Historic Beer Birthday: John Gilroy

guinness-white
Today is the birthday of John Gilroy (May 30, 1898-April 11, 1985). While not a brewer or even brewery owner, he was nonetheless at least partially responsible for the success of Guinness with his iconic advertising that he created for them beginning in 1928.

John_Gilroy

Here’s his entry from Wikipedia.

“Born in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England, Gilroy attended Durham University until his studies were interrupted by World War I, during which he served with the Royal Field Artillery. He resumed studying at the Royal College of Art in London, where he remained as a teacher. He taught at Camberwell College of Arts.

In 1925, he gained employment at S.H. Benson’s advertising agency, where he created the iconic advertisement art for Guinness featuring the Zoo Keeper and animals enjoying Guinness. He worked with Dorothy L. Sayers. He was also an accomplished portrait painter, numbering Royalty, Politicians, Actors and many others amongst his sitters. He worked in his large studio at 10 Holland Park, London, the former home and studio of Sir Bernard Partridge. He was a long-standing and much loved member of the Garrick Club, where he was created a Life Member and Chairman of the Works of Art Committee 1970-1975. He was awarded and Honorary MA by Newcastle University in 1975, and was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1981.”

gilroy

The Guinness Collectors Club has a more thorough biography:

John Gilroy (1898-1985) was a superb natural draughtsman and a versatile illustrator and artist who produced advertsising material, portraits, landscapes, murals and greeting cards.

Born on the 30th of May 1898 at Whitley Bay, Newcastle upon Tyne, he was one of a family of eight (five boys and three girls), born to John William Gilroy and his wife Elizabeth. William Gilroy was a marine landscape painter and technical draughtsman and it was obvious from an early age that John junior was going to follow in his footsteps. The young John practised copying cartoons from Punch and took on all kinds of work to pay for drawing materials. From the age of fifteen he was a cartoonist for the Evening Chronicle, Newcastle, commissioned to produce cartoons of well-known entertainers who played the Newcastle theatres.

John attended Sandyford School followed, in 1909, by Heaton Park Road Upper School. At this date his family was living at 25 Kingsley Place. In June 1912, he left Heaton Park and, having attained his drawing certificate, won a scholarship to Armstrong College Art School, Durham University to study under Professor K.G. Hatten.

The First World War interrupted Gilroy’s studies and he served with the Royal Field Artillery in France, Italy and Palestine. In September 1919 he resumed his studies taking a place at the Royal College of Art, London (RCA). During his time there he produced illustrations for the college student magazine and occasionally played in goal for the college football team. In 1920 he attained his Board of Education certificate and the RCA diploma in decorative painting. His work was also rewarded through scholarships and prizes, winning, in 1919, the North Lordbourne prize for composition and, in 1921, the college drawing prize and the British Institute Scholarship for decorative painting. In 1922 Gilroy won an RCA travelling scholarship in mural painting having missed the Prix de Rome by only one vote.

Gilroy graduated from the RCA in July 1923 but stayed on there until 1925 as a teacher. From 1924 to 1926 he also taught drawing from the figure in the evenings at the Camberwell School of Art. In 1924 he married Gwendoline Peri-Short who had been a fellow pupil at the RCA and three years later they had a son, John.

In 1925 Gilroy embarked on his long association with the advertising agency S H Benson Ltd (Benson’s). Although Benson’s was the first advertising agency for whom Gilroy worked as an in-house artist, he had already proven himself in the commercial art sphere. His earliest known piece of commercial art, dating from 1920 when he was still a student, was for a promotional leaflet for the Mangnall-Irving Thrust-Borer commissioned by the Hydraulic Engineering Co.

Gilroy’s early work at Benson’s is reputed to have been on campaigns for Skipper Sardines and Virol. During his time there he also worked on campaigns for Bovril, Macleans and Monk & Glass Custard. His first significant assignment was the Mustard Club campaign for Coleman’s of Norwich, on which he worked with fellow artist William Brearley and copywriters Oswald Greene and Dorothy L Sayers. Between 1926 and 1933 the pens of Gilroy and Brearley brought eccentric characters like Baron de Beef, Signor Spaghetti and Miss Di Gester to life on bill boards and in magazines everywhere.

In 1928 Benson’s won the Guinness advertising account and Gilroy became involved with the product with which his work is most closely associated. Gilroy’s first known Guinness poster was produced in 1930. Working with copywriters like Ronald Barton and Robert Bevan, Gilroy produced more than 100 press advertisements and nearly 50 poster designs for Guinness over 35 years. He is perhaps best remembered for his posters featuring the girder carrier and the wood cutter from the Guinness for Strength campaigns of the early 1930s and for the Guinness animals. The animals, including a lion, toucan, gnu and kangaroo, appeared, with their long-suffering zookeeper, on posters, press advertisements, show cards and waiter trays from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Gilroy continued to produce Guinness advertisements well into the 1960s even though he left Benson’s employment as an in-house artist in the 1940s to continue freelance work.

During the 1920s and succeeding decades commercial art was not Gilroy’s sole occupation; he began to build his reputation as a painterboth of portraits and landscapes. One of his earliest portrait commissions was to paint the future Edward V111 for the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, of which Gilroy was a member and the Prince was patron.

In 1930, while the family was living at The Cottage, Hyde Park Road, Kew Gardens, Gilroy has his first painting, Gwen. exhibited at the Royal Academy. Throughout the 1930s Gilroy’s work continued to be exhibited at the Royal Academy and to appear on advertising boardings, in newspapers and even in the Radio Times. In 1941, with the onset of the blitz, the artist moved to Rasehill, Chorleywood Road, Rickmansworth. His wife and son moved to Cheltenham where, in the same year, he held a one-man exhibition of his work, which then travelled to Sunderland Public Art Gallery.

