From the Bottle Collection

I have well over 2,000 beer bottles; a few cans, lining my walls, in boxes to be put up on the walls… Honestly! I didn’t intend to become a collector. When the only beers in beer world in America were pretty much Bud, Miller and Bud/Miller wannabes, I found an odd beer. Not even sure what it was. I saved the bottle.

A few years ago my crumbling; 70’s built, modular needed new paneling, but the 1x3s underneath would never have tolerated the tear down/put back up strain. So to spiff up the mess we covered them with bottles.

Hence the collection, and this column. In here you will find old brands and what I found out by floating the search engine foam on the net. So grab your palette and hold on, cause “surf’s up, ale or lager dude!”

This edition: Prior Double Dark


I never saw the bottle in the picture. I have at least two: one kind of like a Heineken bottle, only brown: one squat like the typical shorter Pabst/Schmidts/Genny bottles. The other tall like in the pic… only a different label. Both labels are gold and brown with less “modern” fonts; just a tiny bit more “old fashioned” style to the design of the label. I’m guessing the bottle in the picture was one of the last ones.

The collection is so big, hell, maybe I have one somewhere.

We loved this so much at the time, for my 22nd birthday my best friend bought a keg. Between four of us and a few brief visitors we finished it off in a day and a half. Well, I did, because we took the last partial gallon back to my soon to be wife’s dorm room in Potsdam, NY.

I’ll bet we wouldn’t be as impressed now, but for a time when Bock and mostly food coloring-driven “dark” beers were considered very odd, it was quite unusual. I remember it as quite smooth, mostly malt with little to no hops. Probably a dark ale with extra “dark.” No Black Patent, I’m guessing.

I found this over at Beer Can Blog…

“Prior Double Dark, from Christian Schmidt Brewing Co., in Philadelphia. It was an unusual dark beer, difficult to describe, but it had a cult following. The last time I bought some, in 1982, it cost $16 per case. When I was in Philadelphia during 1983, we stopped at at least a half dozen places looking for it, but no one carried it. The brewery closed within a year or so after that. Someone claimed that Saranac Black Forest was supposed to be a reincarnation of Prior Double Dark, but I don’t think so. I would recognize it if I had it again.”

I’ve had SBF and I tend to agree, though there are similarities. SBF has a tad more hops and a far more complex malt background. And SBF is a lager; and I do like it, though I generally dislike lagers. (Stay tuned to the next para to understand why.)

I am not convinced it was an ale, but I’m guessing it was because it was so smooth to my specific tastes. I used to dislike beer. I found out later that I’m just not a fan of lagers which taste acidic to me. (I have been told this is due to small amounts of sulfur in what many claim is a “cleaner” taste. Not to my buds it isn’t.) But the more you mix the darker malts into a lager, often the more tasty it becomes, in my opinion.

If you have any more info on PDD, I’d love to hear from you. Nice to learn more about a “Prior” fav.