All Malt Beers

US All Malt Beers in the post-Repeal Era

The employment of . . . malt adjuncts must be accepted as an absolute necessity for the demands of the American Public, so far as taste, flavor and general character of United States beers and ales are concerned. Particularly so, when our characteristic American barley-malt is used in the brewing processes. Many brewers have tried to market all-malt beers in the United States but only very few were even moderately successful from a financial standpoint. If our American Public really desired all-malt beers and ale, there is no doubt that our brewers would produce such.


Gustave L. Goob (former instructor at the Wahl-Henius Institute)

The American Brewer - October 1935

Are Any American Beers Made Without Adjuncts?

Yes. However only a few all-malt beers are produced in the U.S.A.


Master Brewers Association of America

“U. C. MATT’S PREMIUM LAGER” is an all malt beer blended with 100% imported hops. It is brewed from an old formula brought over from Europe by our President, F. X. Matt, not available before, because we did not have the facilities to produce it. Now, however, in our new $1,000,000 brew house we can, in a very limited way offer for “enjoyment unlimited” “U.C. MATT’S PREMIUM LAGER”.

This lager is designed primarily for the connoisseur of beer, who would normally enjoy a European beer over our domestic types. It is produced in limited amounts of the finest imported materials. (1949)

Matt's Premium Beer from the West End Brewing Company would become the re-named F. X. Matt Brewing Co.'s flagship by the 1980's. By then it had been reformulated as an adjunct lager, with the label reading:

"Brewed from a blend of hand selected domestic and imported hops, choice barley malt, rice and corn."

It would essentially be replaced as the brewer's premium brand by the Saranac line by the 1990's.

The Adam Gettelman Brewing Co. was a small Milwaukee brewery surrounded by the huge, nationally-distributing breweries of Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Miller when the latter bought the company in 1961 and closed the brewery the next year.

Miller would use the "Gettleman" labels as a regional economy label for many years and Gettelman was the source of their current "Milwaukee's Best" brand.

Miller even produced a small batch of the all malt

Gettleman $1000 Beer a few years ago.

Genesee Beer is one of the few all-malt beers brewed in this country. No cheap malt substitutes, such as rice or corn grits are used to make it, and you can taste the difference. (Genesee ad, 1935)

"TROMMER'S WHITE LABEL BEER is brewed from the world's finest Barley-Malt and costly imported Hops - and contains no rice, corn or grits."

With breweries in Brooklyn and Orange, NJ in the 1930's through the early 1950's, the John F. Trommer, Inc. Brewing Company claimed that Trommer's White Label Beer was "America's largest-selling Malt Beer". They also brewed one of the few all-malt ales, using Kent hops.

Genesee in Rochester, NY also owned the Syracuse Brewery, Inc. which brewed the all malt lager Par-Ex, in the 1930's.

There are two kinds of beer brewed in the United States. One is made from hops, malt and either rice or corn; another from malt and hops. TROMMER’S MALT BEER is brewed from the latter formula. TROMMER’S has been an all-malt beer for 42 years without deviation (remember the famous White Label near beer?) You won’t find many all-malt beers (do you know another one?) – for they cost more to brew. Its all-malt base gives TROMMER’S a fuller, more satisfying and more mellow body, which you will like. And it costs no more than the other beers. Order TROMMER’S BOCK or TROMMER’S LIGHT, DARK and WHITE LABEL.

---- 1935 TROMMER'S ad

CLIPPER BEER was one of many brands brewed by Youngstown Ohio's Renner Brewing Co.

Olt Bros. Brewing Company of Dayton, Ohio brewed an all-malt beer (as well as a cream ale advertised as being "... very rich in malt and hops..." though it is unclear if it, too, was all-malt) into the late 1930s, when they hired a new brewmaster, Wm. Reis, who reformulated their "Superba" brand to include a grain adjunct. They closed in 1941.