Throughout the war years, Gilroy’s work continued to be exhibited at the Royal Academy while his commercial art talents were employed by the Ministry of Information in campaigns such as Make-do-and-mend, Keep it under your hat and We want your kitchen waste. He also improved morale by painting murals at various Royal Air Force bases and produced a series of drawings-in-one-line of contemporary political and military figures, called Headlines, which appered in The Star.

By 1945, when his painting Diamond Setting was exhibited at the Royal Academy, the artist’s address was given as 6 Avenue Studios, Sydney Close, SW3. A year laterhe prodced another mural, this time in the bar of the Mrritt Arms Hotel near Greta Bridge on the estate of his close friend Major Morritt. The work at the Morritt Arms began on the 1st February 1946 and was completed within10 days. When Gilroy and his assistant proudly displayed the walls of the bar decorated with Dickensian figures, closer inspection revealed them to be caricatures of local people and staff from the hotel.

In 1949 Esme Jeudwine, a former pupil and portrait subject, introduced Gilroy to the Royle family and another long and successful association began. Gilroy produced five greeting card designs for Royle Publications Ltd (Royles) in that year with another 464 published designs over the next 35 year. In 1966, Gilroy was acting Art Director for Royles.

In 1950 Gilroy married Elizabeth Margaret Bramley (nee Outram Thwaite). The couple lived at 17 Queen’s Gate, Kensington, but moved a year later to 10 Holland Park Road, W14, the former home and studio of Sir Bernard Partridge, whose cartoons Gilroy had copied from Punch as a child. The magnificent studio at Holland Park Road saw the creation of advertising work for T.F. Carrington Van PostingLtd. where Gilroy was Head of the Art Department, and was regularly visited by members of the Royal Family, politicians, actors and many others who came to have theit portraits painted.

In 1957 Gilroy held another one-man exhibition this time at Leighton House Gallery and two years later produced a series of landscapes of McGill University, Montreal, to illustrate a book McGill, The Story of a University, edited by Hugh MacLennan. In 1970 Gilroy held a retrospective exhibition at Upper Grosvenor Galleries and three years later an exhibition of his humorous designs for Royles was held at the London headquarters of Austin Reed Ltd.

In his later years ‘Jack’ Gilroy was a longstanding and much loved member of the Garrick Club where he was Chairman of the Works of Art Committee and where a number of his portraits now hang. In 1975 Gilroy was awarded an honorary MA by Newcastle University and in 1981, now living at 6 Ryecroft Street, Fulham, he was appointed a Freeman of the City of London.

John Gilroy died at Guildford on the 11th April 1985, aged 86, and is buried at Ampney St Peter in Gloucestershire near the home of his son and three grandchildren.

John-Gilroy-photo

He created the zoo animals and other popular characters for Guinness from either 1928 or the early 1930s (accounts differ), but the first one he did appears to be the Guinness for Strength ad featuring a steel girder in 1934. According to some accounts, it was so popular that people even started ordering a ‘girder’ in the pub.

Guinness-1934-girder

The following year, the Toucan debuted, and quickly became one of the most recognizable of the Guinness animals, used in marketing and advertising by Guinness for over 45 years. Here’s the story of its design from History House:

The idea of using a toucan was born in the advertising agency of S.H.Benson in London. Staff included the talented artist John Gilroy was newly employed as the poster artist, and among the copywriting team was Dorothy L Sayers, now famous as a writer, poet and playwright, and best known for her amateur detective stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. She had started at the agency in 1922 and worked there while writing books in her spare time.

This team produced some memorable posters for Guinness including several posters in the whimsical “Zoo” series. These included a zoo keeper with a Guinness, a sea lion balancing drink on his nose, an ostrich with the shape of a swallowed glass halfway down its neck, a tortoise with a glass of stout on its back, and a toucan with two Guinness bottles balanced on its beak accompanied by the words.

If he can say as you can
“Guinness is good for you”
How grand to be a Toucan
Just think what Toucan do.

Gilroy remained with the advertising agency until 1960 during which time he designed many other Guinness posters. As to how animals came to be used in an advertising campaign was recalled later by Gilroy. “The Guinness family did not want an advertising campaign that equated with beer. They thought it would be vulgar. They also wanted to stress the brew’s strength and goodness. Somehow it led to animals.”

The toucan returned on several occasions on all types of advertising media and on memorabilia. In 1982 Guinness changed advertising agencies and it was decided that the toucan was no longer an effective advertising motif and it was dropped.

The text from that ad was actually written by Dorothy L. Sayers, who worked for the same advertising agency as Gilroy before she became a famous mystery writer, well-known for such characters as Lord Peter Wimsey, and others.

Guinness-Toucan-1935-Color
Gilroy’s first Toucan ad, from 1935.

And here’s a sample of some more of his work for Guinness.

guinness-collage

And finally, by no means complete, these are other Guinness ads I’ve collected in a Flickr gallery, many of which are by John Gilroy.

Ads: Guinness

New Old Beer Words: Nazz’d

beer-word
Here’s still another new word that should be added to the beer lexicon. Well, it’s not exactly a new word, but has been around 1876, and most likely earlier. It showed up as the word of the day yesterday on my “Forgotten English” page-a-day calendar.

The word is nazz’d and is described as “confused through beer or liquor; slightly drunk. Nazzy, stupified through drink.” It was apparently listed in “C. Clough Robinson’s Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.”

Trying to find out more, I found “Nazzle,” defined as “to be in a dreamy, stupid, abstracted state,” also apparently originating in Yorkshire, and listed in “Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905.” They certainly sound like related words, though I can’t be absolutely certain.

And I also found this definition:

Nazz’d, or Nazzy, adj. slightly drunk. Stupified. “Gying nazzling alang,” sauntering in a state of abstraction.

