How much alcohol did we drink in 1904? What were our tastes? This brief item is rich in data for social historians. Lager beer was bottled, and at the time steam beer was available only on barrel tap (I think). But a refreshing draught could still be enjoyed in the privacy of one’s home, even by women not allowed to enter bars; it wasn’t uncommon to take a pail down to the saloon or send out a servant or child for a fill-up. As for the Grace Brothers Brewery, the indefatigable Gaye LeBaron penned an excellent profile of it in 2002, available online in the Press Democrat archives.
150 BARRELS OF BEER IS SPOILEDWATER SUPPLY SUDDENLY FAILS AT BREWERY AND MUCH “STEAM” IS RUINED
Thirsty Ones Who Like Warm Weather Drink May Have to Get Along With Lager For Awhile
There was a woful [sic] waste at Grace Brothers’ Brewery yesterday, when 150 barrels of steam beer was lost by reason of a sudden failure of the water supply. The mash for the regular brew had reached that point in the process of fermentation where the water must be added, and as water was not to be had, fermentation went too far, and the brew was lost.
The ice plant was shut down for lack of water, too, and so beer drinkers are not the only people who may suffer deprivation by reason of the mishap. There was a big demand for ice yesterday that could not be supplied, but the difficulty will doubtless be remedied today. But even if there should be a dearth of “steam” for a few days the public will doubtless be able to worry along, as there is a big supply of lager on hand, and lager is a pretty good substitute.– Press Democrat, September 10, 1904