs of a population accustomed to serious libations.

     One such observer was Johnny Torrio. 

Signed and personalized copies of Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago are available through  Amazon. Click on the “New” link, next to the “Used” link. I have brand new copies availble for $9.90 as Christmas stocking-stuffers.

For a look at the evolution of American Beer, pick up this Christmas gift,
Beer & Food: An American History. 

Intro By Jim Koch, Founder Of The Boston Beer Company, Makers Of Samuel Adams Beers

Intro By Jim Koch, Founder Of The Boston Beer Company, Makers Of Samuel Adams Beers



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So Do We All Agree That December 5, 1933 Is The End Of National Prohibition?

Posted by Bob Skilnik on December 4, 2008

I’ve been bitching and moaning for the last few years about April 7, 1933 being celebrated by various groups as the end of Prohibition when the real end was December 5, 1933. On that date, the 18th Amendment was nullified by the passing of the 21st Amendment. In the meantime, I’ve heard all the contorted stories by a dwindling number of revisionists who still want to hang their hats on April 7.

Today is December 5, the 75th Anniversary of the end of Prohibition. Period. And as expected, beer writers and bloggers are wringing their hands about the significance of the date, its meaning in the grand scheme of things and whether it should be seen as a day of celebration or reflection. And with these postings, there seems to be a need to also tie the date to homebrewing and its supposed illegality during the dry years.

I contend, however, that homebrewing, per se, was NEVER illegal; what was illegal was the way in which malt extract (called “syrup” back then) was labeled and advertised. To support this argument, I’ve included a section from my last book, Beer & Food: An American History. What makes this book so interesting is that while it takes a look at the early marriage of American beer and food and how this union was cultivated, and gives a fascinating glimpse into why there might be a beer in your fridge today, it really details the history and development of beer in the Colonies and the eventual United States of America.

It’s this history that too many beer drinkers, writers, amateur historians and bloggers don’t understand, and as a result, the same old tired beer stories are told over and over. For instance;

1.) If I had a dime for every uninformed claim that corn and rice were dumped into beer coppers as a result of Prohibition (“They were brewing lighter beers for women,” “Brewers wanted more profit so they cheapened their beers”), I’d be writing this entry from the southern coast of France.

2.) Speaking of Prohibition, one of my “favorite” quotes and quite often pouring out of the mouths of some respected contemporary beer writers and “authorities,” is this, “National Prohibition forever changed the face of the U.S. brewing industry and the beers of old.” However, if you look at the neverending changes in the character, quality and brewing of American beer, you’d see that change was and is constant in the industry. In the short time of just a few decades, U.S. beer went from a creature with British origins but often brewed with indigenous American ingredients and brought to fermentation in a manner that some Belgian breweries still use today, to a murky German lager, in short time. . .cleaned up as a golden-colored Bohemian-styled pilsner, soon changed to a lighter version of the product from Pilsen with the addition of costly corn and rice, a product that eventually enjoyed shelf stability with pasteurization, benefited from the change from brewing as an art to brewing as a science and the resultant “cleaner” brew with the isolation of a single and pure cell of yeast, widespread bottling, the use of crown caps, a demand for ice-cold beer, the use of mechanical refrigeration, a wave of brewery closings and consolidations throughout the country when British investors bought into breweries throughout the U.S., only to find that intense competition had taken the bloom off the industry’s rose, increased beer taxes during the Spanish-American War, the brewing of a mandated weakened beer of 2.75% alcohol during WW I, the cessation of brewing in the United States on December 1, 1918, the later resumption of beer with an alcoholic strength of 3.2%, and finally. . .National Prohibition. So I find it hard to accept the argument that Prohibition irrevocably changed beer and brewing in the U.S. Folks, it was changing the moment the first colonist fired up his brew kettle, and it has continued to see change to this very day.

3.) Homebrewing was illegal during Prohibition. No, it wasn’t. Read on.

Posted in Beer History, Books & Beer, Food History, Malt Extract | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Homemade Root Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on December 3, 2008


Forget using yeast, bottling and then waiting 1-2 days for some carbonation to build up in bottles. Here’s a quick and easy way to enjoy homemade root beer almost instantly.