That one’s from “A Glossary of Words Used in Swaledale, Yorkshire,” by Captain John Harland, published in 1873.

So my interpretation of the word is that it’s meant to describe a very specific type of intoxication. Maybe buzzed is close to it, although I’ve come to hate that word due to the prohibitionist’s appropriation of it, but an intoxication that’s not complete, falling down, incoherent drunk, but closer to that sweet spot where you’re in a dreamlike state. That’s a good place to be.

drunkards

Historic Beer Birthday: Eduard Buchner

nobel-prize
Today is the birthday of Eduard Buchner (May 20, 1860-August 13, 1917). Buchner was a German chemist and zymologist, and was awarded with Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1907 for his work on fermentation.

Buchner

This is a short biography from The Famous People:

Born into an educationally distinguished family, Buchner lost his father when he was barely eleven years old. His elder brother, Hans Buchner, helped him to get good education. However, financial crisis forced Eduard to give up his studies for a temporary phase and he spent this period working in preserving and canning factory. Later, he resumed his education under well-known scientists and very soon received his doctorate degree. He then began working on chemical fermentation. However, his experience at the canning factory did not really go waste. Many years later while working with his brother at the Hygiene Institute at Munich he remembered how juices were preserved by adding sugar to it and so to preserve the protein extract from the yeast cells, he added a concentrated doze of sucrose to it. What followed is history. Sugar in the presence of enzymes in the yeast broke into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Later he identified the enzyme as zymase. This chance discovery not only brought him Nobel Prize in Chemistry, but also brought about a revolution in the field of biochemistry.

eduard-buchner

Eduard Buchner is best remembered for his discovery of zymase, an enzyme mixture that promotes cell free fermentation. However, it was a chance discovery. He was then working in his brother’s laboratory in Munich trying to produce yeast cell free extracts, which the latter wanted to use in an application for immunology.

To preserve the protein in the yeast cells, Eduard Buchner added concentrated sucrose to it. Bubbles began to form soon enough. He realized that presence of enzymes in the yeast has broken down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Later, he identified this enzyme as zymase and showed that it can be extracted from yeast cells. This single discovery laid the foundation of modern biochemistry.

buchner-fermentation

One of the most important aspects of his discovery proving that extracts from yeast cells could elicit fermentation is that it “contradicted a claim by Louis Pasteur that fermentation was an ‘expression of life’ and could occur only in living cells. Pasteur’s claim had put a decades-long brake on progress in fermentation research, according to an introductory speech at Buchner’s Nobel presentation. With Buchner’s results, “hitherto inaccessible territories have now been brought into the field of chemical research, and vast new prospects have been opened up to chemical science.”

In his studies, Buchner gathered liquid from crushed yeast cells. Then he demonstrated that components of the liquid, which he referred to as “zymases,” could independently produce alcohol in the presence of sugar. “Careful investigations have shown that the formation of carbon dioxide is accompanied by that of alcohol, and indeed in just the same proportions as in fermentation with live yeast,” Buchner noted in his Nobel speech.

E._Buchner_WS_1911-12

This is a fuller biography from the Nobel Prize organization:

Eduard Buchner was born in Munich on May 20, 1860, the son of Dr. Ernst Buchner, Professor Extraordinary of Forensic Medicine and physician at the University, and Friederike née Martin.

He was originally destined for a commercial career but, after the early death of his father in 1872, his older brother Hans, ten years his senior, made it possible for him to take a more general education. He matriculated at the Grammar School in his birth-place and after a short period of study at the Munich Polytechnic in the chemical laboratory of E. Erlenmeyer senior, he started work in a preserve and canning factory, with which he later moved to Mombach on Mainz.

The problems of chemistry had greatly attracted him at the Polytechnic and in 1884 he turned afresh to new studies in pure science, mainly in chemistry with Adolf von Baeyer and in botany with Professor C. von Naegeli at the Botanic Institute, Munich.

It was at the latter, where he studied under the special supervision of his brother Hans (who later became well-known as a bacteriologist), that his first publication, Der Einfluss des Sauerstoffs auf Gärungen (The influence of oxygen on fermentations) saw the light in 1885. In the course of his research in organic chemistry he received special assistance and stimulation from T. Curtius and H. von Pechmann, who were assistants in the laboratory in those days.

The Lamont Scholarship awarded by the Philosophical Faculty for three years made it possible for him to continue his studies.

After one term in Erlangen in the laboratory of Otto Fischer, where meanwhile Curtius had been appointed director of the analytical department, he took his doctor’s degree in the University of Munich in 1888. The following year saw his appointment as Assistant Lecturer in the organic laboratory of A. von Baeyer, and in 1891 Lecturer at the University.

By means of a special monetary grant from von Baeyer, it was possible for Buchner to establish a small laboratory for the chemistry of fermentation and to give lectures and perform experiments on chemical fermentations. In 1893 the first experiments were made on the rupture of yeast cells; but because the Board of the Laboratory was of the opinion that “nothing will be achieved by this” – the grinding of the yeast cells had already been described during the past 40 years, which latter statement was confirmed by accurate study of the literature – the studies on the contents of yeast cells were set aside for three years.

In the autumn of 1893 Buchner took over the supervision of the analytical department in T. Curtius’ laboratory in the University of Kiel and established himself there, being granted the title of Professor in 1895.

In 1896 he was called as Professor Extraordinary for Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the chemical laboratory of H. von Pechmann at the University of Tübingen.

During the autumn vacation in the same year his researches into the contents of the yeast cell were successfully recommenced in the Hygienic Institute in Munich, where his brother was on the Board of Directors. He was now able to work on a larger scale as the necessary facilities and funds were available.

On January 9, 1897, it was possible to send his first paper, Über alkoholische Gärung ohne Hefezellen (On alcoholic fermentation without yeast cells), to the editors of the Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft.

