Old Heidelberg Castle Beer

I received this message from John Steiner in Wisconsin on the origin of the name Old Heidelberg Castle Beer.

The Old Heidelberg name was first used by Blatz in 1928 during Prohibition for near-beer. The modifier “Castle” was added a bit after the end of Prohibition rather than having to use either “Style” or “Brand” or “Type” as the US Federal Label Examiner ruled that otherwise brands such as Pilsener, Augustiner, Berliner, or Heidelberg(er) etc. might confuse the American public as to the beer being of European origin rather than US origin.

The Prohibition label is shown below. I guess it means that the brewery nor the beer has anything to do with a castle, but is just there to avoid the American public being confused. Brilliant.

Anyone wishing to know a bit more about ‘Das Heidelberger Fass’ should click here.

Thank you John.





  • Dale Adams

    Great label and story!

    BUT….Where is the RAILWAY THEME content!

    Castles are sooo…. January!!! 😉 … 😉

  • AlastairW

    Wot!!! Brewed to the formulation of an old German recipe? They must be joking. American translation of German must be very poor. I’ve never heard of any German beer (Ancient, old or modern) being no more than 1/2% to 1% alcohol. Goodness me – call in the Trading Standards dept!

  • Peter D

    Ah but this was 1926 to 1932, America was in the grip of Prohibition and ‘Special Brews’ were produced for consumption by de-alcoholising beers and lagers, so it could have been brewed to an Old German recipe and then the alcohol removed. Valentin Blatz, the brewery’s founder had worked in his father’s brewery in Bavaria before emigrating to America.

  • AlastairW

    Mmm. Yes. But still quite dreadful. May Elliot Ness remain “Untouchable” until the end of the universe! Mind you, several breweries in England (and note, England) produced beers with a pretty low ABV even in the 1980s. These include the brewers of possibly the worst beers in Christendom – no names, no packdrill, but their TM is the largest ferret in the UK.

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