Makes 6 (1-cup) servings.                                                                 

McCormick extracts can be used for some great liqueur recipes too!

McCormick extracts can be used for some great liqueur recipes too!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Refrigerate: 2 hours


1 1/2 cups tap water

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Root Beer Concentrate

1 bottle (1 liter) cold soda water, seltzer or club soda, carbonated water, or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods 


1. Bring tap water to boil in medium saucepan. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Add Root Beer Concentrate; stir until well mixed.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slowly pour cold soda water/seltzer or club soda/carbonated water/ into root beer mixture until well blended and serve.


 Root Beer Floats: Place scoops of ice cream in tall glasses. Slowly pour Easy Homemade Root Beer over ice cream and serve.


per serving

Calories: 96

Fat: 0 g

Carbohydrates: 24 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 48 mg

Fiber: 0 g

Protein: 0 g

Posted in Extract Recipes | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Benefits of Beer in Running For Runners

Posted by Bob Skilnik on November 26, 2008

Staying on the theme of beer and exercise, I ran across this posting. The website is aimed at marathon runners, but the consumption of beer by marathon runners is widely practiced. Anybody who can run 26 miles deserves a beer.

“Beer contains predominantly water and carbohydrate, both of which are essential in post-race recovery. A recent study at Granada University in Spain found that the sugars, salts and bubbles in a pint can help athletes absorb fluids more quickly than rehydrating with water.

“The carbon dioxide in beer helps quench thirst more quickly, while the carbohydrates replace some of the calories lost through exercise.”


Posted in Beer & Health | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Know How To Drink Alcohol While Building Muscle and Losing Fat

Posted by Bob Skilnik on November 25, 2008

Gimme a beer!
Gimme a beer!

Article moved to

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer And Carbohydrates, Beer Nutritional Info, Plugs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Visit a Beer Spa

Posted by Bob Skilnik on November 23, 2008

“An original curative spa therapy connecting a soothing hot bath, the spring of healing mineral water IL-SANO, the unique dark Bathing Beer and rejuvenating effects of beer yeast with a mixture of hops and dehydrated curative herbs.”

The Real Beer Spa – the way to refresh the power of body and mind!

More Here

Posted in Beer & Health | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by Bob Skilnik on November 17, 2008



Serve with a Honey-Flavored Specialty Beer, such as Michelob Honey Lager.


1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup dried cranberries, chopped                                                       

1 package (10 ounces) baby spinach

⅓ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons cranberry juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 bacon slices, drained, and crumbled


  1. In a large bowl, combine the apple, onion, cranberries, and spinach and toss to mix well.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, cranberry juice, mustard, salt, and pepper over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Drizzle the warm dressing over the salad and toss well.  Sprinkle with the bacon.  Serve immediately.


Cook’s Tip: Toss the salad while the dressing is still hot to wilt the spinach leaves.


Makes 6 servings.


*Recipe courtesy of the Anheuser-Busch cookbook – Great Food Great Beer.


From the folks at Anheuser-Busch; Heres our recommended holiday spread (a new take on the traditional offerings) with recipes from Great Food Great Beer: The Anheuser-Busch Cookbook paired with our various specialty and craft-style brews.


Posted in Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Halloween!

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 31, 2008

Why can’t witches have babies?                                                              

Their husbands have crystal balls and Hollow-weenies!  




Try the salmon and don't forget to tip your waiter!
Try the salmon and don’t forget to tip your waiter!!


Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Good Times Or Bad – It’s All About The Beer!

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 30, 2008

Everytime there’s an economic bump or slump, a reporter gets the brilliant idea of talking to some beer marketing personnel about beer sales and how a downturn will affect beer sales. Usually the arguments contradict each other, with one view being that premium or super-premium beers will fall and we’ll all run out and start stocking up on 30-pack suitcases of Busch Ice…they other being that the super-premiums will keep selling, maybe not with the kind of “gusto” you might see in times of prosperity, but beer drinkers will still buy their favorite brands with no compromising. I always have the feeling, however, that at least one side is bloviating while trying to justify why he or she’s latest “brilliant” ad campaign isn’t working.