In October, 1898, he was appointed to the Chair of General Chemistry in the Agricultural College in Berlin and he also held lectureships on agricultural chemistry and agricultural chemical experiments as well as on the fermentation questions of the sugar industry. In order to obtain adequate assistance for scientific research, and to be able to fully train his assistants himself, he became habilitated at the University of Berlin in 1900.

In 1909 he was transferred to the University of Breslau and from there, in 1911, to Würzburg. The results of Buchner’s discoveries on the alcoholic fermentation of sugar were set forth in the book Die Zymasegärung (Zymosis), 1903, in collaboration with his brother Professor Hans Buchner and Martin Hahn. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1907 for his biochemical investigations and his discovery of non-cellular fermentation.

Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. When serving as a major in a field hospital at Folkschani in Roumania, he was wounded on August 3, 1917. Of these wounds received in action at the front, he died on the 13th of the same month.

Chemistry-1907-Buchner

Ukrainian Brewery Releases Trump Beer

pravda
Just in time for Trump’s first visit to foreign countries as President of the U.S., a Ukrainian brewery, Pravda Beer Theatre, has just announced the release of a new beer, a 7.2% a.b.v. beer called “Trump.” On the website, it’s initially referred to as a “blonde” although on the label it’s listed as an “Imperial Mexican Lager.” Here’s the description from the brewery’s website:

trump-beer_shoptrump-beer-description

And here’s the label, where Trump is said to be the President of the Divided States of America:

pravda_trump_beer

From what I can tell about their portfolio of beers, they like to have a bit of fun with both their beer and the labels for them. This may be their first political beer, but it doesn’t appear to be their last, as several more are listed as “Upcoming” or “Maybe in Future.” UPDATE: I’ve heard from brewmaster Cory McGuinness, who wrote to me to let me know that in fact all four of their political series beers are, in fact, available now. Apparently, with English being not their first language, the English-language portion of the website has not been updated recently.

So the first beer in their politicam series is Frau Ribbentrop, a 4.5% Belgian Wit featuring German chancellor Angela Merkel:

pravda_lviv_frau_merkel

And then there’s Obama Hope, a 7.2% stout, featuring former U.S. president Barack Obama:

pravda_obama-1

And finally, the brewery has released Putin Huilo, an 8% Dry-Hopped Golden Ale, featuring Russian president Vladimir Putin.

pravda_putin_huilo

Does anyone want to bet that Trump will be most upset about this because Putin’s beer is stronger than his?

Beer Birthday: Homer Simpson

duff
Today is the birthday of Homer J. Simpson (May 11, 1956- ). At least that’s the agreed upon date, which comes from episode 16 in Season 4, entitled “Duffless,” which originally aired February 18, 1993. In the episode, Homer loses his driver’s license when he gets a DUI and there’s a scene where his license is voided by a judge. Eagle-eyed fans were able to freeze the frame and see that his date of birth listed on the identification card was May 12, 1956.

homer-can

Here’s one biography of Homer, this one from the IMDb:

Homer (b.May 12, 1956) was raised on a farm by his parents, Mona and Abraham Simpson. In the mid-1960s, while Homer was between nine and twelve years old, Mona went into hiding following a run-in with the law. Homer attended Springfield High School and fell in love with Marge Bouvier in 1974. Marge became pregnant with Bart in 1979, while Homer was working at a miniature golf course. The two were wed in a small wedding chapel across the state line, From there they spent their wedding reception alone at a truck stop, and the remainder of their wedding night at Marge’s parents’ house. After failing to get a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer left Marge to find a job by which he could support his family. He briefly worked at a taco restaurant called the Gulp n’ Blow, until Marge found him and convinced him to return. As a result, Homer confronted Mr. Burns and secured a job at the Plant. Marge became pregnant with Lisa in 1981, shortly before the new couple bought their first house. In 1985 and 1986, Homer saw brief success as the lead singer and songwriter for the barbershop quartet the Be Sharps, even winning a Grammy. During his time with the group, Homer was frequently absent from home, which put stress on his marriage. After the group broke up due to creative differences, Homer went back to Springfield to continue his old life. Sometime in the late 1980s, Homer and Marge carefully budgeted so Homer could have his dream job as a pin monkey in a bowling alley. Unfortunately for Homer, Marge became pregnant with Maggie shortly after he started his new job, and not being able to support his family, he went back to the Nuclear Plant. He likes martini.

Homer’s age was initially 34, but as the writers aged, they found that he seemed a bit older too, so they changed his age to 38; this is contradicted by The Homer Book which states Homer is currently 36. Homer reunites with his mother.Homer’s personality is one of frequent stupidity, laziness, and explosive anger. He suffers from a short attention span which complements his short-lived passion for hobbies, enterprises and various causes. Homer is prone to emotional outbursts; he is very envious of his neighbors, the Flanders family, and is easily enraged by Bart and strangles him frequently. He shows no compunction about this, and does not attempt to hide his actions from people outside the family, even showing disregard for his son’s well being in other ways, such as leaving Bart alone at a port. While Homer’s thoughtless antics often upset his family, he has also performed acts that reveal him to be a surprisingly caring father and husband: in “Lisa the Beauty Queen”, selling his cherished ride on the Duff blimp and using the money to enter Lisa in a beauty pageant so she could feel better about herself; in “Rosebud”, giving up his chance at wealth to allow Maggie to keep a cherished teddy bear; in “Radio Bart”, spearheading an attempt to dig Bart out after he had fallen down a well, even though Homer generally hates doing physical labor; and in “A Milhouse Divided”, arranging a surprise second wedding with Marge to make up for their lousy first ceremony, even going so far as to hire one of The Doobie Brothers as part of the wedding band and getting a divorce from Marge, essentially making their second wedding a “real” one.

