Today’s infographic, since today is the day in 1933 when the 21st Amendment passed, repealing Prohibition, is one I’ve posted before, entitled Prohibition Did What?! It goes in to many of the effects that Prohibition had on the country, none of them particularly positive.
Wednesday’s ad is another for Rheingold Beer, this one from 1955, and features Miss Rheingold from that year, Nancy Woodruff. In this ad, she’s out caroling and brought a buddy along to hold the lamp so she could read the music in the cold winter night. He looks like he’s paying attention to the music, but she appears to be looking at us, while ignoring the book of Christmas carols she’s holding. Maybe she has them all memorized?
Tuesday’s ad is for Rheingold Beer, from 1944, and features Miss Rheingold from that year, Jane House. It looks like she’s wearing a tree skirt for a dress and best I can figure she’d essentially holding up a sign (or perhaps a calendar?) saying “Seasons Greetings,” which is also the tagline for the ad. Seasons Greetings? Isn’t this ad over fifty years before the wingnuts started claiming there was a war on Christmas if you didn’t say Merry Christmas? Where was Bill O’Reilly when this was going down? Seasons Greetings everybody.
Monday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1958, and begins Holiday Time, when we’ll feature holiday ads throughout the month. This one is from Bud’s “Where There’s Life” series and shows a happy woman whose face is bright and aglow (light from the yule log perhaps?) holding an open jewelry box. Was the necklace she’s wearing possibly what had been in the box only moments before? An unseen is pouring her a fresh beer, while a large ornament just behind her is shaped like a watch and reads “Holiday Time.” What do you think Bud was trying to say in this ad? Subtle.
Friday’s ad is for Schaefer, from 1948. If you’re a fan of “Blazing Saddles,” you’ll recall that Harvey Korman’s character was “Hedley Lamarr,” and in the film everybody kept calling him “Hedy” enough that he was always correcting them in an exasperating way. After a conversation with Governor William J. Le Petomane (played by director/writer Mel Brooks), Hedley corrects him. “It’s not Hedy, it’s Hedley. Hedley Lamarr.” Brooks replies. “What the hell are you worried about? This is 1874. You’ll be able to sue “her.” Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born actress who came to Hollywood in 1936. A few years later she patented a “Secret Communication System,” for a process known as “frequency hopping,” but which today is more often known as “spread spectrum” and is used now to make mobile phones and the internet work, specifically “Bluetooth, COFDM (used in Wi-Fi network connections), and CDMA (used in some cordless and wireless telephones).” But in the 1940s, she also did ads for Schaefer beer.
Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1956. It was a Thanksgiving ad for Schlitz, starting with the ad copy “Lighten the Fun!” And how do we lighten the fun, you may be wondering. Well, “For Thanksgiving … add Schlitz!” Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Hmm, I also wonder what whoever wins the wishbone will wish for? Happy Thanksgiving.
Thirty years ago, in November 1983, Michael Jackson wrote an article for the Washington Post entitled “Beer at the Thanksgiving Table.” It was subtitled “Wine is acceptable for this annual feast, but what if you prefer beer?” It was apparently one of his first pieces on the topic of pairing beer and food.
The article contains one of my favorite quotes by Michael:
To give thanks is a matter of joy; should that be confined by excessive sobriety? Better still, Thanksgiving is an annual opportunity to refresh old friendships and make new ones, in which matter both the ritual and effect of a shared glass is the best tie.
When you consider this was written when Sierra Nevada was still a very small brewery, New Albion had just closed and Mendocino Brewing had only been founded the same year, it’s a remarkable time piece. Nobody was even thinking about pairing beer with food yet. Now we take it for granted. But back then most people still needed convincing. This is great reminder of how far we’ve come and how much of debt of thanks we owe to Michael.
Here’s Michael’s suggested general pairing suggestions from thirty years ago:
As an aperitif: Dry, hoppy beers with some bitterness. Try New Amsterdam (from New York) or Anchor Steam (San Francisco).
With fish: Pilsners. Almost all of the well-known American beers are loosely of this style. So are the best-known imported brands, like Heineken and Carlsberg. Czech and German Pilsners tend to be drier, and therefore go especially well with the more oily varieties of fish.
Shellfish: Dry stouts or porters.
Smoked meats, sausages: If you can find it, the smoked Rauchbier of Bamberg, Germany. Or a German altbier or weizenbeier.
Pasta: The less spicy pasta dishes of Northern Italy go quite well with the Munich Dark type of beer. It is, after all, commonly served with the admittedly-heavier noodle dishes of Germany.
Fowl: Munich Light with turkey; perhaps the slightly less sweet Dortmunder style might go better with chicken.
Red Meat: English Pale Ale.
Game: Scottish ale, which is heavier.
But take the time to go back and read the entire article. And give thanks that nobody looks at you funny when you bring beer to the Thanksgiving meal. As is my personal tradition, I’m enjoying some Anchor Christmas Ale with my meal, something I’ve been doing for roughly twenty-five years. Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from November 1948. Part of their “Great Contributions to Good Taste” series, according to the story, it was poor French peasants who discovered that turkeys could be raised and eaten and they became wildly popular there, when news travelled back to the colonies and the rest, as they say, is history. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow,
Tuesday’s ad is for Blatz, from 1946. Showing a wax seal having just been applied to a document, and the stamp itself, the ad includes the following ad copy. “Public approval is never won forever … It’s seal must be earned anew by every batch you brew.” And at the bottom: “Blatz, Brewer of Better Beer ….”
Monday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1947. With the tagline “Beer Is As Old As History,” the ad shows scenes from the beginning of civilization to the the present, with select points of history in between. I actually have an original copy of the ad framed in my office. It’s a pretty grandiose ad, especially with the conceit of the Budweiser and glass as the suggested result of all that history.