About the Brewery


The Koehler Brewery opened in East Nashville in the fall of 2005 with a stove top partial-boil Pale Ale extract kit and some encouragement from friends. It boiled over. It fermented hot. It was a stunning success. Friends of the brewery primarily noted that the beer was free and demanded more. The brewery continues the tradition of free beer today. The brewing has only mildly improved.

The Koehler Brewery

Grain Mill: Motorized MM2-2.0 Monster Mill, with 2 6″ long, 2″ diameter rollers

Hot Liquor Tank: 15 gallon stainless steel More Beer kettle with 1/2″ stainless steel ball valve

Mash System: Modified 72 quart Coleman Extreme cooler with Bazooka screen -or- a 15 gallon Blichmann BoilMaker kettle with false bottom

Brew Kettle: 20 gallon Blichmann BoilMaker kettle

Cooling System: Blichmann Therminator with an immersion pre-chiller made from 50′ of 1/2″ copper tubing with brass garden hose fittings

Fermentation: 6 gallon glass carboys; Fermentation chamber with digital temperature control

Serving: 8 Cornelius Kegs; Kegerator with digital temperature control

I’m just a local Nashville home brewer.  I know there used to be a Koehler ‘s beer brewed by the old Erie Brewing Company in Erie, Pennsylvania. It went out of business in 1978, just before I was born. I have no connection to the old Erie Brewing Company, though I am originally from Western Pennsylvania. So I don’t have any special information about the old brewery or their Koehler beer. I have a few pieces of memorabilia I got from my grandfather who kept them because of the shared name, but that’s about it.

47 thoughts on “About the Brewery

  1. Royal says:

    Not much action here.

  2. AJ says:

    Did you know there is a very old brewing company in NorthWestern Pennsylvania, around Erie, PA called Koehler Brewing Company. I believe they are no longer an active brewery but they have historical buildings in the area that have Keohler on them.

    • Lee Koehler says:

      I am aware of the old Koehler Brewery. I grew up outside Pittsburgh and most of my family still lives in the area, so Erie is relatively nearby. We’re not related to the brewers unfortunately. When I was in High School, my Dad gave me an old Koehler Beer standup poster and lighted sign from a local bar that closed down in the 70s. I still have them. The sign is a metal box with a red glass front and a couple lightbulbs inside. I always want to buy more stuff on eBay, but the cool stuff is always beyond my budget for old beer junk.

    • Becky Davis says:

      The Koehler brewery in erie, PA was tore down because it was a safety hazard for people walking in front of the building. The owner gave the city of erie a hard time about tearing it down.

      • Casey says:

        The building was torn down, because yes it became a safety hazzard after the owner made promises to the community he could not keep. There were “plans” to create a shopping complex and small revived brewery which ended in the demolition of the building and the owner selling the landmark pieces of the building and part of our heritage (yes I live in Erie) to the highest bidder. Bad form all around but, many good memories and stories about the brewery and the area. I was sad to see it go.

  3. Dan Koehler says:

    I was looking for a Koehler bier haus in Munich and found your website. It’s always good to find another homebrewer, especially one who shares a last name with me! I suggest you try hoppier beers, I find they usually come out well.

  4. Jeffrey Platt says:

    I am originally from Erie, Pa. and used to drink various Koehler brews, but they sold out and closed up. I thought I heard Schmidts of Philly had their recipies but they also have closed. A fine brewing name! Maybe someday I’ll get to sample some of yours. I am in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

  5. mike rodweller says:

    your brewing system sounds great, i am in the process of building my own. i have been using a friends. he has been brewing since 1991 and he is showing me the ropes.keep the free beer flowing for all friend of your brewery…lol

    student-brewer mike rodweller

  6. Emily says:

    My family owned the Koehler Brewery in Erie, Pa. No it is no longer functioning and hasn’t been for some time. It shut down in 1978. The building isn’t there anymore either since my family sold the bulioding it had gon into serious disrepair. The bricks started to crumble and pieces were fallingin off and into the street, so it was demolished. they did however kep the Eagle crest and the clock. Here are some sites where you can find some old signs and such with the same signage as above:

    http://www.c2i2.com/~adistel/

    Side of the building:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~mrsfanatic/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/koehler.jpg

