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Editor’s Post – 70 Year Old Beer

Submitted by on November 11, 2009 – 10:40 AMNo Comment
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Hidenburg Explosion, 1937


A charred bottle of beer that survived the explosion of the Hindenburg will be auctioned off this month for an estimated $7,500. The unopened bottle of Lowenbrau would be the most expensive brew ever sold.

According to BBC, the beer is undrinkable since it has a shelf life of six months, but kudos to anyone who drinks this 70 year old beer.

The story goes that Leroy Smith, a New Jersey firefighter found the beer along with a pitcher shortly after the German airship exploded over Lakehurst in 1937, killing 38.

_46701401_beer_226300_bnpsSmith secretly buried six bottles and the pitcher after the explosion. After the area was sealed off by the police, he returned later to retrieve the souvenirs. He gave one bottle each to five firefighter friends and kept one bottle and the pitcher.

“The handle on the pitcher has snapped away from the jug due to it being exposed to the fierce heat of the fire,” Andrew Aldridge, of British auction house Henry Aldridge & Sons, said.  “It is heavily burnt, and you can see the soot damage to it.”

He said the intense heat of the explosion caused much of the beer inside the bottle to evaporate.  “The label peeled off in the fire, but remarkably, for the most part, it is still intact,” Aldridge said.

The relics are being sold by Smith’s niece, Rhea Longstreet, to whom he gave the bottle and jug in 1966. “While cleaning up, uncle Roy came upon a pitcher and six bottles of Lowenbrau beer,” she said. “He buried them in the field nearby, and when they were sent home, he went back and retrieved all the items.”

In 1977, another one of the bottles was returned to Smith, and he sent it to the brewery. “We are very excited about how well the label has been preserved despite the circumstances it has been through,” the company said in a thank-you letter. “The bottle will be displayed in our showroom.”

The auction will take place on Saturday.