I received an e-mail from a brewer down in New Zealand, and while it’s the other side of the world as far as I’m concerned, living outside of Chicago, it takes the experiences of beer drinkers so many miles away to prove a point that I’ve always known; rich or poor, I’ll be drinking what I always drink. It’s not like I’m being forced to decide whether or not I should buy a Ford Taurus or a new and tricked-out 4-door Mercedes.

“While people may think twice about large purchases like cars and white goods, affordable luxuries like premium beer tend to remain popular,” notes a spokesman from Lion Nathan, proving my analogy above.

We’re talking about beer.

From The Courier-Mail;

  • Beer sales thrive in downturns
  • Consumption even up on 1987’s Black Monday
  • Sales not subject to sudden movements

IF your shattered share portfolio has left you a little dispirited, here’s an investment opportunity almost guaranteed to produce solid returns in the bleak months ahead – beer.

A 30-year study of Australian beer sales tracked against the Westpac Consumer Confidence Survey has unearthed compelling evidence beer sales don’t merely survive recessions, they thrive on them.

The graph, which has been used by the industry for investor presentations in recent months, shows beer sales starting in January 1975 gliding effortlessly above the turbulence of wages decline in the late 1970s, the recession of the early 1990s and the Asian meltdown of 1998.

In fact, soon after the Black Monday share market collapse of October 1987, the beer graph gently rises, indicating an increase in consumption lasting about five years.

It’s only after the unpleasant business of the recession and Gulf War-inspired oil spikes is complete that the graph returns to its gentle, if slightly downward trajectory.

Foster’s brewers confirm sale figures from as late as September this year show beer drinkers appear blissfully unaware the globe is in the grasp of a once-in-a-100-year financial catastrophe.


And thanks to;
Paddy Sweeney
CEO Westcoast Brewing Ltd

who has also added nutritional information about his beers in my latest book, “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” I have to also remark here that it’s a bit bewildering that I can get the cooperation of someone I don’t know who owns a brewery in New Zealand and who was so helpful in providing me with information for my upcoming book. In the meantime, some of the bigger micro and regional breweries refuse to even answer my e-mails or the form boxes on their own websites that say something like “Ask The Brewer!” but won’t answer my questions. Why put an “Ask The Brewer” section on your site if you refuse to answer a simple question or two.

On the other hand, some of the brewers who gave me a hard time a few years ago when I was writing “The Low Carb Bartender” have come around and have been wonderfully cooperative. To all of them, I tip my hat, but for rest of them, remember this; when the e-mails start coming in to me when the book comes online and readers ask why I don’t have the information about your brewery and its beers – their favorite beers – I’ll simply tell them that you apparently don’t care about what they’re looking for in a beer and that there are hundreds of other breweries who were wonderfully cooperative.

Why not try one of their beers? They care.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Ben Franklin, Bob Skilnik and Colonial Spirits

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 29, 2008

Ben Franklin; What He DIDN'T Say About Beer!

Ben Franklin; What He DIDN'T Say about Beer!

Ben and Colonial Spirits
2-3:30pm, Sun., Nov. 2





Bob Skilnik, Chicago’s beer historian, discusses the beers and ales favored by Franklin and the Founding Fathers even during their informal political discussions.

                   Columbus, Ohio Brewery Issues First T-Shirt Recall in The Nation
Elevator Brewing Company Owner Will Replace Historically Inaccurate Ben Franklin T-Shirts


Posted in Appearances, Beer & Food In The News, Beer History, Plugs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Is Anheuser-Busch Smoking?

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 27, 2008

A-B has Ira Glass hawking Budweiser American Ale. IRA GLASS.

A-B thinks that this NPR snob represents the typical Bud American Ale drinker?

A few years ago, A-B was trying to figure out who the market was for Bud Select, a low-calorie/low-carb beer that A-B went out of its way not to promote these attributes. The hired some “rap artist” for a $2 mil contract, dressed up like a blinged-up pimp while exciting some pimped-out car that was worth more money than every house on my block. 2 million freaking dollars. Now if someone can find me 2 black beer drinkers who drink (1) A Bud product and (2) A low calorie/carb A-B beer, you’ll be looking for the rest of your life.

