LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One brewery is bringing back a hoppy bit of beer history. Apocalypse Brew Works is digging in the archives to re-introduce the Oertels 92 brand.
It’s the first pint to be pulled in decades of Oertels 1912, a dark cream ale brewed in Louisville. “It was actually Louisville’s first beer. Then all the other, Fehr’s, Falls City, and what not, came after it,” said Danny Barhorst. His family owns the Oertels recipes. He and his mother, Jan Schnur come from a brewing family. “Our family comes from a long line of, a deep background of brewers actually,” explained Barhorst, “My grandfather bootlegged beer from Texas to St. Louis.”
In 1992, the family tried to bring Oertels back in Louisville, but the deal fell through. Since then, Jan has held onto the trademarked name and recipe, waiting for the perfect opportunity. “For the last 22 years, I have been hoping to do something like this,” she said.
They found the partner they’d been waiting for in Apocalypse head brewer Leah Dienes. “We’re just grateful to bring these old recipes back to life,” she said. Dienes did her research before beginning to brew. “We have copies of the original brew logs,” she explained of their process. No detail was overlooked, from the hops that would’ve been available in Oertels’ original hay day over 100 years ago, to the perfect coloring. Seven months later, Oertels made the long awaited comeback.
Dienes says she hopes to brew some of the other Oertels recipes, as long as Jan will let her. The Oertels 1912 is meant to be a warm weather ale, so the comeback was timed just right.