A Little History Behind ’38 Redemption!

New this week on draft is our beloved Schwarzbier, ’38 Redemption! Now, we have lots of fun names for brews in this fine establishment. Some are self-explanatory: Dark Lager. Some are a little more mysterious: Kurios Black (a Belgian Stout Lager aged on Northern Michigan tart cherries). ’38 Redemption is different, though — it’s our only brew that refers to a specific year. And not just a specific year, but a specific and very important moment in American sports (and cultural) history. This brew is named in honor of Joe Louis’s historic defeat of German Max Schmeling — a long-awaited redemptive victory for the American-born champion fighter.

On June 19, 1936, Max Schmeling historically defeated Joe Louis in Round 12 (ringing any bells? Perhaps of our Munich Dunkel which released a few months back?) of their matchup at Yankee Stadium. Subsequently, Schmeling was hailed as a hero by Nazi Germany and was — to his dismay — used in Nazi Aryan propaganda, while Joe Louis went on and won the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating James Braddock in round eight of their June 1937 matchup.

But it wasn’t enough for Louis. He is reported to have felt that, despite his huge victory over Braddock, nothing would matter until he beat Schmeling. As he said before the fight: “I don’t want to be called champ until I whip Max Schmeling.”

Unlike his previous matchup with Schmeling, Louis trained fanatically for the upcoming bout. And it paid off.

On June 22, 1938, Joe Louis and Max Schmeling met once again in the ring in Yankee Stadium — but only briefly. The match lasted a mere two minutes and four seconds, with Joe Louis absolutely dominating the fight from the first second to the last.

Louis finally got his redemption, and Schmeling went back to Germany to win both the European and German heavyweight titles. Schmeling continued to distance himself from and defy the Nazi regime, and Louis went on to defend his World Heavyweight Champion title thirteen times from 1939-1941.

The rematch in 1938 is one of the most famous and culturally important sports events of the last 100 years, and now it even has a beer named after it. We hope you enjoy every sip! Cheers!