A Beer Bestiary

A Bestiary is an old-fashioned idea, from the Middles Ages, where various animals and other creatures, often fanciful, mythical and fictitious, were illustrated, and then there was a detailed description of each beast, usually accompanied by an allegorical story with a moral or religious teaching. You can see examples of many of these imaginary creatures at the Medieval Bestiary. A Los Angeles illustrator and graphic designer, Ian O’Phelan, has created a modern version, which he calls a “Beer Bestiary.” With just four mythical creatures in his bestiary, his fantastic four you’ll likely recognize, if not individually, at least for what they can become as a superhero team, your next beer.

Barley Beast
Virginal Hops
Water Bear
Cockatrice d’Yeast

Beer In Ads #1380: We Spend More

Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1907. The ad is part of a series from that time highlighting different aspects of the beer’s process, its healthfulness and other factors. In this one, the headline is “We Spend More,” and in the text they talk about the “extremes” they go to, like washing “every bottle four times by machinery.” After going through a list of these, the ad finishes with a question. “Don’t you want it.”


Beer In Ads #1379: Reputation

Wednesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1905. The ad is part of a series from that time highlighting different aspects of the beer’s process, its healthfulness and other factors. In this one, the headline is “Reputation,” and according to the headline, Schlitz “spend[s] fortunes every year — go to the utmost extremes — to maintain it.” Too bad they forgot about that when the bean counters took over in the Sixties.


Beer in Ads #1378: Beer Is Healthful

Tuesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1902. The ad is part of a series from that time highlighting different aspects of the beer’s process, its healthfulness and other factors. In this one, the headline is “Beer is Healthful,” but makes the distinction that “green beer” (defined here as “insufficiently aged, half-fermented”) is not, but that you have to keep your beer and packaging clean. Hard to argue with that.


Mickey Mouse Drinking A Beer

Today is the day when Steamboat Willie debuted in 1928, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, the one that made the Disney company the entertainment powerhouse that it is today. But even though Steamboat Willie is the famous one, it actually wasn’t the first Mickey Mouse cartoon created. Plane Crazy was actually the first one made, and The Gallopin’ Gaucho was the second, but both were shelved to work on Steamboat Willie, and specifically to add a synchronized soundtrack, which is what helped make Mickey Mouse so famous.


But the Gallopin’ Gaucho was notable for one other important reason. In the March 1929 cartoon, four years before the repeal of Prohibition, Mickey Mouse can be seen drinking a mug of beer. And not just drinking it, but really putting one away. But as he as south of the border, at the bar and restaurant called “Cantina Argentina,” he probably wasn’t breaking any laws.


The original, of course, was in black and white.


Below is the entire cartoon, though the best version I could find was colorized.

Beer In Ads #1376: Perfection In Smoothness

Sunday’s ad is yet another one for Schlitz, this one from 1943. An ice skater glides effortlessly across a frozen pond in the central illustration. Yeah, it’s that smooth. I like that in the ad copy they suggest that Schlitz has “that famous flavor found in no other beer.” Because different beers at that time tasted so differently. Wow, that seems like a tough sell.


Beer In Ads #1375: The Beer Of Tomorrow Is Here Today

Saturday’s ad is another one for Schlitz, this one from 1945. The ads was just before the end of World War 2, and was speculating about all the wonderful things we’d be doing once the war was over, including “giant airliners.” But as for the beer of tomorrow, their position was that it was already there, and it was Schlitz.


Beer In Ads #1374: Pioneering Since 1849

Friday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1949. The ad is 100 years from something, though it’s unclear what. In addition to the gold rush in California, I guess there was a lot of “pioneering” still going on 100 years before this ad ran, but Schlitz itself didn’t start brewing for another 25 years, in 1874. Still, this Oregon Trail-like painting is pretty cool, even if it has little to do with the beer.


Beer In Ads #1373: Getting Outside A Guinness With R.L.S.

Thursday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1955. The ad features Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who was born today in 1850. R.L.S. — as he’s referred to in the tagline — was the author of “Treasure Island,” the “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” and many others. According to the ad, which ran in the Illustrated London News, Stevenson was aboard a cruise ship in the South Pacific in 1893, when he wrote a letter to a person named Colvin, a portion of which was also part of the ad copy:

Fanny ate a whole fowl for breakfast, to say nothing of a tower of hot cakes. Belle and I floored another hen betwixt the pair of us, and I shall no sooner be done with the present amanuensing racket than I shall put myself outside a pint of Guinness. If you think this looks like dying of consumption in Apia, I can only say I differ from you.