Culminating Project Title
Pure Pints and Preservative Pyres: Archaeobotanical Investigations at the Brainerd Brewery Site (21CW0337)
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
brewery archaeology, archaeobotanical, reinheitsgebot
The Brainerd Brewery, located in Brainerd, MN, was first opened in 1872 and was shut down in 1914. The numerous owners of this brewery were all first- or second-generation German immigrants who brought the German tradition of brewing beer to the City of Brainerd. The goal of the research at this brewery was to determine if the German American brewery owners were following traditional German brewing practices that followed the German Purity Law of 1516, or Reinheitsgebot, which states only water, barley and hops shall be used to make beer. To make this determination a combined methodology of using archaeological excavations and historical research was implemented. The excavations focused on the recovery of barley grains, and/or any adjuncts used to make beer and consisted of eight shovel tests and two excavation units. The historical research involved accessing historical newspapers, census records, County Recorder’s Office property owner records, and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. The archaeological investigation at the brewery recovered 65 charred grain kernels and one charred rachis as well as numerous artifacts associated with the brewery such as glass, nails, dishware, building materials, and a clay pipestem. The historical documents were used for the historical background of the brewery owners and the brewery as well as to determine what the German American brewery owner’s experience was in America, and to identify how beer was being made in the late 1800s. The archaeological evidence combined with the historical research indicates the Brainerd Brewery owners were likely not brewing beer according to Reinheitsgebot but were still practicing the German tradition of brewing beer.
Yates, Corey, "Pure Pints and Preservative Pyres: Archaeobotanical Investigations at the Brainerd Brewery Site (21CW0337)" (2023). Culminating Projects in Cultural Resource Management. 48.