Here it is, a few year laters. Right now, they’re still trying to figure out the beer’s market. The last commercial I saw was a bunch of WASP with their sweaters tied around their necks, and I think they were playing golf. This time we were told that the beer had a rich, bold taste. That commercial too was buried about a month later. I imagine the next attempt at this beer being promoted again before they simply dump the rest of it in their buffalo wing sauce, will be a group of starving North Koreans huddling by the only working light bulb in their village. Perhaps they’ll sing songs about the “Great Leader” while commenting on the rich, bold tatste of such a low-calorie/carb beer.

Please A-B, call me. I’ll do a focus group for you for thousands less and I’ll tell you this: Black and overpaid hip-hop artist exiting a million dollar car and dressed up like a walking South African diamond mine will not make this middle-aged white guy go out and buy a beer that is so poorly positioned.

If you want to sell Bud American Ale, send me a case and $10,000 and I’ll sell more beer in a week than Ira Glass will sell during the High Holy Days. Ira Glass? This guy suckles from the PBS teats of the American taxpayer but he represents the demographic that A-B wants to drink Budweiser American Ale? Ira Glass? Oh wait…Wally Cox is dead.

Fire these PR people. They’re laughable. Or simply spray some cold water on the blouses of non-bra wearing and well-endowed blondes while swigging down Select. I could save A-B millions and ready some dry towels for the girls…or maybe not.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Editorial | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 24, 2008

I know that I’m the first one to scream about politcs interjected into beer sites, and if you want to throw this into my face…go ahead, but for me, this video goes well beyond politics; this isn’t politics people, my God, it’s who I am and what I believe. How could you as a human being think otherwise?

I find this video moving beyond belief.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Why?“, posted with vodpod



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Nutritional Info For Toohey’s White Stag Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 23, 2008

Coming Soon!

Does My BUTT Look BIG In This BEER?


Tooheys New                oz    carbs    calories    abv
White Stag                    12   03.20       179      04.60

Posted in Beer And Carbohydrates, Beer Nutritional Info | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Bitch Creek ESB Takes GABF Silver Medal in the American Brown Ale Category

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 22, 2008




430 Old Jackson Hole Highway    Victor, ID  83455

208.787.9000 (phone)    208.787.4114 (fax)



Contact: Chuck Nowicki, National Sales Manager

(208) 787-9000


October 17, 2008




VICTOR, ID – In its 20th year, Grand Teton Brewing Company, known throughout the West for their exceptional microbrews, has won another medal with their legendary Bitch Creek ESB. At this year’s prestigious Great American Beer Festival, Bitch Creek found itself in familiar territory, once again standing on the podium, this time with a silver medal in the American Brown Ale category.


Over the last few years, Bitch Creek ESB has become dominant at the highest level of beer competitions.  This spring it won a medal at the World Beer Cup in only its 2nd appearance.  During this summer’s North American Beer Awards, it repeated last year’s Gold Medal performance. This makes for five medals in five years at the NABA.  At the Great American Beer Festival, this year’s win represents four medals in five years, including two Gold Medals. To win consistently at this level requires a truly superior brew.


Bitch Creek ESB perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full-bodied, satisfying mahogany ale.  Like the creek for which it’s named, Bitch Creek ESB is complex, full of character and not for the timid.


The success of Bitch Creek has not gone unnoticed.  Record numbers of beer drinkers have been calling, visiting and emailing the brewery wanting more distribution.  Many have gotten their wish fulfilled this year!  This summer alone Grand Teton Brewing Co. has added distributors in New York, Idaho, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Missouri and Kansas. Grand Teton Brewing has even released a Double Bitch Creek in its renowned Cellar Reserve Series of beers.


