11 August 2005

Heinrich Kreische Brewery 1872-1884

Heinrich Kreisch - Date Unknown

Immortalized by the famous "Chicken House," La Grange was established in 1837. Though La Grange was untouched by fighting during the Civil War, during Reconstruction the town was torn by conflict and disorder. Local peace was disrupted in May 1865 as returning Confederate veterans robbed local German businesses and, on one occasion, threatened to burn down the town. La Grange began to grow as a trade center after the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway began service there in 1880, which helped put the local brewery out of business. In 1990 the United States census counted 3,951 people living in La Grange.

In 1846 Heinrich L. Kreische emigrated to Texas from Saxony. He settled in La Grange and worked as a stonemason, building the county jail in 1853 and the third county courthouse in 1855. He lived on the bluff overlooking the Colorado River with his wife Josephina and six children.

Bewteeen 1860 and 1870 Kreische changed his major occupation to that of brewing. He built a large brewery just down the hill from his home between 1870 and 1880, and by the late 1870s his had become the third-largest brewery and the state.

The slogan for the Brewery has traditionally been "Frisch Auf!" (Refresh! Look Alive!). The only documentation for this, aside from the traditional accounts, is a large banner with the words "Frisch Auf" now in the possession of the Parks and Wildlife Department. The banner is photographed with an undated, but probably brewery vintage gathering of people on Monument Hill. His ads also said "Bluff beer is good."

Like many other 19th-century Texas manufacturers, Kreische began his business on a small-scale and served a local market. He also retailed his product: he had a beer garden on the bluff and a beer hall in La Grange. At the time of his death, the brewery was a prosperous enterprise with good prospects; it, however, soon went out of business without Kreische's leadership. The Kreische brewery is now a ruin consisting, for the most part, of partial walls and piles of stone rubble. A large underground vaulted room is the only room intact. The state of Texas purchased 36 acres next to the Monument Hill state historic site in 1977. These acres include the ruins of the Heinrich L. Kreische family home and brewery. For information and a tour schedule, call park officials at (409) 968-5658. For state park reservations, call (512) 389-8900.

The Kreische Brewery ruins in 2003.

I wrote a book about the pioneer brewers of Texas. You can buy it here.


posted by hiikeeba at 07:17


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does your book have recipes?

8:17 PM  
Blogger hiikeeba said...

I have yet to find a historic recipe. That sort of ephemera, recipes and ingredients lists, are difficult to find. But, you have inspired me to do some more research, and the new revision, which I hope to finish this winter, might include recipes.

Thanks for the idea!

9:19 PM  
Blogger James Caras, Ph.D. said...

Any luck yet on that recipe? I'd like to revive the beer with it's original recipe. I am a partner and brewmaster at Wild Bunch Brewery

4:08 PM  

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