Homer frequently steals things from his neighbor, Ned Flanders, including TV trays, power tools, air conditioners, and at one point, part of his house. Flanders knows about this, but Homer constantly states that he has “borrowed” the stolen items. He has also stolen golf balls from the local driving range, cable television, office supplies (including computers) from work, and beer mugs from Moe’s Tavern. Also, while ‘working the night shift’ with the rest of the employees at a local discount store (which was just them being locked in at night and forced to stay via electrocution chip) he made off with a number of Plasma Screen TVs on a forklift, while at the same time breaking out of the store.

Homer has a vacuous mind, but he is still able to retain a great amount of knowledge about specific subjects. He shows short bursts of astonishing insight, memory, creativity and fluency with many languages. Homer is also extremely confident; no matter how little skill or knowledge he has about anything he tries to do, he has no doubt that he will be successful. However, his brief periods of intelligence are overshadowed by much longer and more consistent periods of ignorance, forgetfulness and stupidity. Homer has a low IQ due to his hereditary “Simpson Gene,” his alcohol problem, exposure to radioactive waste, repetitive cranial trauma, and a crayon lodged in the frontal lobe of his brain. Homer’s intelligence was said to jump fifty points when he had the crayon removed, bringing him to an IQ of 105, slightly above that of an average person, however he had the crayon reinserted, presumably lowering his IQ back to its original 55. The amount of Homer’s brain which still functions is also questionable. At one point in the series, Homer apparently lost 5% of his brain after a coma.

Homer’s attitudes toward women, romance, and sex are occasionally explored. While Homer’s marriage with Marge is occasionally strained, it seems generally happy and faithful. Despite this, Homer usually shows no qualms with gawking at (and drooling over) attractive women. Homer successfully avoided an affair with Mindy Simmons, but has made the occasional remark denoting his attraction to other women (including the gag about coveting his neighbor’s wife), even in front of Marge.

His relationship with his children is not the best, although he loves his children deeply. His relationship with Bart is often shown as a love-hate relationship or friendship. They sometimes appear to get on very well, however, such as on the numerous occasions they jointly commit various petty crimes or “get-rich-quick”-schemes. Homer’s relationship with Lisa is usually quite good although Lisa often tires of her father’s ignorance. His relationship with Maggie is perhaps the best, due to her infant state. However, even though Maggie has saved his life a number of times, he sometimes forgets she even exists (once telling Marge the dog does not count when she told him they had three kids).

moes

So while Homer doesn’t brew beer, he does certainly drink a lot of it. And without him, the world may not have ever heard of Duff Beer. And even though there are a few real world examples of Duff being brewed, I don’t recommend them, at least not the ones I’ve tried. But do drink a toast to Springfield’s favorite beer drinker, Homer Simpsons. Below are a few of the times Homer’s mentioned beer throughout the show’s twenty-plus year run.

home-sofa

“Beer. Now there’s a temporary solution.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “Homer’s Odyssey,” Season 1, Episode 3, 1990

homer-shark-infested-waters

“Ah, good ol’ trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “Bart Gets Hit by a Car,” Season 2, Episode 10, 1991

woo-hoo-duff

“Mmmm… beer.”

          — Homer Simpson, “Lisa’s Pony, Season 3, Episode 8, 1991; “So It’s Come to
This: A Simpsons Clip Show,” Season 4, Episode 18, 1993; and “Whacking
Day, Season 4, Episode 20, 1993”

HomerOcko

“I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “Duffless,” Season 4, Episode 16, 1993

homer-tap

“Ah beer, my one weakness. My Achilles heel if you will.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show,” Season 4, Episode 18, 1993

homer-empty-mug

“Alright Brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you. But lets just get me through this, and I can get back to killing you with beer.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “The Front,” Season 4, Episode 19, 1993

Homer-to-alcohol

“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment,” Season 8,
Episode 18, 1997

duff-dry-lite

Homer: “Will there be beer?”

Movementarian: “Beer is not allowed.”

Homer: “Homer no function beer well without.”

Movementarian: “Would you rather have beer or complete and utter contentment?”

Homer: “What kind of beer?”

          — Homer Simpson, in “The Joy of Sect,” Season 9, Episode 13, 1998

moes-2

“I’m glad I’m back. Because the moment that sweet, sweet beer hit my tongue, I was born again!”

          — Homer Simpson, in “The Joy of Sect,” Season 9, Episode 13, 1998

Duff-Beer-Simpsons

“Well, this time I’m drunk on love… and beer.”

          — Homer Simpson, in “Natural Born Kissers,” Season 9, Episode 25, 1998

homer-x-files

“Expand my brain, learning juice!”

          — Homer Simpson, about to drink a Duff Beer, in “See Homer Run,” Season
17, Episode 6, 2005

Homer-Simpson-and-Moe

Therapist: “And has there been any improvement in Homer’s drinking?”

Marge: “Well, he’s down to two beers in the shower.”

Homer: “They’re pale ales … please.”

          — From “Specs and the City,” Season 25, Episode 11, 2014

homer-beer

Jean Verdenal’s Letter To T.S. Eliot

reading-book
This will probably only be of interest to the most hardcore literati among you, but if you like poetry, literature or weird history, read on McDuff. According to Wikipedia, Jean Jules Verdenal “(May 11, 1890–May 2, 1915) was a French medical officer who served, and was killed, during the First World War. Verdenal and his life remain cloaked in obscurity; the little we do know comes mainly from interviews with family members and several surviving letters.”

