George Carlin Tasting Beer

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Today is the birthday of American stand-up comedian, actor, author and social critic George Carlin. He was easily one of the best stand-up comedians in my lifetime and now my son is discovering him through YouTube, which has been fun for me. Anyway, Carlin enjoyed beer, and because of that twenty years ago New York Magazine asked him to participate in a tasting of “microbrews” for an article written by Tony Hendra for the May 12, 1997 issue.

If you don’t know Tony Hendra, he used to be the editor of National Lampoon, and “co-created, co-wrote, and co-produced the British television satirical show Spitting Image.” He “is an English satirist, actor and writer who has worked mostly in the United States. Educated at St Albans School (where he was a classmate of Stephen Hawking) and at Cambridge University, he was a member of the Cambridge University Footlights revue in 1962, alongside John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor.”

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It’s interesting to look back two decades and see how people viewed craft beer in 1997. The first thing you’ll notice is that the term “craft beer” is nowhere to be found. They were drinking “microbrews.” But that’s just the beginning. The article was called “Brewhaha.”

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In addition to Carlin and author Hendra, the other beer tasters were Bernard McGuirk, who “is the executive producer of the Imus in the Morning radio program” and Laura Ingraham, who “is an American radio talk show host, author, and conservative political commentator.” It’s an odd group, though the unifying factor seems to be that they’ve all worked in radio.

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It’s funny to hear them complaining about all the fruit in beer those days, instead of the “reliably toothsome beers” that Pete’s and Samuel Adams, among others, had been making before then.

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They don’t say how many or which other beers they sampled, but their list of their Top 10 is certainly a trip down memory lane. It’s strange to say, but I can honest;y say I’ve had every one of them.

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And their list of the ones they most disliked is equally interesting. And again, it’s weird, but I’ve tried every one of those beers, too. They have some pretty interesting remarks about each of them, but their notes of Rogue’s barley wine betrays their deep ignorance about what they’re drinking.

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Another hint that they’re not exactly aficionados is the reference to spittoons. Twenty years ago it was pretty common to see articles like this, blissfully unaware that tasting beer and wine was different. And then they’d just proudly blurt out their spitting, giving away their ignorance without even realizing what they were doing.

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But anyway, happy birthday George Carlin.

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Beer In Ads #2314: Be Light-Hearted, Swimmers


Wednesday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1952. In this ad, part of another series featuring the tagline “Be Light-Hearted!,” another couple is toasting with two glasses of beer. They’ve apparently just come out of the swimming pool and are drying off, but the first thing they did was grab a couple beers. You gotta respect that.

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Beer In Ads #2313: Be Light-Hearted, Stay Light-Hearted


Tuesday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1952. In this ad, part of another series featuring the tagline “Be Light-Hearted!,” a couple is toasting with two glasses of beer. They’re both wearing gray, to camouflage themselves from their surroundings, but she’s got what looks like a walnut hanging from her green choker. At least they didn’t have to wear the red caps.

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Next Session: Getting SMaSHed

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For our 125th Session, our host will be Mark Lindner‏, who writes By the Barrel: Bend Beer Librarian. For his topic, he’s chosen SMaSH Beers, or single malt and single hop beers, which he was reminded of by his local Bend, Oregon, annual SMaSH Fest, part of Central Oregon Beer Week, which happened a few weekends ago. Between that, and brewing his first batch a beer — yes, it will be a SMaSH beer — he “jokingly asked [him]self if single malt and single hop beers can be considered a “thing” (trendy, etc.) until we have coffee-infused, barrel-aged, and fruit SMaSH beers. Maybe we do; [he has] not seen them yet though.”

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But here’s Mark’s full description of his topc:

Here are some potential directions you could consider:

  • Answer my question above. Are they trendy? When would they be considered to be trendy? Have you seen/had a variant (x-infused, fruit, …) single malt and single hop beer? More than one?
  • What purpose do SMaSH beers fill? For you, personally, and/or generally.
  • Do they fill a niche in any beer style space? One that matters to you? Are they a “style,” however you define that?
  • Have you ever had an excellent one? As a SMaSH beer or as a beer, period.
  • Do you brew them?
  • Are there any styles besides pale ale/IPA that can be achieved via a single malt and single hop beer? (How about achieved versus done quite well.)
  • Do they offer anything to drinkers, especially non-brewing drinkers?

I consider this to be wide open and am interested in your thoughts, whatever they are, regarding SMaSH beers. I sincerely hope this is not too limiting of a topic in the number of people who have tasted and/or brewed single malt and single hop beers.

Resources

Some resources–mostly brewing-focused, sorry–about single malt and single hop beers:

BREWING

Keeping it Simple with SMaSH Brewing [AHA]

Single-Malt Brewing [All About Beer]

Brew Your Own 20/4 Jul/Aug 2014 Single Malt and Single Hop 55-64

Zymurgy 40/2 Mar/Apr 2017 Uncommon Taste of Place SMaSH recipe 35

STYLE GUIDELINES

Neither BJCP 2015, NHC 2017, Brewers Association 2017, World Beer Cup 2016, or GABF 2017 have anything on them based on searches for “smash” and “single malt.”

FOR GENERAL BEER DRINKER (NON-BREWER)

I did try to find anything specifically directed more to the drinker/general consumer rather than the brewer but I could not find any. I would be interested in anything along that vein any of you have seen.

For instance, neither Mosher Tasting Beer, 2nd ed. or Alworth, The Beer Bible or Oliver, ed., The Oxford Companion to Beer have anything on SMaSH beer, although single-hopped does make an appearance in some of these.

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To participate in the July Session, on or before Friday, July 7, 2017, write a post and either leave a comment to the original announcement, e-mail your post’s link to mark . r . lindner @gmail . com or tweet him at @bythebbl.

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Beer In Ads #2311: Are You In The Class Of ’51?


Sunday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” though this one features five of the people that were in previous ads over the campaign, and leaves room for one more person to be in the picture, and graduate to Carling — you.

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Beer In Ads #2310: Shep Fields Graduates To Carling


Saturday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1949. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features band leader Shep Fields wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. He “was the band leader for the “Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm” orchestra during the Big Band era of the 1930s.”

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Beer In Ads #2309: Lee Bowman Graduates To Carling


Friday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features ” American film and television actor” Lee Bowman wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. “According to one obituary, ‘his roles ranged from romantic lead to worldly, wisecracking lout in his most famous years.'”

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Beer In Ads #2308: Lucille Ball Graduates To Carling


Thursday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features “American actress, comedienne, model, film-studio executive, and producer” Lucille Ball wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. “She was best known as the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.”

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Beer In Ads #2307: Franchot Tone Graduates To Carling


Wednesday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1951. In this ad, part of another series featuring well-known celebrities of the day and the tagline “x person, too, has graduated to Carling’s — the LIGHT-HEARTED ale!,” it features “American stage, film, and television actor” Franchot Tone wearing an Oxford cap, or mortarboard, with a small red cap on top of it while holding up a glass of Red Cap Ale. “He was the star of many successful films and television series throughout his career, such as Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. He is perhaps best known for his Oscar-nominated role as Midshipman Roger Byam in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), starring alongside Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.”

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