    Buliding before it was demolished:
    http://www.uer.ca/locations/mainpics/norm/22155.jpg

    in its hayday:
    http://www.eriecountyhistory.org/wp-content/gallery/photo-archives/19koehlerbrewery.jpeg

    • Steve says:

      Hello Emily….I am looking for info on the Koehler Brewery. I grew up in erie and remember seeing the building and loving it. I have since moved away and still think back to that amazing building. I am a creft beer lover and would love to talk to you. please email me @ FasterFeet37@aol.com Thanks

      • Luella Clayton says:

        kohler beer company in Erie PA was torn down several years ago no one wanted to buy the building and repair it i would have loved to buy the clock

    • Clyde Larsen says:

      Hi,

      I was up in my attic and found this old bottle of beer. It is a Koehler Pilsener beer 12 oz bottle. It has a 67 on the bootom which I assume is 1967. It is unopened. I googled the beer and it seems that you are the expert. I’m just wanting to know something about it. Does it have any value? Worth collecting?

      Thanks

    • tom says:

      Im proud to carry the Koehler name,, I love beer,, Thomas Koehler,6-20-1961 chicago Il.

    • Jen says:

      Emily – Since you are related to the Koehler family, I would like to chat with you. Would you please email me at glenn.jen@verizon.net

  7. Emily says:

    sorry for the really bad spelling above sometimes i type too fast.

    • Hi, I’m the Chief Engineer at the Naval Park here in Buffalo, and while we were cleaning a compartment on the USS Little Rock, we found two empty Koehler Beer bottles that had been left in the overhead in a berthing compartment. The ship was decommissioned in 1976 in Philly and brought here in 1977 and since they have no dates on them the bottles could have been stashed where they were found for 35 years. So now they are going to be on display here at the park. Thought you’d be interested.

    • Anne Koehler says:

      Emily,
      I am getting ready to travel to Erie on the way to Niagara Falls, is there anything left from the Koehler brewery that I could stop to see on the way? Being a Koehler and a collector, I would love to see it if so. You can email me at koehl84@aol.com, thanks so much!

      • Christy says:

        My husband ( a beer drinker) and I just got back from visiting Erie; his family moved when he was 13 but is an avid collector. As we were leaving he noticed the old train station (Union?- next to the PO) had been recently converted into a bar. It is now a microbrewery/ café/ banquet facility. Beautifully restored, charming inside combining the train station with the brewery and with TONS of Koehler memorabilia.
        Here at home, 2 days later, he just had a terrific time reminiscing with his parents about Erie, the beer and the tv ads:)
        I found this website because none of us know what a ‘Koehler Collar’ actually is – the bottle design, the head of foam, the cap style… I am trying to find out so if anyone does, please let us know. Thx Christy

  8. Manfred Koehler says:

    While employed in Milwaukee WI, a friend brought me a case of Koehler Beer which he purchased in Erie, PA. I still have the original case and seven empty bottles. I seem to recall a saying “Brewed with Uncle Jackson`s Dutch touch”. I wonder if there is any interest in my case and bottles?? I can e-mail pictures.

  9. david kern says:

    my grandfather was brew master of Koehler Beer. We come from 4 genrations.

  10. Ronald K. Myer says:

    In the 1960′s, I worked in the first drive-thru, In Masury, Ohio. At three quarts for 89 cents, Koehler Beer was the best selling, best tasting, beer in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Masury, Ohio and surrounding areas. Miller beer had few sales. It always sat in the cooler so long it turned a sickening gold color. Winston was the most popular cigarette. But like Koehler beer it suddenly went down hill. Some said Kohler beer’s taste changed because of the water used from the polluted Lake Erie. It may have been because of the mercury scare of Lake Erie also. It’s a shame a really good beer that quenched the thirst of steel workers every day after a hot days work, went away.
    The same thing happened to Black Label. Winston cigarettes went downhill when cigarette companies started putting in additives like ammonia, sugar, and nicotine to make people addicted. The taste never was the same.
    I used a Koehler beer tap for a gear shift in my soon to be published book Chasing Capone’s Vault.

