When my beer drinking days dawned back during the Reagan Administration, many of my friends pushed me to try a brand called Little Kings. Little Kings is a cream ale, like Genessee. It was popular in the Cleveland area in the days before the Great Lakes Brewing Company emerged. It was really popular at Miami (of Ohio) University, where Li’l Sis and my best friend from high school went to college. Why?
Miami is in Oxford, Ohio, 30 miles from where I’m sitting right now, which makes it part of the Cincinnati area. That meant the local brews all came from the old Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company. So when I arrived in the Queen City in 1991, I had to sample the local ale like any good newcomer. I’d already put away my share of Little King’s. The next thing I tried was Hudey Delite. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was painted to me by my friend from high school as piss water, but it was pretty much a mild beer like Coors Lite, only not as watery. As my taste for beer grew more sophisticated, I tried their flagship brand, Christian Morlein. It’s now one of my favorites and is popular among beer snobs (of which I can be on occasion. It’s not a bad form of snobbery.) Never tried Burger. Someone once told me all I needed to know about Burger was to remember the last can of Stroh’s I’d drunk.
Yuck. (Sorry, Erin.)
Hudepohl fell on hard times in the 1990’s. Some of their facilities were shifted to production for Samuel Adams (the brainchild of Cincinnati-born, Boston-reared Jim Koch). Eventually, only Christian Morlein remained, a very old brand and recipe dating back to the city’s early days.
A few entrepreneurs, however, took it upon themselves to revive the old Hudey brands, buying Christian Morlein and, in turn, buying out the Hudelpohl-Schoenling Brewing Company.
So what does Hudey produce?
Here’s a few of their brands:
Burger – I was shocked they brought this one back until I started working on the West Side. It’s a workingman’s beer, and many West Siders have fond memories of drinking Burger in the old days. As I said, it was often compared to Stroh’s.
Hudey Delight – Hudey is a light beer along the lines of Coors Lite. Actually, it’s closer to Michelob Lite, a little more flavorful than Coors. Not as popular in its revival, it was very popular in the late eighties and early nineties.
Little Kings – A cream ale, my strongest memory of this brew is it knocking me on my ass.
Christian Morlein is actually a family of beers, the best known of which is OTR (for Over-the-Rhine, the neighborhood north of downtown). It is a strong, smooth amber lager that tastes a lot like some of the British lagers. It’s one of my favorite beers.
More at the My Town Monday blog.