Schalk Bros. Lager Beer Brewery


"According to chemical analysis and other high authority, the quality of beer brewed by the Schalks is equal, if not superior, to the best manufactured even in Germany."

---THE HISTORY OF NEWARK - John Atkinson - 1878



Herman A. Schalk, Sr*

In the early 1840’s, Johann Nepomuk Schalk and his sons,  Herman,  Adolph and Oscar emigrated to the US and set up a brewery on the corner of  Hamburg Place (now Wilson Street)  and Napoleon Street, to brew the first lager beer in Newark.

 In 1854, recent German immigrant (and future Newark brewer) Joseph Hensler would work at the Schalk brewery.

Later in the decade, Johann Schalk returned to Germany where he still had a brewery in Konstanz.  The sons sold their Newark brewery to Christopher Wiedenmayer (father of future Newark brewer, George W. Wiedenmayer) .

In 1856-7, the brothers built a new brewery on Freeman Street (then, according to a report in the New York Times “far out of the thickly portions of the city”).  Located  in what was known as the "Down Neck" section of Newark (and, later,  as the "Ironbound")- was  The Schalk Brothers Lager Bier Brewery.

"Schalk Brothers" are listed as sutlers for beer during the Civil War.

In 1871, a fire would nearly destroy the brewery, which had 80 employees at the time.  

In 1872-73, Schalk Brothers, by some accounts, was among the top 20 lager beer brewers in the country, brewing 39,320 barrels.

A New York Times article on the Newark breweries of both Ballantine and Schalk put the latter's yearly barrelage at 60-70,000 in 1873.

A New York Herald Letter to Editor from Herman Schalk listed these products:

Schalk's Extra Beer

5.51% abv

Schalk Lager Beer

4.75% abv

Pilsner Export Beer

5.59% abv

[ABOVE] German language ads in Scranton, PA's Wochenblatt newspaper in the 1870's.

Figures in contemporary newspaper articles list Schalk Brothers as the largest selling Newark lager beer with a total of 33,000 barrels in 1875.

In 1876, Adolph Schalk left the company and sold his share to his brother, Herman A. Schalk. 

In 1877 the Schalk Bros. Brewery was tied for 5th (with Krueger) in  sales among the top eleven Newark brewers,  with sales of  24,812 barrels.

In 1878, according to Internal Revenue figures, Shalk Bros. brewed 20,393 barrels.

The company was hit hard during the national financial panic of  1873 and owed a large bill to the P. Ballantine & Sons firm for malt (Ballantine was one of the very few maltsters in NJ)

.In 1879, the Ballantine family bought the Schalk brewery for $110,000.

Initially, it was run as a separate firm, Ballantine & Co.,  for the production of draught lager beer.

Local ads from Raleigh, NC & York, PA, 1870s

[ABOVE] 1865 Hartford Connecticut    

Above - Site of the original Schalk brewery - home of Newark's first lager beer  (As shown on map from 1870's, after Wiedenmeyer's purchase)

Below - The Schalk Brothers Lager Bier Brewery on Freeman Street that would become the Ballantine & Co. Lager Beer Brewery in 1879.




[BELOW] 1876 Wilmington, NC

 The Schalk name lives on in Newark, as the name of a street three blocks to the west of the site of the Freeman Street brewery (click on link above for map in 1912).

And, in Plainsboro, NJ, outside of Princeton,  where Major Herman Schalk had a farm in the 1870's with its own railway stop ( "Schalk Station" on what was then part of the Pennsylvania Railroad), the name lives on at  "Schalks Crossing Road"- previously known as "Schalks Station Road"  (the farmhouse and train stop now gone).

Schalk Station on the Trenton Branch of the
Camden & Amboy Railroad ( 1895 ).