7B. The Bavarian
TAP ROOM & ITS STEINS and Beer Tokens
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 herein as simply the Tap Room. As the name implies, it was a place to taste freshly made draught beer from kegs that were just tapped. Bavarian had a Tap Room in its earlier years, which was located near its first Brew House. A newer Brew House was built in 1910 on the south side of the brewery site. After Prohibition, if not before, the Bavarian Tap Room was located in what may have been on the second floor of this newer Brew House. This was where clients and guests of the brewer could sample beer, which was often accompanied with stick pretzels served in small wood bowls.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. 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 was also displayed in the 1902 photo, shown in period 4, The Early 1900s. 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 to 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 are of the interior of the Tap Room taken in the mid-1950's. In the middle photo, Ray Hoffman, the G.M., is making a presentation. In the far right photo, President Wm. R. Schott and Secretary / Treasurer Louis L. Schott are seated third and fourth from the left, entertaining radio and TV personalities.
Other photos of the Tap Room and its entrance are located in period 7. Schott Brothers & WWII, period 8. Schott Family & Post WWII and period 9. Turnaround Efforts. Please note that there was another Bavarian Tap Room that operated in the 1970s after the brewery closed as and independent bar. For more information on this bar can be found in period 11. Brewery Closed & Sold.
BAVARIAN TAP ROOM STEINS
A common decoration in most tap rooms are German steins. Below are just some of more than a few dozen or more steins that were displayed on the shelves of the Bavarian Tap Room, which were handed down within the Riedlin and Schott Families. The Mettlach Symphonia Stein is shown on the left. It is 5.5 litters in size and depicts several German composers. 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 also displayed some other larger steins shown on the right and below, with views of both the front and sides. The pewter stein to the right is about 4 liters in size and illustrates a different large image and portrait image on three sides. It also has a decorative clasp attached to the lid. 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. Bowling was popular among an organization located next to the brewery known as The Covington Turners, where William Riedlin and some brewery workers were members. (See the Late 1800s for a photo of Turners enjoying beer after bowling.)
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 their clients. The Bavarian Brewery may have received this item by being a customer. It was displayed in Tap Room, and retained within the Schott family.
Types of Steins: Besides the main types of drinking vessels presented above, other types that could contain beer were beakers, (essentially ceramic cups), pokals or brimming cups/brimmers (large ceremonial handless beakers) and pitchers. Different types of ceramic steins include; etched, in relief, Print Under Glaze (PUG) and cameo. These types are included in those Bavarian Tap Room steins depicted above. Some other classifications are Character/Figural steins as well as Regimental, Military and Occupational Steins. Numerous companies have made and currently make drinking vessels. A comprehensive listing of steins can be found at the Beer Stein Library. One of largest and highly regarded makers of German steins from the 1840s to the early 1900s was Mettlach Pottery, which made several of the steins above. This firm evolved into a company that is currently known as Villeroy and Boch. The most comprehensive collection of Mettlach items with over 3,000 pieces is at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA.
Collecting Steins: The more unusual, older and rare steins (as well as mugs and tankards) can be very collectible. An organization formed for collectors of such items is Stein Collectors International with chapters throughout the US and in a couple foreign countries. There are also various auction houses that specialize in selling steins.
Drinkware Coverings: Drinking vessels could be made with or without a lid. Especially for steins with a covering, typically the lids made of a pewter or ceramic held to the top of the vessel with a metal latch on a handle. Usually these covers would be relatively flat, with some illustration, sometimes in relief. However the lids could occasionally be decorated with three dimensional objects. Shown below are examples of such figural lids, depicting a castle and tennis balls. These items were not displayed at the Bavarian Tap Room. but they are part of a collection from a descendant of one of the Bavarian Brewery owners, who was inspired to collect steins and pottery from the items displayed in the Tap Room.
Other Drinkware: Besides having a collection of steins in their Tap Rooms, Brewers also advertised on cups, glasses and mugs/steins. They were intended for promotional purposes and with expectations that they would most often be used. For examples of these, please see Drinkware.
Source:Cincinnati Public Libraries.
This is a view inside the Bavarian Tap Room in 1954.
Please see Period 9. Turnaround Efforts for more information about this photo.