Verdenal was born in Pau, France, the son of Paul Verdenal, a medical doctor. He had a talent for foreign languages. He was athletically inclined. Verdenal as a student was interested in literature and poetry and possessed copies of Stéphane Mallarmé’s Poésies and of Jules Laforgue’s Poésies and Moralités Légendaires. It was perhaps Verdenal’s literary inclinations that led him to become friends with American poet T.S. Eliot, whom he met in 1910 at the Sorbonne. After they parted ways, Verdenal and Eliot corresponded through letters. Verdenal was killed on May 2, 1915, while treating a wounded man on the battlefield. This was just a week into the Gallipoli Campaign and a few days shy of his twenty-fifth birthday.”

ts-eliot

T.S. Eliot, of course, was an American-born poet, who most people know of because his 1939 collection of poems, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” was later adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber into the popular musical, “Cats,” which debuted in 1981. But here’s the basics, again from Wikipedia:

Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888–January 4, 1965) was a British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets”. He moved from his native United States to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling, working, and marrying there. He eventually became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39, renouncing his American citizenship.

Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), which was seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), “The Hollow Men” (1925), “Ash Wednesday” (1930), and Four Quartets (1943). He was also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.”

There is also speculation that Verdenal was the inspiration for the character “Phlebas the Phoenician” in Eliot’s long-form poem “The Wasteland,” which he published in 1922. Eliot certainly dedicated some of his works to Verdenal, including “his first volume of poetry, ‘Prufrock and Other Observations,’ which was published two years after Verdenal’s death, in 1917.

Here’s another account of their meeting and friendship:

In 1910 T.S. Eliot, then a graduate student studying philosophy at Harvard University, went to Paris to study a year at the Sorbonne. He took a room at a pension where he met and befriended Jean Verdenal, a French medical student who had another room there.

Eliot returned to Harvard in the autumn of 1911 to continue his work toward a doctorate.

Eliot and Verdenal carried on a correspondence at least through 1912. Seven letters from Verdenal to Eliot (written in French) are archived at Harvard University’s Houghton Library. The Verdenal letters have also been published in The Letters of T.S. Eliot: 1898-1922 (Vol 1). Apparently no copies of Eliot’s letters to Verdenal survive.

So why I bring this is up is the following passage, from a letter that Verdenal wrote to T.S. Eliot in July of 1911.

“My dear friend, I am waiting impatiently to hear that you have found some notepaper in Bavaria, and to receive an example of it covered with your beautiful handwriting, before German beer has dulled your wits. As a matter of fact, it would have some difficulty in doing so, and we see that even few natives of the country escaped its effects; history tells us that the formidable Schopenhauer was a great beer-lover. He also played the clarinet, but perhaps that was just to annoy his neighbours. Such things are quite enough to make us cling to life. The will to live is evil, a source of desires and sufferings, but beer is not to be despised — and so we carry on. O Reason!”

Verdenal has an interesting take on German beer. ANd the clarinet, which I used to play, too.

Phlebas-the-Phoenician

And this is passage from “The Wasteland,” about which some scholars believe Verdenal was the inspiration for Phlebas the Phoenician. You can read more about why at this page about T.S. Eliot and Jean Verdenal.

          IV. Death by Water

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
                                 A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                               Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

“Beer” By Humorist Josh Billings

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You’ve probably never heard of Josh Billing, the pen name of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (April 21, 1818 – October 14, 1885). But in his day — the latter half of the 19th century — he was a pretty famous humorist and lectured throughout the United States. In terms of his fame, he was “perhaps second only to Mark Twain,” though his legacy has not endured nearly as well as Twain’s.

Josh-Billings

Shaw was born in Lanesborough, Massachusetts on April 21, 1818. His father was Henry Shaw, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1817–21, and his grandfather Samuel Shaw who also served in the U.S. Congress from 1808–1813. His uncle was John Savage, yet another Congressman.

Shaw attended Hamilton College, but was expelled in his second year for removing the clapper of the campus bell. He married Zipha E. Bradford in 1845.

Shaw worked as a farmer, coal miner, explorer, and auctioneer before he began making a living as a journalist and writer in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1858. Under the pseudonym “Josh Billings” he wrote in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom. His books include Farmers’ Allminax, Josh Billings’ Sayings, Everybody’s Friend, Choice Bits of American Wit and Josh Billings’ Trump Kards. He toured, giving lectures of his writings, which were very popular with the audiences of the day. He was also reputed to be the eponymous author of the “Uncle Ezek’s Wisdom” column in the Century Magazine.

In addition to wise sayings, he wrote numerous short, humorous pieces, including this odd one, entitled …

BEER.

I HAV finally com tew the konclusion, that lager beer iz not intoxikatin.
I hav been told so bi a german, who sed he had drank it aul nite long, just tew tri the experiment, and was obliged tew go home entirely sober in the morning. I hav seen this same man drink sixteen glasses, and if he was drunk, he was drunk in german, and noboddy could understand it. It iz proper enuff tew state, that this man kept a lager-beer saloon, and could have no object in stating what want strictly thus.
I beleaved him tew the full extent ov mi ability. I never drank but 3 glasses ov lager beer in mi life, and that made my hed untwist, as tho it was hung on the end ov a string, but i was told that it was owing tew my bile being out ov place, and I guess that it was so, for I never biled over wuss than i did when I got home that nite. Mi wife was afrade i was agoing tew die, and i was almoste afrade i shouldn’t, for it did seem az tho evrything i had ever eaten in mi life, was cuming tew the surface, and i do really beleave, if mi wife hadn’t pulled oph mi boots, just az she did, they would have cum thundering up too.
Oh, how sick i was! it was 14 years ago, and i kan taste it now.
I never had so much experience, in so short a time.
If enny man should tell me that lager beer was not intoxikating, i should beleave him; but if he should tell me that i want drunk that nite, but that my stummuk was only out ov order, i should ask him tew state over, in a few words, just how a man felt and akted when he was well set up.
If i want drunk that nite, i had sum ov the moste natural simptoms a man ever had, and keep sober.
In the fust place, it was about 80 rods from whare i drank the lager, tew my house, and i was over 2 hours on the road, and had a hole busted thru each one ov mi pantaloon kneeze, and didn’t hav enny hat, and tried tew open the door by the bell-pull, and hickupped awfully, and saw evrything in the 417 room tryin tew git round onto the back side ov me, and in setting down onto a chair, i didn’t wait quite long enuff for it tew git exactly under me, when it was going round, and i sett down a little too soon, and missed the chair by about 12 inches, and couldn’t git up quick enuff tew take the next one when it cum, and that ain’t aul; mi wife sed i waz az drunk az a beast, and az i sed before, i begun tew spit up things freely.

