Today’s beer video is a short interview of beer historian Ron Pattinson, the description for which reads. “Ron talks old beers with Bocky whilst sitting next to a very bad gnome. Find out about the latest Once Upon A Time Beers as well as Ron’s pursuit of the truth about porters.”
Wednesday’s ad is for Coors, from 1970. This is from the time when Coors was still only sold in the Western states, and as a result enjoyed a certain cult status in the East. I remember they had a lot of these minimalist ads, beauty shots, showing simply the Rocky Mountains, a stream of Rocky Mountain Spring Water, and a glass of beer. BUt is it just me, or does that pilsner glass have some odd bumps on it?
Tuesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1959. One of their “Know the Joy of Good Living” ads, this one features a couple skiing — is that cross country skiing? — wearing what looks like it may be matching outfits, at least based on a red sleeve. One of them is holding up a glass of beer, and all we can see is a white glove and a sleeve of red. But the bigger question is how did they get a glass of beer and pour it in the middle of Rocky Mountain nowhere? Or is the lodge right behind our view and they haven’t even left yet, or done anything to deserve a beer break yet?
Monday’s ad is for the United States Brewers Foundation, from 1941. This is one of a series of pro-industry ads that the brewer’s trade group engaged in post-prohibition to show the brewing industry in a positive light. This one shows an older farmer resting after, presumably, a long day in the fields tending to the crops. His wife, however, is still hard at work pouring him a beer. I guess it’s not yet the end of the work-day for her.
Sunday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1946. From A-B’s “Great Contributions To Taste” series, this one features Luther Burbank, the “American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science.” Although born in Massachusetts, he settled in nearby Santa Rosa, California and you can see his name everywhere here in Sonoma. Although he created over “800 strains and varieties of plants” he doesn’t seem to have had any relationship to beer, not that that stopped the advertising machinery.
Saturday’s ad is for Jacob Ruppert Beer, from maybe the 1950s. I love the tagline, “Tasting is Believing,” but even better is the line at the bottom of the ad. “Slow Aged for Finer Flavor.” BUt I don’t know about the model, dressed in a nautical blouse with a captain’s hat on her head. She looks like she’s really there beachside as the boats put out. That I’m not believing.
Perhaps it’s why I became a writer, but I’ve always been fascinated by languages, and especially different alphabets. They always seemed like secret codes, and few more so than Egyptian hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics are, of course, one of the earliest forms of written communication. They were once thought to be the oldest form, but more recent evidence seems to suggest that Sumerian writing most likely predates the Egyptian writing, and that they probably developed independently.
Not surprisingly, since beer was so important at the dawn of civilization, even though the number of individual hieroglyphics was limited (compared to modern vocabularies) there were several beer-specific hieroglyphics. How many there are is uncertain. E.A. Wallis Budge compiled a list of over 1,000 that was published in various forms between the late 1890s and 1920. But the standard reference is generally thought to be Gardiner’s Sign List, created by British Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner in the 1950s, containing around 750 common form hieroglyphics from the Middle Egyptian language.
Gardiner’s Sign List is organized into 26 categories that are assigned a letter and then a number to keep them straight. For example, “E” is for “mammals” and E6 is a “horse.”
So here are the Egyptian hieroglyphics that have to do with beer and brewing, at least from the Gardiner’s Sign List. I’ve also included different views of the same hieroglyphic, that is different ways that it was written or expressed. The Letter and Number is, of course, how each is classified in the Gardiner’s Sign List.
A37: Brewer (Variant)
M39: Basket of Grain
O50: Circular Threshing Floor Covered with Grain
O51: Heap of Grain on a Raised Mud Floor
W22: Beer Jug
W23: Beer Jug (Variant)
Friday’s ad is another one for Budweiser, this one from 1969. Showing a stubbie bottle of Budweiser bookended by a pair of actual Clydesdales bookends. My daughter would love those. As to whether “reading” the label makes the beer better and helps you “appreciate” it more, I’m not terribly convinced.