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COM: August 2003

    Esslinger's Little Man Ale: circa 1940.

    Esslinger Ale quart. Esslinger Ale quart.

    Esslinger Ale quart.











Here are the front and two sides of the quart, plus a shot of it next to a standard-sized 12 oz Esslinger flat for size comparison.
Comparison photo.

Esslinger Brewing

Esslinger Brewing was in business from 1873-1920 and again after Prohibition from 1933 to 1964.  One of several large regional breweries that operated in Philadelphia in the 1940s and 1950s it used the little Esslinger waiter on its logo for many years and produced a number of brightly colored cans.

Esslinger had quart cans made by two difference can companies, which lead to some interesting differences.  Most were made by American Can Company in both cone and flat top quarts.  That's who made my can pictured above.  However, rival company Crown Cork and Seal apparently also ran a few small batches of quart cans for Esslinger, maybe only one batch each of the beer and ale. The easiest way to tell which company made the can from the front is by what is on the waiter's tray.  The American cans all have flat top cans on the tray, the CC&S cans have cones. Why? Because CC&S didn't make flat tops, only cones, and they didn't want to show their rival's can on the waiter's tray!  American Can Company made mostly flat tops, so that's what they showed on the tray.   According to my quart sources (i.e., more knowledgeable collectors than I) only a handful of the beer quarts made by CC&S are known. The Esslinger Ale CC&S quarts can be found, but are still much tougher than the American Can version.

Also, Esslinger for a brief while used flat top quarts made by American can. See my July 2012 COM for more.

"Delicious Esslinger's Recipes"

Esslinger cans at this time came with recipes on the back, using Esslinger beer and ale of course.  This quart had recipes for Welsh Rarebit, Cole Slaw and Ale Flip.
Welsh Rarebit:
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound soft cheese
about 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup Esslinger's Ale
2 eggs

Melt butter over boiling water.  Add cheese and seasonings.  As cheese melts, gradually add ale, stirring constantly, then [add] the eggs beaten lightly.  Stir until eggs are cooked, then serve immediately.

Cole Slaw:
1 medium sized head of cabbage,
green pepper shaved
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 teaspoon minced onions
1 cup cooked salad dressing
season with salt and pepper
3/4 cup Esslinger's Ale

Chop or shred the cabbage, add the green pepper and seasoning.  combine the salad dressing and the ale, having both ice cold, and beat until smooth.  Pour the dressing over the cold cabbage mixture and serve in a salad bowl lined with crisp, green lettuce leaves.

Ale Flip:
Pour into a sauce pan one qt. can of Esslinger's Ale and add one tablespoon sugar, a pinch of mace, one whole clove, and one half teaspoonful butter.  Bring to the boiling point and remove from burner.  Beat one egg white and two egg yolks with three tablespoonfuls cold ale.  Combine with hot mixture and beat until frothy with a rotary beater.  Serve while warm.

recipes panel.

A close-up of the side panel.

FYI: in 2004 at a get together of collectors in Maryland one of the guy's wives made the Welsh Rarebit from the recipe posted above, but using some other brand of beer than Esslinger's.  It wasn't bad, a little watery (her opinion, not mine) but a neat experiment. 

Esslinger's in the Funny Papers: 2000.

    Mutts Esslinger Logo.
Patrick McDonnell, who draws " Mutts ", uses a different image with some of his cartoon's characters every Sunday in the title box to set the theme for the cartoon. He works his characters into copies of famous paintings, ads, illustrations, other comics, etc.  It's a game for his readers to see if they can figure out to who he is paying tribute.  I found this one in the Mutts book, "Mutts: Sunday Mornings." It's from June 25, 2000.  Does he collect beer cans?!?

Sources Used:

    Beer Can Collectors of America.  United States Beer Cans (Beer Can Collectors of America: Fenton, Mo)  208.

    McDonnell, Patrick  Mutts: Sunday Mornings (Kansas City: Andrew McMeel, 2001) 95.

    Pennsylvania Brewing Historians Website

    Van Wieren, Dale P. American Breweries II (West Point, PA., East Coast Breweriana Association, 1995) 328.

    Plus, personal communications from fellow can collectors Bob P., Leon H., and especially Charlie B.!

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