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Illustration possibly by Thomas Nast.

If lager beer iz not intoxikating, it used me almighty mean, that i kno.
Still i hardly think lager beer iz intoxikating, for i hav been told so, and i am probably the only man living, who ever drunk enny when hiz bile want plumb.
I don’t want tew say ennything against a harmless tempranse bevridge, but if i ever drink enny more it will be with mi hands tied behind me, and mi mouth pried open.
I don’t think lager beer iz intoxikating, but if i remember right, i think it tastes to me like a glass with a handle on one side ov it, full ov soap suds that a pickle had bin put tew soak in.

The American Humorists
A photo of Billings with Mark Twain and political commentator Petroleum V. Nasby, photographed in Boston by G. M. Baker in November of 1869.

In another collection of his work, entitled “Josh Billings, Hiz Sayings: With Comic Illustrations,” published in 1865, Billings presents his definition of Lager:

Billings-lager

Historic Beer Birthday: William Cullen

refrigeration
Today is the birthday of William Cullen (April 15, 1710-February 5, 1790). He “was a Scottish physician, chemist and agriculturalist, and one of the most important professors at the Edinburgh Medical School, during its hay-day as the leading center of medical education in the English-speaking world.

Cullen was also a central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. He was David Hume’s physician and friend, and on intimate terms with Adam Smith, Lord Kames (with whom he discussed theoretical and practical aspects of husbandry), Joseph Black, John Millar, and Adam Ferguson, among others.

He was President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (1746–47), President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1773–1775) and First Physician to the King in Scotland (1773–1790). He was also, incidentally, one of the prime movers in obtaining a royal charter for the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, resulting in the formation of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783.”

Cullen extended the subject of chemistry beyond medicine by connecting it to many “arts” including agriculture, bleaching, brewing, mining, and the manufacture of vinegar and alkalies. In brewing, it was the very important need for cooling using artificial refrigeration where William Cullen at the University of Glasgow in 1748 made his impact, making advances crucial to the development of refrigeration for the brewing industry when he began studying the cooling effects of liquids evaporating in a vacuum, the process by which we cool foods today. He even demonstrated artificial refrigeration for the first time in 1748.

William_Cullen

In the Brussels Journal, in a multi-part history of beer, Cullen’s contributions are acknowledged and explained:

The principle of vacuum refrigerators is based on the fact that water in a sealed container can be made to boil if the pressure is reduced (the “boiling point” of 100 degrees Celsius refers to the situation when the external pressure equals one atmosphere; water can be made to boil at lower temperatures on a mountain top). The heat necessary for evaporation is taken from the water itself. Reducing the pressure further lowers the temperature until freezing-point is reached and ice is formed. The Scottish scholar and chemist William Cullen (1710-1790) gave one of the first documented public demonstrations of artificial refrigeration, and the United States inventor Oliver Evans (1755-1819) designed, but did not build, a refrigeration machine which ran on vapor in 1805. I. Hornsey writes in his history of beer and brewing:

“The earliest machine of this type was constructed in 1755, by Dr William Cullen, who produced the vacuum necessary purely by means of a pump. Then, in 1810, Sir John Leslie combined a vessel containing a strong sulphuric acid solution along with the air pump, the acid acting as an absorbent for water vapour in the air. This principle was taken up and elaborated upon by E.C. Carré, who in 1860 invented a machine that used ammonia as the volatile liquid instead of water….The first compression machine was manufactured by John Hague in 1834, from designs by the inventor, Jacob Perkins, who took out the original patents, and recommended that ether was used as the volatile agent. Although Hague’s machine can be regarded as the archetype for all ‘modern’ refrigerators, it never really got past the development stage, and it was left to the Australian, James Harrison, of Geelong, Victoria, to finalise the practicalities and produce a working version, which he did in 1856. By 1859, Harrison’s equipment was being manufactured commercially in New South Wales, and the first of them (which used ether as the refrigerating agent) came to Britain in 1861.”

Cullen_William

Although the first inventor of a practical refrigerator was Oliver Evans in 1805, Cullen invented the process in 1748 which allowed the technology to be further developed. After his public demonstration of the refrigeration effects of evaporative cooling, he described the phenomenon in “Of the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and of Some Other Means of Producing Cold” (Essays and Observations, Physical and Literary, vol. 2 [1756]).

cullen-portrait

Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Bramah

handpump
Today is the birthday of Joseph Bramah (April 13, 1748-December 9, 1814). Bramah was an English engineer, and inventor, whose most famous invention was the hydraulic press. But he also made improvements and created a practical beer engine, creating his beer pump and engine inventions between 1785 and 1797.

Joseph Bramah- portrait in oils

Another summary of his achievements is quite flattering:

English engineer and inventor whose lock manufacturing shop was the cradle of the British machine-tool industry. Central in early Victorian lockmaking and manufacturing, he influenced almost every mechanical trade of the time. Like Henry Ford, his influence was probably greater for the manufacturing processes he developed, than the product itself. He took out his first patent on a safety lock (1784) and in 1795 he patented his hydraulic press, known as the Bramah press, used for heavy forging. He devised a numerical printing machine for bank notes and was one of the first to suggest the practicability of screw propellers and of hydraulic transmission. He invented milling and planing machines and other machine tools, a beer-engine (1797), and a water-closet.