These "super-premium" brands of the national brewers Anheuser-Busch and Pabst were both small production and relatively rare draught-only beers for the first few decades after Repeal. Both would be re-formulated as adjunct beers (rice for Michelob, and "selected grains" for Andeker) once they became bottled and canned brands by the 1960's.

Andeker would be returned to an all-malt recipe by the 1980's (according to Michael Jackson's 1981 Pocket Guide to Beer) but has since been discontinued as Pabst devolved into a discount beer marketer with no breweries of its own.

Michelob was returned to an all-malt recipe in 2007.

Anheuser-Busch's description of the draught-only Michelob from 1953.

The Prior brands were based on recipes from Czechloslovakia and marketed in the US during and after WWII into the 1980's, brewed first by Scheidt and later by C. Schmidt's & Sons (which bought the Norristown, PA brewery in the mid-1950's. Schmidt would eventually convert Prior Double Dark to an adjunct beer).

Tho' not mentioned in most ads, according to a HOUSE BEAUTIFUL article on the US beer market in 1958 they were "...the only all-malt bottled beers made in the U.S.A...." at the time. (Both Michelob and Andeker at the time were draught-only).

The local paper's history of the Spoetzl brewery claims that the post-Repeal Shiner Beer was all-malt. According to articles in the mid-1970s, under new brewery ownership and a new brewmaster, the beer was reformulated to be a "lighter" beer.

A number of local and regional brewers continued to make all-malt, limited production, draft-only beers in the US. Below are two examples.

From the 1970's of such a beer from Cincinnati's Hudepohl Brewing Company. Hudepohl would briefly bottle Hofbrau for the local market during the period they first released their all-malt Christian Moerlein beers.

Huber Brewing Co brewed an all-malt lager as a private label brand for Chicago's The Berghoff Restaurant and other establishments. Their Augsburger line was adjunct-brewed, but with an unusually high rate for the US of 80% malt.

Fred Huber, along with Berghoff, would re-purchase the Huber brewery (after a short period being in other hands) in the 1989, renaming it Berghoff-Huber Brewing Co.

In the late 1970's, on the eve of it's eventual collapse, Schlitz introduced its all-malt super-premium Erlanger Beer.

Anheuser Busch's short-lived


malt liquor

released in the early 1970s, was initially an all-malt beer, contrary to typical industry practice of using a large portion of adjuncts and/or sugars for the style.

Three all-malt seasonal bocks.

"Our bock beer is an all-malt beer produced from a special blend of pale caramel and roasted malts. And, as a consequence, it has a significantly richer, heartier character than our regular beer…

We think that in the winter time particularly, a case can be made for producing beers that have more flavor and character; and bock beer fills, in part, that need.”

--- Peter W. Stroh, 1978

When the post-Repeal Progress

Brewing Co. was first announced,

in 1935 the future product was described as an "All-Malt Beer".

After release, there was no further mention of it and likely the recipe

was changed early on.

Four all-malt Michigan beers - 3 short-lived example from the first decade after Repeal (LEFT) and an unusual attempt in the mid-1960s from the former Sebewaing Brewing Co. The Michigan Brewery, Inc. would close the following year.

(BELOW) Falstaff briefly advertised its beer as being All-Malt in the last months of 1933, during the period when only beer of 3.2 ABW or under was allowed, before Full Repeal of Prohibition in December.

An all-malt super-premium from Stegmaier Brewing Co., once the largest Pennsylvania brewery outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, although by the time of this beer's release, it had fallen to 288,000 bbl., and behind Latrobe (Rolling Rock).

Released in 1962 after draught-only test marketing in a 7 state distribution area, early ads called it an "old time dark 'Munich Type' beer" but the above image, from a POS item appears to suggest it was light in color, possibly after a re-formulation. Stegmaier claimed it was Charles Stegmaier's recipe of the early 1860s.

When successor The Lion, which had purchased the Stegmaier brands, released a Cream Ale in the 1970s to compete with Genesee's, they chose to revive the Liebotschaner brand name. It would also be used for a Bock Beer from The Lion.