  11. Mark Fachetti says:

    Another Erie native. I grew u with Koehler beer in my house, and eventually began borrowing it from my parents. I would kill for a taste of that beer to decide whether it was as good as I recall, or if I was just a thirsty young man back then.

    Not clear to me, are you brewing any of the original Koehler beers at this time?

    • Lee Koehler says:

      Mark,

      I’m just a home brewer with Koehler as a last name. I don’t have any connection to the old Koehler Brewery in Erie, or access to any of their recipes. My family is all from Western PA (Beaver County), but I don’t believe we are related to the brewery Koehlers.

      Now if anyone out there knows some old Koehler recipes, I’d love to hear about it, and I’d definitely brew them.

      Through this blog I did get a hold of some hop rhizomes (I believe they are Tettnang, but it’s just a guess) that supposedly grew at the old brewery building from someone who worked there in the 70s before the brewery closed. I hope it’s true, but either way I have them growing in my yard.

  12. Jackie says:

    Hey dude we have the same awezome last name. Yeeehhaaa

  13. bill robie says:

    HAVING GROWN UP IN ERIE,PA.. I LOVED THE SMELL AND TASTE OF KOEHLER LAGER…I MOVED TO FLORIDA IN 1976…EVERY TIME SOMEONE CAME TO VISIT THEY WOULD BRING ME MY KOEHLER FIX…IT WAS SAD WHEN THEY CLOSED NOT JUST FOR THE BREW BUT ALSO FOR THE WORKERS THAT LOST THIER JOBS…

  14. michael senger says:

    Erie is my home town and i worked at the Koehler Brewery in 1964. The brewery itself was on the west side of State Street and the bottling plant was across the street on the east side. When the brewery was originally built it had a large carved wooden eagle on the roof that supposedly came from Germany. That eagle was obtained by the local Eagles club (FOE)and sat in the lobby of the club for years. My sister and i used to climb on it. It was that big. The FOE is gone and the eagle has disappeared. I’d love to know where it ended up.

  15. Jason says:

    My Dad was just talking about this beer over Christmas dinner. He was saying that ‘its not around anymore’. One of many small PA beers that I used to get an occasional sip from as a kid which are no longer ‘around’.

  16. Jim Necci says:

    I am also from Erie,PA. I remember the brewery very well on State Street from cruising in the 1950′s. I also remember the smell of the grain being disposed of after fermentation. It was a very heady aroma and would spread into the street and surrounding area. There was an opening that trucks would back into and the used grain would be loaded into them to be removed. I also remember the terrible headaches I got from drinking Koehler beer. Probably the amount consumed had something to do with it.

  17. Nick Koehler says:

    Hi I’m nick Koehler and my dad has a birthday coming up in April and I was wondering if there was anyway I could get him some Koehler beer. Please let me know my email is nick.koehler@aol.com

  18. Joe Karas says:

    Hi. I grew up in Pittsburgh and remember well the Koehler Beer commercials with Uncle Jackson and the “Dutch Touch.” We served pony bottles of Koehler Beer at my wedding, which was in Sharon, Pennsylvania in 1978. Great memories. Good luck in growing your brewery – you may want to do a trademark search to see if Koehler Beer is available.

  19. John Braun says:

    Turned 61 recently.My wife is tired of me talking of the KOEHLER beers that I also lifted from my father and uncles. If any old beer die-hards have any semblance of a receipe of Ole Uncle-Jackson’s beers, please share with with this craft brew-miester
    John

  20. Chance says:

    I have a few of the old thick waxed flip top 24 pint bottle boxes.

  21. Matthew Koehler says:

    Thats awsome

  22. jane lipchik sanders says:

    I grew up in Erie and Koehler was the only beer my dad would drink. The would say “Pour yourself a Koehler collar”. The brand was purchased by (I think) Schlitz which could be why someone earlier mentioned that it had been brewed in TN. I’ve got a bottle from the 40′s and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Always brings back memories of driving down State Street and seeing the building when the brewery was still in full swing.

