Beer and Baking Great-Grandparents

My partner, Cheryl has her mother’s and her grandmother’s cookbooks.  I always thought that was so neat.  You can see the little notes about tweaks in the recipes.  It is a great heirloom.

I have not been able to find the same treasures in my family.  But, we had beer and baking.

Peter Kersten (my great-grandfather) was a brewer.  It is interesting because my younger brother Joe became a home brewer.  According to census records, Peter was a brewer from his arrival until his 50’s.  According to my Aunt Viv, he was also a home brewer and wine maker.  I have an email from her from 2010 in which she states “When I was young, I can remember my daddy (Fred Whitehead) taking me with him to pick up grandpa after his evening shift at Keeley’s.”

After doing a little research I found that Keeley’s Brewery was around both pre and post prohibition.  I can safely guess he worked there post prohibition. You can read about them here:

I have another document, Peter’s World War I Draft card, it shows his place of employment in 1918 was at McAvoy Brewery.  This was likely his employment prior to prohibition.  You can read about  this brewery here:

Viv also recalls Anna Stallaber Kersten being a baker.  She wrote “Grandma Kersten was a magnificent baker.  Every Saturday she would bake all kinds of coffee cake, etc. and we would go over to get our share.  Also on Saturday evening there was a gathering of friends at their house for cards…I think pinochle.”  In a more recent email she added, “I can still remember helping to roll the dough….and the wonderful kitchen smells…and eating warm coffee cake.”

I started to think about Pinochle, because I wanted to get the spelling correct for this post.  I just learned that German Immigrants (like my great grandparents) brought this game with them to the United States.  It is actually a mispronounced French word, “Binochle” but apparently with the German accent it came out as Pinochle and it stuck.  You can read more about it here: 

Viv goes on to say that they were great grandparents and she spent a lot of time with them.  It is making me hungry for coffee cake right now, or maybe a beer.  Hmm.  I digress.  Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Below is a picture of Peter and Anna.  They look both very young, so I am unsure when this was taken.

Peter and Anna Kersten

Peter and Anna Kersten