Celebrating 20 years this year, Grand Teton Brewing Company was founded in 1988 as the first modern “micro” brewery in the state of Wyoming.  Today, founder Charlie Otto and his company are in the top 100 craft breweries in North America.  Premium microbrews include the award-winning Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass IPA, Workhorse Wheat and the favorites of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Old Faithful Ale (pale golden), Au Naturale (organic blonde ale) and Teton Ale (amber).  From their production facility in Victor, Idaho, Grand Teton Brewing Company beers are hand-crafted from only the finest ingredients, including locally-grown grains and pure Teton mountain spring water.  GTBC is a green company utilizing bio-diesel and feeding local farmer’s cattle with spent grain from the brew kettle.  Discriminating beer drinkers can find their favorite GTBC brews on tap and in bottles throughout Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Washington and Oregon, with limited distribution in New York and Minnesota!








Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Plugs | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Advertise In “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” Tell Your Customers You Care

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 19, 2008



Reference Book Contains the Nutritional Values of 2,000 Worldwide Beers, Complete With Calorie and Carbohydrate Content, Alcohol by Volume and Weight Watchers® Points – Valuable Reference Guide for Anyone on Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach or a Lifestyle of Moderation

CHICAGO, IL – October 20, 2008 /PR Web/ — Gambrinus Media announced today that “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” (ISBN Pending, $12.95) will soon be heading to bookstores. Author Bob Skilnik continues his exploration of beer and nutrition, following on the success of his three earlier books, “The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet: A Low-Carbohydrate Approach,” “The Low Carb Bartender” and “101 Ways to Cut Fat and Carbs.” This 3-pack of books has placed Skilnik on the national scene with appearances on ABC’s “The View,” ESPN’s former morning show, “Cold Pizza” and multiple appearances on the FOX News Channel. His experiences have also shown him that there’s a huge and growing segment of beer drinkers who want expanded nutritional information on the labels of their favorite brews. According to Skilnik, with the coming of his new beer reference book of over 2,000 beers with their nutritional values, they won’t have long to wait.


While the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) grapples with the demand for nutritional labeling requirements of alcoholic beverages, “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” will provide the kind of information that beer drinkers want now. The TTB admits that whenever they can come to a labeling compromise that will lessen the financial burden on the brewing industry with new imposed labeling standards and satisfy consumer advocacy groups which have been pushing this approach for decades, it will still take a 3-year lag period before mandates kick in. Actual projections of 4 to 5 years before consumers can finally find this kind of detailed nutritional information on beer labels are expected by consumer groups and the brewing industry. But the author and certified brewer Skilnik says “Why wait?”


“With the help of breweries around the world, including a number of popular U.S. microbreweries, “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” will provide solid information on the nutritive values of more than 2,000 worldwide beers. Brewers can further help this effort by contacting us with the necessary production information of their beer portfolios for last minute inclusion. This is not a diet book, but will give customers more information about their favorite beers. Informed customers might pass by a 50-stack display, just because a competitor took the time to contact our office with the information we need for this book. Owners from craft breweries like Abita, Alaskan, Flying Dog, Full Sail, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island, the Minhas/Huber Brewery, and so many more, for instance, have been extremely cooperative with my requests for nutritional information of their fine products, as well as receiving great support from venerable brewing giants such as Anheuser-Busch, Foster’s, Grolsch, Heineken, Lion-Nathan and many more. These companies thrive in today’s competitive beer market because they understand what their customers want. I see this demonstrated all the time in e-mails that I receive about my earlier books, works that only touched on carbohydrates in beer. Beer drinkers want access to full nutritional info of their favorite products and have turned to me for help. Regretfully, federal foot-dragging and head-in-the-sand resistance by some brewers who seem to ignore what their customers are looking for on beer labels has made this a struggle. Fortunately, persistence and the open-armed help of so many other progressive brewers who realize that this is the kind of information that their customers want, has made this book possible. I’m extremely grateful to these breweries, big, small and U.S. or foreign-owned, for their help.”


Skilnik hopes that breweries throughout the world will continue to contact him with information on their products for last minute inclusion in this revolutionary reference book before it goes to print in late November.


A certain number of pages will also be held open for sponsorship opportunities, including full-page black & white ads. Sponsorship fees and other questions about the book can be found by going to www. A separate 2.0 website with videos, podcasts and updates to the book are in development. Its launch will coincide with the release of “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?”


