Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ruins of Kreische Brewery on Monument Hill

It is easy to understand why German immigrants as Heinrich Kreische chose this area of Texas to live.  It is reminiscent of the Rhine River valley, as is the area around Herman, Missouri where other Germans settled.  From Monument Hill John and I hiked down a path to an overlook where we were able to view the ruins of the brewery which Kreische built in the mid 1800s.  He placed the brewery astride a small stream fed by a spring.  He manipulated the natural flow of the spring water through the brewery, letting gravity to do the work of moving the processed liquids from one level to the next.
I asked a park ranger whether Kreische grew his own hops and barley for his brew.  He informed me that in some of the man's correspondence there is indication that he ordered out of state for his hops.  However, the ranger added, there is a wafer ash tree grown here, which also is called a hop tree.  Its  round fruit is papery-like and tastes similar to hops.  By the middle of the Civil War "Kreische's Bluff Beer" was being produced on a commercial scale.  Mr. Kreische was not only a gifted brew master, but also a master stone mason.  His house is still standing, and looks sturdy enough to stand for another 150 years!  He constructed numerous other buildings in the county.
He built the left side of the house first in 1846, one of those rooms are of German fachwerk construction.  The large framing timbers are filled with small sun-dried adobe bricks.  Board and batten construction is present on the outside stairwells and other small areas.  He and his wife raised six children in this house.
Unfortunately the house is currently locked up and tours of it are not available.

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