Thursday’s ad is for Japanese beer, possibly Nippon Beer, and is from around the 1950s, give or take. It’s always great seeing Santa Claus holding an armful of beer bottles, but what on earth is that unholy orange soda doing there?
You may recall that earlier this year was also the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. So I was goofing around this morning and modified Lincoln’s famous speech as a toast to the end of prohibition, which I titled “Four Score and Seven Beers Ago.” A score, to save you from checking Dictionary.com is 20 years, which is how long ago the 21st Amendment was ratified. Enjoy.
Four score and seven beers ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, the end of prohibition, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are entitled to a beer.
Now we are engaged in a great social war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met in a great brewery of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of this kettle, as a final resting place for the malt who here gave its life that that beer might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should toast this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this beer. The brave malt, hops and yeast, who fermented here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add more hops or filter it. The world will little note, nor long remember what beer we drank here, but it can never forget what they brewed here. It is for us the drinkers, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished beer which they who brewed here have thus far made with noble hops. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task of drinking more beer — that from these honored beers we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of hops — that we here highly resolve that these bottles shall not have been emptied in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom to drink beer — and that this beer of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Don’t read too much into it, again I was just goofing around with the words. I suppose it could be used as a toast if you were at a brewery, but otherwise, it’s just a little spoof, nothing more.
So join me in bridging time and drinking a toast to prohibition’s end, 80 years later, and, of course, stay wet, my friends. Happy Repeal Day.
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,