In pouring the beer from the bottles, it is the bartender’s or waiter’s duty to select a proper and clean glass. All this applies with equal force to both domestic and imported beer. At the present time, bottled beer has become quite the fashion, and is consumed much more than in former years, especially in hotels, restaurants and private families. The proprietor of any place should buy all the best brands of bottled beer, as the consumer today demands quality and variety. In stocking up, you should see that not too great a quantity, or too much of any single brand is taken at one time, because the older bottled beer gets, the more it loses its flavor, unless it is the special brewed beer of the export trade. Bottled beer should never be kept more than from two to three weeks in the ice box, and in handling it it is proper to try to dispose first of the oldest lot on hand, in order to keep the quantity uniform. In opening the bottle, the bartender should be careful in pulling the cork and brush away any particles of it with a clean towel. Furthermore, bottled beer should be handled as carefully as wine and not in the careless, slipshod manner so many bartenders use.
That’s not me lecturing, but Harry Johnson from the facsimile of the 1900 edition of Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartenders’ Manual and a Guide for Hotels and Restaurants, recently published by Mud Puddle Books. I’ll concede more than two to three weeks for bottled beer in the “icebox,” considering the styles and technologies at play today, but otherwise I am amazed at how valid today are Johnson’s words of more than a century ago.