The Dram Shop

History

Maibock Week starts Saturday, May 20th !

All of the Maibock beers we’ll have on tap this week are for German Texans. What? German Texans you ask? That’s right folks, German Texans. The basic Bock style of beer, and granddaddy to the Maibock, was popularized in the Bavarian region of Germany in the 13th century. And Bavaria is big. Bavaria is so big that it’s been referred to as ‘The Texas of Germany’ dating back to at least the 1950’s. First brewed in the town of Einbeck, Bock beers got their name as the local dialect bastardized the name of the town into Ein Bock, meaning ‘Billy Goat’ in German. That’s why you always see goats on the labels of these German bock beers.

But we digress, as usual. Bocks are traditionally a celebratory beer, and hence they have a bit higher ABV, coming in around the 7-8% range. They won’t put you on your bottom immediately, but you’ll know you’re having a good time. Maibocks in particular feature a dry, and somewhat hopped finish. They are lightly malted, yellow to golden in color, with a medium mouthfeel. Often times you’ll taste notes of spice and pepper in this thirst quenching and flavorful spring offering.

We’ll be featuring 6 different Maibock beers all week. Come try a flight of all 6 for $15!

Here’s a list of Maibocks that we’ll have on tap at the shop all week long:

Hofbräu Maibock 7.2% ABV – Munich/Germany

Sierra Nevada Old Chico Pale Bock 6.8% ABV – 40 IBU – Chico/CA

Beaverhead Bock 6.6% ABV – 25 IBU Dillon/MT

Bayern Maibock 7.6% ABV – 28 IBU MIssoula/MT

Mighty Mo Hoki’s Maibock 6.3% ABV – 30 IBU Great Falls/MT

Laughing Dog Bock at the Moon 5.5% ABV – 30 IBU Coeur D’Alene/ID

Bozeman Brewing Super Power Solo Bock 7.2% ABV – 30 IBU Bozeman/MT

– Prost!

By in History 0

The Story of the Growler—”Rush the Growler!”

For a lot of folks these days the growler has become a ubiquitous part of life. Often times, the story goes something like this: You have a small herd of growlers roaming around somewhere between your kitchen and garage. You cull a couple from the herd here and there to take down to your local brewery or growler fill station and fill them to the brim with your favorite beverage. You take them home or on an adventure, and enjoy the libation within a few days. You try to remember to rinse them out when they’re empty. We emphasize the word ‘try’ here. Then, they probably roll around in the backseat of your car for a while before being returned to the herd. And the process can begin again…

That story may sound familiar, or maybe not, but the history of the growler in the U.S. has more in common with the way we use them now than you might think. And in many ways, The Dram Shop’s model is more similar historically to the way growlers were used originally in this country.

The use of growlers was, as is usual, a case of necessity being the mother of invention. It may be hard to believe, but there was a time in this country when beer was largely unavailable outside of a tavern or saloon. In the mid 1800’s, with the lack of pasteurization and modern bottling techniques, large scale bottling was practically non-existent. Bottles that were available were out of the price range of ordinary citizens. It sounds crazy, we know. And apparently folks back then thought so too, which is why growlers came to be used.

Growlers originally were buckets made of tin, glass, or pottery that would be brought to a tavern and filled on the spot. The growlers would then be taken to a job site or home, often times by a young men referred to as “bucket boys.”

The "Bucket Boys"

The “Bucket Boys”

The process of growler delivery was called “rushing the growler,” as most growlers had no lids and were to be consumed immediately. This began the tradition of a growler being for fresh beer. We like to think of them as a ‘mobile pitcher’.  Multiple growlers would be carried by hanging the handles on a pole. The pole would then be carried, moving 6-8 growler buckets at once.

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As the temperance movement that eventually brought about prohibition in 1920 gained speed, the act of filling growlers was outlawed in as many as twenty cities across the US. The proud tradition then lay dormant until it was revived by the modern craft beer industry in the late 1980’s.

So the next time you stop by The Dram Shop to fill a growler, and you don’t have time to stay for a cold one, just tell us you’d love to stay but you’ve got to “Rush the growler!”

Although we don’t sell tin buckets as growlers, we do sell a variety of glass, insulated and plastic growlers (for wine too!) to fit your needs. Here are our three different size amber glass growlers, and you can find more on our shop page. 

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Read more about The Dram Shop in the Missoulian’s Business Section and in the Missoula Independent’s recent “12 Things to Love About Missoula” (see #4)

By in History 1

What is a Dram?

Why exactly did we name our place ‘The Dram Shop’ you may be wondering? Well, it’s sort of a long story, so here goes. First off, we love the term. Second, our business happens to be located in the Historic Missoula Mercantile Warehouse Building, and we like to think that sets us up within a unique historical perspective. And it turns out the history of the term ‘dram’ is rich.

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse. Photo taken between 1900-1910.

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse. Photos taken between 1900-1910.

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Here’s what you need to know in order to wow your friends at the next BBQ:

From its origin, a ‘dram’ refers to a unit of measurement. Most folks who are familiar with the term relate it to its more recent Celtic application, referring to a ‘thimble full’, usually of liquor. But more accurately, the term was used in the modern apothecaries system until the mid-20th century, even here in the U.S., defined as exactly 1/8th of an ounce.

If you follow the term further into the past however, you find that it dates back to the term ‘drachma’ in ancient Greece. It was used for both a measure of weight and the name for a coin. Often times, it was used to mean a “handful’, as a unit of measurement. Now that’s an awesome measurement, and don’t think we haven’t thought about it!

But back to our story… Romans subsequently used the term ‘dram’ for a unit of measurement, and also as a noun for currency. This usage was followed by the Ottoman Empire, and then the Celts. It’s still used today in several Middle Eastern nations, as well as in Armenia as the name of its modern currency, the Drachma.

It’s a long history we know. But, we think it’s a great fit. We’re selling beverages that are enjoyed by many people from all over the world, and we’re selling them in specific units of measurement, right here on historic Front Street.

So the next time somebody asks you; “What’s a Dram anyway?” you’ll have something to talk about.

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Selection of new glassware and growlers … Get yours now!

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