As for the actual patents, there were two of them. The first was in 1785 and was for what he called a “beer pump.” Then, in 1793 he was granted Patent No. 2196 for his improved version, now referred to as a “beer engine.” It was actually a Dutchman, John Lofting, who had first invented the beer pump in 1688, but Bramah’s were more refined and practical, and more importantly, patented. Curiously, Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History lists the patent dates as 1787 and 1797, so it’s unclear which are the correct dates.

In this engraving, entitled Men of Science Living in 1807-8, Bramah is on the left side, the tenth one in the back from the left. He’s the one with the wide sash across his chest and the star-shaped badge on his jacket. Others include Joseph Banks, Henry Cavendish and James Watt.

NPG 1075a; Engraving after 'Men of Science Living in 1807-8'

There’s even a J.D. Wetherspoon’s pub in his home town of Bramley called The Joseph Bramah

joseph-bramah-pub-3

Budweiser Clydesdales Debut On April 7, 1933

clydesdales-high
Today, of course, is known by many names: National Beer Day, Beer is Back Day, Legal Beer Day, Brew Year’s Day, and New Beer’s Day. And that’s because while the repeal of the 18th Amendment wouldn’t be ratified until December 5, 1933, the Cullen-Harrison Act took effect on April 7, 1933, having been enacted by Congress on March 21 of the same year. And that meant that at least some lower-alcohol beer could legally be served in about twenty states in the United States, which I imagine after a thirteen-year drought was a welcome relief to beer lovers everywhere. Here’s the nutshell history from Wikipedia:

The Cullen–Harrison Act, named for its sponsors, Senator Pat Harrison and Representative Thomas H. Cullen, enacted by the United States Congress March 21, 1933 and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt the following day, legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight) and wine of similarly low alcohol content, thought to be too low to be intoxicating, effective April 7, 1933. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

Of course, he actually signed the bill on March 22, 1933, which is when he made that remark, still a full sixteen days before he could actually do so.

According to the Cullen-Harrison Act, each state had to pass similar legislation to legalize sale of the low alcohol beverages in that state. Roosevelt had previously sent a short message to Congress requesting such a bill. Sale of even such low alcohol beer had been illegal in the U.S. since Prohibition started in 1920 following the 1919 passage of the Volstead Act. Throngs gathered outside breweries and taverns for their first legal beer in many years. The passage of the Cullen–Harrison Act is celebrated as National Beer Day every year on April 7.

beer-for-the-president

And while you often see this photo of Budweiser’s Clydesdales pulling a beer wagon to deliver beer in Washington for the president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, this could not have been taken on April 7, but would have been a few weeks later at the earliest. Although the clydesdales did debut today in 1933, it was not in Washington D.C. Here’s the story, from Anheuser-Busch’s website:

On April 7, 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch, Sr., with the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition of beer.

Realizing the marketing potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, the company also arranged to have a second six-horse Clydesdale hitch sent to New York on April 7 to mark the event. The Clydesdales drew a crowd of thousands on their way to the Empire State Building. After a small ceremony, a case of Budweiser was presented to former Governor Alfred E. Smith in appreciation of his years of service in the fight against Prohibition.

This hitch continued on a tour of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, thrilling thousands, before stopping in Washington, D.C., in April 1933 to reenact the delivery of one of the first cases of Budweiser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The St. Louis hitch also toured in celebration, stopping in Chicago and other Midwestern cities.

Shortly after the hitch was first introduced, the six-horse Clydesdale team increased to eight. On March 30, 1950, in commemoration of the opening of the Anheuser-Busch Newark Brewery, a Dalmatian was introduced as the Budweiser Clydesdales’ mascot. Now, a Dalmatian travels with each of the Clydesdale hitches.

budweiser-clydesdales-1
Original Budweiser Clydesdale Six-horse Hitch and Beer Wagon, in front of the St. Louis Brewery in 1933.

And here’s the story from Wikipedia:

The Budweiser Clydesdales were first introduced to the public on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. August A. Busch, Jr. presented the hitch as a gift to his father, August Anheuser Busch, Sr., who was guided outside the brewery by the ruse of being told his son had purchased him a new car, but instead was greeted by the horses, pulling a red, white and gold beer wagon. The hitch proceeded to carry the first case of post-Prohibition beer from the St. Louis brewery in a special journey down Pestalozzi Street in St. Louis.

Recognizing the advertising and promotional potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, Busch, Sr. had the team sent by rail to New York City, where it picked up two cases of Budweiser beer at New Jersey’s Newark Airport, and presented it to Al Smith, former governor of New York and an instrumental force in the repeal of Prohibition. From there, the Clydesdales continued on a tour of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States, a journey that included the delivery of a case of beer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House.

budweiser-clydesdales-2

The Budweiser Clydesdales are still going, of course, and have been a great marketing tool for the beer company. My daughter is a horse lover, and has been doing equestrian vaulting (essentially gymnastics on the back of a moving horse) since she was six-years old. When she was seven, in 2011, I took her to see the clydesdales at the Fairfield Budweiser brewery. I had called ahead, and we had a private tour of the brewery first, which was fun, and then the horses arrived in several specially designed trucks and put on a demonstration in the parking lot. We watched as they unloaded them, groomed them and then got them ready. Then they hooked them up to the wagon and they circled the parking lot. My daughter had a great time and the horses, to her at least, were beautiful and the attention to detail they put into them was amazing. Anyway, here’s a few photos from that trip.

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My daughter Alice, ready for the brewery tour.

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The horses arrives.

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Alice in front of the beer wagon.

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After getting the horses ready, they started hitching them up, one by one.

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Until they were all hitched and ready to go.