Wednesday’s ad is another one from the United States Brewers Foundation, this time from 1951. It’s another ad reminding people, with Prohibition less than two decades in the rearview mirror, that the brewing industry contributes quite a bit to the economy. In this case, the figure is $193 million for state excise taxes from the previous year, 1950, so really that’s just a small part of what the industry contributed to the economy, because it doesn’t include federal excise taxes, or any additional taxes levied on all businesses plus the special taxes reserved for alcohol companies. You just know today that the amount is exponentially higher.
Tuesday’s ad is from the United States Brewers Foundation, from 1953. In a factoid-filled newspaper ad, the trade group sings the praises of the industry and their contribution to the economy. $2 million a day seems like a lot, though today it’s closer to $90 million a day, though it’s possibly more depending on which taxes are included in those statistics.
The Daily Beast had an interesting profile of Kent “Battle” Martin, the person responsible for approving every single beer label at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, in Meet the Beer Bottle Dictator. I’d heard of Martin — um, Battle, I mean — before, but didn’t realize he was the only person approving or denying label applications. I think I assumed he was simply part of a larger staff. I can’t say having a single person in charge of interpreting a fairly vague set of laws in a particularly good idea. There have been some very strange, seemingly nonsensical and contradictory decisions over the years, and I’d always thought that was because those were made by various people interpreting the regulations differently, the way the California ABC does, or the arbitrary way that movie ratings are given. I have to say, I don’t think that should be left to just one individual, no matter how dedicated or hard-working, as Battle apparently is, according to the article.
For our 91st Session, our host is Breandán Kearney, who is the beery half of Belgian Smaak, along with budding chocolatier Elisa. For his topic, he’s chosen My First Belgian, meaning to participate in the September Session, he wants to know about yours.
Our blog is called ‘Belgian Smaak’. We love (and investigate, write about and drink) fantastic beers from other countries around the world, but the reason we started the blog was that we were blown away by the variety of flavours that Belgium offers in its beer and wanted to enjoy our own adventure in taste.
Although David Turley of Musing Over a Pint did host a great session on Belgian-style triples (A Tripel for Two) back in February 2009, we noticed with no small element of surprise that there has not yet been a Session dedicated to discussing beers from this country generally and so we feel that we are the hosts to bring Belgian beer to the tip of your tongues both literarily and libatiously.
This topic was inspired by my own experience in moving to Belgium last year. Having only Guinness and Macro-Pils as a reference (until recently the only choice available in Ireland), my attitude towards beer was completely re-aligned when I first encountered Belgian beer culture.
There’s no rules for participating in this Session. If you’ve never tried a beer brewed in Belgian, now your chance. Or write about your favorite Belgian type of beer. The sky’s the limit. Their “aim here is to explore, discuss and hopefully celebrate the ways (if any) in which this fascinating beer culture has personally impacted on each of you, the passionate beer blogging community.” But see his thoughtful, detailed announcement for the myriad ways you can participate in next month’s Session.
So put on your Belgian cap and write your blog post — no Flemish necessary — on Friday 5 September 2014, and link to Belgian Smaak’s announcement in your post. Also, he’s asking that you leave a comment below his announcement with a link to your post on that same day to facilitate doing the roundup.
Anchor’s newest beer was apparently inspired by a trip taken recently by their longtime brewmaster, Mark Carpenter. He and his family vacationed on Saaremaa Island, a part of Estonia, and located in the Baltic Sea. According to Anchor’s press release, this “ancient island has been inhabited more than 8,000 years, and has been occupied by Germany, Denmark, Sweden, czarist Russia, and the Soviet Union. Its culture is a rich and fascinating melting pot. Yet few outside of Estonia have ever experienced its uniquely native beers. Mark enjoyed them so much that he not only brought back his memories of Saaremaa but some brewer’s yeast, as well. Inspired by Mark’s Estonian beer journey, Anchor’s Zymaster No. 6 takes you on a journey to Saaremaa by way of San Francisco.”
Beer is a journey. Wine is defined by time – on the vine and in the bottle – and place, known as terroir. But beer, thanks to the miracles of modern science, can now be made virtually anywhere in any style, transporting the beer-lover to whatever time, place, and flavors he or she desires.
“My wife and I were traveling through the Saaremaa Island countryside and we stopped at a bar,” said the Anchor Brewmaster. “I asked for a local draught beer and the unfiltered brew I was served was completely unique. It was the native yeast that intrigued me and ultimately become the inspiration for Zymaster No. 6. After returning to San Francisco, the Estonian yeast was isolated and cultured becoming the cornerstone of our pale ale which is complimented by the medium bitterness from Northern Brewer, a favorite hop here at Anchor. The result is a one-of-a-kind brew that transports me back to that countryside bar. We hope you’ll enjoy this beer journey, as well.”
Zymaster No. 6 (6% ABV) is a medium-bitter pale ale with Old World hop flavor and aroma. Made with pale barley malt, it has a light body and clean finish. But what makes Saaremaa Island Ale exceptional is the native yeast that Brewmaster Mark Carpenter clandestinely brought back from his Estonian beer journey. It took months for Anchor to isolate and culture this special strain, so essential to the unique character of Saaremaa Island’s indigenous beers. Anchor’s trial brews confirmed that this yeast, reminiscent of some Belgian varieties, contributes a richly complex piquancy to this deliciously distinctive ale with overtones of freshly ground clove and allspice.
Anchor Zymaster No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale will be available in limited release in 22 oz. bottles and on draught in select restaurants, bars, and at the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.
Sunday’s ad is for Budweiser, from the 1950s. This is a postcard showing the St. Louis brewery complex from above, but is not a photo. It’s an illustration, and these were a common way to advertise a brewery then, used not just as postcards, but as posters, calendars and other large formats that could be framed. I think they’re incredibly beautiful and wish someone would put together a coffee table book of these brewery works of art.
Friday’s ad is for Hamm’s, from 1950. Showing bottles of “Hamm’s Preferred Stock Beer,” with a single can hiding behind them, on a silver tray, this is another case of physics run amok. The can looks like it hasn’t been opened yet, and the two open bottles are each about three-quarters full, yet the two glasses on the tray are filled to the brim. So either they’re tiny glasses (although they look proportionally the right size) or where did all the beer come from? This is a typical oddity in ads from this time period.
Thursday’s ad is again for Schlitz, from 1958 (though parts of it are from previous years). Actually, it’s an advertising piece — a pamphlet or brochure — from their wonderful ad campaign, one of my all-time favorites, Schlitzerland. This piece, entitled “Schlitzerland, U.S.A., or how to entertain Schlitzfriends,” gives advice, along with songs, or how to throw various types of parties successfully. This is page twenty — the last page — with the tenth song, “Be a Schlitzer … Be Refreshed,” an original tune. Who’s thirsty now, after all that singing?