TAP ROOM & Its STEINS
THE TAP ROOM
Decades ago, nearly every brewer had a Tap Room, including the Bavarian Brewing Co. The former Bavarian Tap Room is often referred to in this presentation in this manner - simply as the Tap Room. As the name implies, it was a place to taste freshly made draught beer from kegs that were just tapped. It was where clients and guests of the brewer could sample beer for free and perhaps have a snack. At the Bavarian Tap Room, a frequent accompaniment with a glass of beer in the 1950s were stick pretzels served in small wood bowls. The pretzels were often kept in a refrigerated area off the tap room with the kegs. Besides beer, if there were minors using the tap room or anyone that didn't prefer to drink beer, the tap room also offered root beer. The Tap Room was also used for employee meetings and by employees. It was located on an upper floor of the Brew House. A photo of the entrance to the Tap Room is shown in the photo on the left below. It was taken years after the brewery was abandoned and the windows, wood and metal railings show various degrees of deterioration.
The Bavarian Tap Room was paneled in wood and had high shelves above the paneling to display steins, bottles and other items. The steins were usually for display only, with the beer usually served in smaller glasses, like the ones shown on the inside the tap room, below. The center photo shows Ray Hoffman in the middle who was the General Manager of Bavarian from the 1940's until the mid 1950's. Apparently he was speaking to some employees while enjoying Bavarian's beer. The other photo shows a group of Bavarian executives. The photo on the far right shows a Bavarian Sign that in the 1902 photo, shown under Pre-Prohibition Signs. A couple chargers on the paneled walls behind the bar and some steins and bottles on the ledge above the wood paneling are visible in the interior tap room photos. (Please see Trays & Chargers.) These decorations provided an upscale atmosphere for the Bavarian Tap Room. However, because some decorations were specific to the brewer, Tap Rooms were usually rather unique in each brewery.
The above "Germania" stein by Mettlach was handed down within the William Riedlin and Schott families. It is about 23-inches tall and 5.75 liters in size. This same stein is shown in the 1902 photo shown under the Riedlin Years and also in a 1960 ad under Ads: 1957-1966.
The photos below are of the Bavarian Tap Room. The outside photo was taken in the 1990's, after the brewery had been abandoned for almost 30 years. The other two photos of the interior of the Tap Room were taken in the mid-1950's. President Wm. R. Schott and Secretary / Treasurer Louis L. Schott are seated third and fourth from the left, respectively.
BAVARIAN TAP ROOM STEINS
Below are just some of probably more than a few dozen or more steins that were displayed on the shelves of the Bavarian Tap Room, which belong to the Schott Family. The Mettlach Symphonia Stein is shown on the left. It is 5.5 litters in size and depicts several German composers. It was also handed down within the Riedlin family. The steins displayed on the shelf below rested on the ledges or a display case in the Bavarian Tap Room. They range is size from 0.5 to 1.0 litters. The first three steins on the left are etched and made by Mettlach with lids are pewter with ceramic inserts. The middle stein is of stoneware relief with German inscriptions. The three items on the left are print over glaze pottery steins with pewter lids. Steins made entirely of pewter are shown on the right below. More information about the steins can be obtained by selecting the image.
The Tap Room displayed some other larger steins shown on the right and below, each with views of the front and both sides. The pewter stein to the right is about 4 liters in size. Unfortunately, it does not contain any legible markings for better identification.
The vessel on the left with the cameo emblems is known as "Bowling" by Mettlach and is 4 liters in size. It has a spout for pouring and was produced with a special process known as Phanolith. Since Bavarian Brewing Co. sponsored bowling leagues, it's only fitting they had such a vessel. (See Athletic Sponsorships.) A photo of the Tap Room that shows this vessel on left side of a shelf can be viewed here.
Steins vs. Mugs vs. Tankards
With regards to the items displayed in the Bavarian Tap Room as shown above, it can be helpful to have some understanding of steins, and associated terminology. Steins, as well as mugs and tankards all refer to drinking vessels, and are often used interchangeably. However, a tankard traditionally refers to an English drinking vessel that was at first made from wood, then made from metal and can also be made from other materials. A characteristic of some metal tankards is that they had glass bottoms. Strangely, a stein is not a German word, but an English word for a beer mug made of stoneware. The German word for stein is "stone" and does not refer to a drinking vessel. Instead, the usual German term that refers to a stein is kreug. The use of stein as the English and Americans use it likely developed from the German world steinzeug, which means stoneware, a common material for a German drinking vessel. A beer mug is often synonymous with a beer stein. Both could have been made from a variety of material including wood, glass, brass, copper, stoneware, porcelain, metal and pewter. However, among these two terms, some general distinctions can be made.
A beer mug, and even a tankard, is usually more of a rather plain and utilitarian drinking vessel than a stein. Contemporary mugs can even be made of plastic, and often (but not always) without a lid.
A beer stein, in comparison, is usually ornamental and decorative, typically influenced by German design and phrases, and usually with a lid.
Example of a Mug/Tankard. The item on the right would most commonly be referred to as a mug or tankard, rather than a stein. It is one of the earliest Rookwood Pottery mugs or tankards made, if not the earliest. Rookwood was founded in November, 1889, and this mug was made in 1881 for the Cincinnati Cooperage Co. to provide as a promotional item for its clients. Bavarian Brewery may have received this item as a customer, and it was displayed in Tap Room.