Bob Skilnik is a certified brewer, author, freelance writer and lecturer. He is a contributor newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune’s “Good Eating” section and Draft Magazine, and a former columnist for the LowCarb Magazine, writing under the alias of “The Low-Carb Bartender.” He was recently interviewed by as part of a series of national food and drink luminaries on beer enjoyment that included Skilnik, the Food Network’s Mario Batali, bad boy chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, and Chef Jamie Oliver. 

Release date: December, 2008
Paperback book, available with perfect binding.
120 pages.   7.5″ x 9.25″  (235mm  x  191mm)
20% premium for first page insert ad.  15% premium for last page insert ad.
Distribution is with Ingram, the largest distributor of books in the world, with access to brick-and-mortar and online stores throughout the world, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble and score more.
Contact Bob Skilnik at 815.557.4608 for more details.


Recent Mentions and Reviews For Bob Skilnik’s Books                  

Beer & Food: An American History

“A tasty history, from beer soup to Beer Nuts, with pickled pigs’ feet in between.”
Philadelphia Daily News

“His book gives a fascinating account of the birth and growth of our country’s brewing industry and its influence on American cuisine.”

Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago

“Bob Skilnik thinks most historians have overlooked what a thirsty job it was being hog butcher to the world.”
Chicago Tribune

“…the real Chicago story began with Prohibition, and this is where local author Skilnik shines.” Chicago Sun-Times

“Skilnik’s book, quite skillfully, brings focus to the history of Chicago’s beer production, distribution, retail sale, and consumption patterns.”
Illinois Heritage Magazine

The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet: A Low-Carbohydrate Approach

“It may not be for everyone, but beer lovers will certainly applaud his effort.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Bob Skilnik’s diet book could be an entertaining stocking stuffer for the beer drinker on your list who needs to lose a few pounds.”
The Atlantic Journal-Constitution

“Skilnik makes a take-notice promise in his preface: “With careful monitoring of your daily carbohydrate intake, you’ll be able to enjoy two or more beers a day and still lose weight.”  The Detroit Free Press

“With a sense of humor and self-deprecating observations about his own diet struggles, Skilnik argues that the average beer drinker loads up on too many other high-carb foods.”
Philadelphia Daily News

“Nothing has kept the weight off until [Skilnik] developed this plan.”
Contra Costa Times

“The book amounts to a low-carb diet plan, similar to many on the market, except that this one allows beer.”
Lexington Herald-Leader

“Skilnik’s credentials for writing such a book are his…experiences trying nearly every diet out there in the past 30 years.”
Contra Costa Times

“Beer expert Bob Skilnik’s new diet book, The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet, shows how to regulate carbohydrates without giving up good beer.”
Modern Brewery Age.  

Skilnik has also appeared on a number of television and radio stations in the U.S. and Canada promoting his books. A small sampling follows:


The View
New York City, NY

Cold Pizza
New York City, NY

Fox News Channel
New York City, NY

Fox News Channel
Chicago, IL

Chicago Tonight
Chicago, IL


WGN Radio 720 AM
Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg
Chicago, IL

WGN Radio 720 AM
The Kathy & Judy Show
Chicago, IL

The Rock, 95.1
Rock Mornings With Chris & April
Chatham, Ontario, Canada

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

KURR 99.5
Clear Channel (Simulcast)
Salt Lake City, UT-Colorado Springs, CO-Reno, NV

The Gourmet Club, Listen-On-Demand
San Diego, CA


Posted in Beer & Health, Beer And Calories, Beer And Carbohydrates, beer diet, Beer Nutritional Info, Books & Beer, calories in beer, carbohydrates in beer, Plugs, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nutritional Info For Schlafly Oktoberfest

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 15, 2008

Oktoberfest                12 oz         22.20 carbs         185 calories     05.10 abv


Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?

Nutritional Values of 1,800 Worldwide Beers

— Bob Skilnik —

aka, The Low-Carb Bartender

Posted in Beer & Health, Beer And Calories, Beer And Carbohydrates, Beer Nutritional Info, calories in beer, carbohydrates in beer, Malt Beverage Nutritional Info | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bacon Martini

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 14, 2008

From the Double Down Saloon in Vegas …                            

Shaken, not stirred.
I give you not only the Bacon Martini but also the fabled drink, Ass Juice.