    • Jeffrey Platt says:

      Someone said it was Schmidt’s of Philadelphia that purchased the recipes maybe brewing equipment etc. but that Schmidt’s also is long gone. There is a west coast Schmidt beer owned by Pabst which I think is unrelated.

    • Jim Necci says:

      Hey Jane, are you related to Jack. Lived on 28th, I think, block or so off of Washington?

  23. [...] About the Koehler Brewery, in Nashville: I’m just a local Nashville home brewer.  I know there used to be a Koehler ‘s beer brewed by the old Erie Brewing Company in Erie, Pennsylvania. It went out of business in 1978, just before I was born. I have no connection to the old Erie Brewing Company, though I am originally from Western Pennsylvania. So I don’t have any special information about the old brewery or their Koehler beer. I have a few pieces of memorabilia I got from my grandfather who kept them because of the shared name, but that’s about it. [...]

  24. Kevin Koehler says:

    Does anyone know of a clone-recipe to Koehler beer? My late father had the good fortune of living during the days when Koehler beer was popular, but I was too young to try it. I wouldn’t mind trying to recreate it if anyone knew the hopps, barley type and so on.
    I don’t think anyone is using that recipe, so it wouldn’t be like taking away a companies bread and butter.

  25. Tim Monahan says:

    I am from Erie and remember well the beer and drinking the beer. We lived across the street from John Martin Magenau Sr. They used to have a commercial where the tag line was “Uncle Jackson’s watching” Below is the obituary for John Magenau Jr. former president of Erie Brewing who died recently for a little history.

    John Martin Magenau Jr., 95 years old, died on Wednesday July 18, 2012. He was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on May 24, 1917, the son of the late John Martin Magenau Sr. and Florence Koehler Magenau and brother of the late Jackson David Magenau and Ruth Bertha Magenau. He was married for 65 years to Carol Spiller Magenau until her death in 2006.

    He is survived by two daughters, Martina Magenau Jacobs and Kunda Magenau, and a son, John Martin Magenau III, as well as grandchildren Gillian MacLaren Jacobs, John Martin Magenau IV, Andrew Jackson David Magenau and Kyle MacLaren Brennan and Great Grandson Julian David Magenau.

    Martin was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Siebel Institute of Brewing, and served as President and CEO of the Erie Brewing Company until its closing in 1978.

    He was a gentleman in the traditional sense and a “gentle man” in heart, both kind and generous, who enjoyed his fruitful life with friends and family. Contributions in Martin’s memory may be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, http://www.curealzfund.org/ or Sarah Reed Retirement Center, 227 West 22nd Street Erie, PA 16502-2689. Friends will be invited to join Martin’s family in a celebration of his life on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11am at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 Perry Highway.

    • Bonnie Sue Seyler-Boyd says:

      John Martin Magenau Jr was my Uncle Marty. I remember when I was young going to the Ratskeller (think that is how it is spelled) for a family party when my mom, Mary Alice Spiller Seyler-sister to Carol Spiller Magenau, came to Erie for a visit. My father, Richard James Seyler, was in the Navy so we moved away from Erie, but we all were born in Erie. Many of my relatives on my moms side are still in Erie. Funny to see all the comments about the brewery and my uncle. I last saw him when he was out to California visiting with his daughter, Tina and grand-daughter Gillian. He was about 90 then. A great gentleman for sure.

  26. Bill Wheeler says:

    I’m 75, grew up in Erie, and attended church at St. Johns Lutheran (originally German Lutheran Church) across the street from the Koehler Brewery. Jackson Magenau was my Sunday school teacher when I was older, and he would take us over to the brewery after Sunday school to sample the latest brew. It was fantastic! I was just looking at the pictures of St. Johns. The original church is still there, but the building has apparently been modernized. Too bad they didn’t do the same thing to the Brewery. ::-(

  27. Jim Necci says:

    I have posted a great picture of the Koehler Brewery from the 50′s on my facebook timeline. Check it out, it is open to the public.

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