Friday Funny: Ale for the Springsteens?

1857 Home Brewed Ale advertisement, appendix-no page, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 Home Brewed Ale advertisement, appendix-no page number, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Although the Jefferson and Anna Connor Springsteen family had moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, before the date of this ad, there were likely other brewers in Brooklyn, New York that offered the same beverage when they resided in Brooklyn. Jefferson ran a restaurant at the Fulton Market as well, so he may have stocked this or other ales.

Water was not always safe to drink, even that coming out of city pipes. Children were given beer from very early on to reduce their risk of parasites and infections from local water. “Family ales” would have had a lower alcohol content, but the alcohol and the heating during the brewing process would have killed off much of the disease-inducing microorganisms found in drinking water. Even Puritan children drank beer!

Benjamin Franklin loved beer. In fact, his quote that, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” can be found on t-shirts in pubs today. The advertisement notes that the ale listed is “…strongly recommended by Medical men…” and “…calculated to strengthen and invigorate the system…” This ad is persuasion as to what a smart purchase this would be for a family in 1857.

Since the Springsteen family probably was originally from Germany, and Anna Connor from Ireland, plus Jeff had lived in frontier areas, the chances were high that ales/beer were a part of their larder.


See? What’s old is new again- “Craft Brews” in 1857!


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See reference with image.


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