                         Shaken, not stirred.

Posted in Booze Recipes | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pan Fried Pork Chops w/ Apple Cider Gravy

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 14, 2008

I’m a gravy kind of guy and cold weather means gravy…lots of gravy!Cider Gravy and Pork Chops


4 loin pork chops

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup beef stock
1 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 bay leaf
pepper and salt to taste


  1. Cook the pork chops in a skillet on stovetop turning once to complete the cooking. 
  2. Make the gravy in pan drippings.  Mix the cornstarch in a little of the beef stock to make a slurry.  Add the slurry to the pan drippings. 
  3. Gradually add the remaining beef stock, stirring constantly to make smooth liquid.  Add the cider, thyme, and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the gravy thickens and is bubbly.  Cook for three or four more minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Before serving, remove the bay leaf.

Posted in Cooking With Cider | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Float

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 7, 2008


  1/2 cup heavy cream


    1 tablespoon sugar


    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    1 pint vanilla ice cream


    Two 12-ounce bottles Dogfish Head Punkin Ale


    4 gingersnaps, crumbled


Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and cinnamon until blended. Scoop the ice cream into 4 highball glasses and add half a bottle of beer to each glass. Top with the whipped cream and gingersnaps.

From Every Day with Rachael Ray
November 2006
Cutting Calories?

Switch no-fat half & half for heavy cream
Use frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream
Substitute Splenda for sugar

Check here for Calories In Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.

Posted in Cooking With Beer | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Nutritional Info For Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 7, 2008

                Dogfish Head Punkin Ale                                  

 Punkin Ale                  12 oz       230 calories      07.00  abv                

Posted in Beer Nutritional Info | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Writing Services/Beer (& More) In Food

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 7, 2008

*Need an article for your business, maybe something to pass on to a trade magazine with your
name on the byline?

*Have a copywriting request that needs to be “keyword” rich?

*Looking for the kind of news release that will get you calls from local and national media

*Own a restaurant and need an advertising/restaurant review that will give it a needed shot in
the financial arm?

*Have a manuscript that needs the unbiased eye of an editor?

*Can’t quite get your book proposal in order?

*Have a book idea and have done the groundwork research but don’t have the time to write it?
Consider my ghostwriting services.

*Considering writing a book but don’t understand the publishing process or all your options?

E-mail Bob with questions.

Bob Skilnik is an alumnus of Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology, the oldest brewing school in the U.S.; a former associate editor for the American Breweriana Journal; a contributor to trade journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune’s “Good Eating” section. He has appeared on ABC’s The View, the Fox News Channel’s Fox News Live, ESPN2’s Cold Pizza and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

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Two Dishes Made With Octoberfest Brews

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 3, 2008



Go Get ‘Em!!

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Make Mine A Melamine!

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 3, 2008

Europe’s going through another melamine scare, this time in bakery goods, Lotte Koala biscuits. Two weeks ago it was Cadbury Chocolates made and sold in Europe. Before that it was baby formula. Before that it was dog food.

The chemical melamine appears to be a cheap way of working around required protein content in foods. Add some, save on the use of the higher cost of protein additives, make a buck, sit back and watch people and pets die.

It’s amazing…and it’s coming from China.

Now I’ve consumed my fair share of Tsingtao beer, a venerable Chinese brew and the number one branded consumer product exported from China. It’s been in the States since 1972.

But no longer. There’s plenty of beers out there to choose from. In my opinion, why take a chance? I’ve thrown out every food product made in China; I won’t buy fish or shrimp from China. I carefully check all my dogs’ foods and treats. If they say “Distributed in the U.S. by the XYZ Company,” I look a little further to see where it was made. More often than not, dog treats, and even toys, are made in China.

Do what you want, but don’t make mine A Melamine.

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Oktoberfest Beer Review

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 2, 2008

Paulaner Oktoberfest Beer

Paulaner Oktoberfest Beer


Here’s a review of some popular Oktoberfest beers including Paulaner, Harpoon, Samuel Adams, Brooklyn Brewing and Spaten.

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