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.
I thought this was a fun little video, created by Heather Arment of Seattle, Washington, for an advent calendar of beer bottles. Her animated video is entitled The Legend Behind Beer-y Christmas. And since Advent just started on Sunday, this would be a very cool way to celebrate it.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if it ever actually was a real product or not. The website, BeeryChristmas.com is down for the count. But they obviously spent a lot on the design of the packaging, which was done by Dustin Wallace, and Arment did another video on who the beer advent box works.
Of course, in the end, they were trying to sell a cardboard box, which gives it something of a pet rock vibe.
Perhaps if they had sold them full, but it might be cool to fill one yourself. Although that is a tough commitment for a gift. It requires that the person giving it knows what to fill it with, then has to find the beer to put in it. I think that’s why the pre-packed gift boxes sell so well. All the hard work is already done. All you have to do it buy it.
But I have to confess getting one like this would be a great gift.
Hmm, I wonder if in fall of 2011 this ever saw the light of day? It looks like it didn’t but I subsequently discovered that Heather Arment was also the inventor, and she’s still trying to get them produced through Quirky, which is a website for inventors and their … ahem … quirky inventions. People submit their ideas, and get them posted on the quirky site, and people vote on them. Ideas which get enough votes go to the manufacturing stage and are created and sold, also through the Quirky website, but also at select retailers, too. It looks like her idea for the beer advent box may actually become a reality, though probably not in time for this year’s holidays, because the web page currently says that the “idea has been placed under Expert Review,” which suggests it’s passed one hurdle is on to the next step in their process. So now you know what to get me for the holidays next year.
Today’s Black Friday infographic, which for the start of the traditional holiday shopping season, is a “Holiday Gift Guide For Craft Beer Lovers” brought to you by Lets Pour, an online beverage retailer. All of the items on the gift guide are stocked by them. So instead of braving the absurd crowds today you can do all of your holiday beer shopping from the comfort of your home, with a beer in your hand.
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.
Today’s bonus infographic is all about the holiday, entitled Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving. It was created by Nationwide Bank, and shows a number of factoids about Thanksgiving, including a comparison of what was served at the first one compared to our modern meals.
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.
Today’s infographic is a flowchart to help people answer the question “What Should I Bring To Thanksgiving?” It was created by someone at Chow. But you’d better hope you’re going to a dinner at a casual friend’s house, because that’s the only way you’re getting a decent beer, or at least “bombers of Dogfish Head ALe, whatever that is.
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,
Time was when today, the Monday before Thanksgiving, was the traditional day on which Anchor’s Our Special Ale — a.k.a. their Christmas Ale — was released each year. Every year since 1975 the brewers at Anchor Brewery have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is now available from early November to mid-January.
“Here at Anchor, we strive to capture the spirit of the holiday season with our annual Christmas Ale,” said Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing. “Much like Christmas morning, everyone anxiously awaits for the day that they can finally crack open a bottle of Christmas Ale and see what this year’s ale is going to taste like. We don’t just change the recipe and the label each year for change sake, each year we are trying to improve and make the best spiced ale we can make. We think beer lovers will be pleased when they taste the complex, spiced flavors of the our 2013 Christmas Ale.”
Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. This year, Anchor Christmas Ale’s tree is the beautiful California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.
Not everyone who came to California in 1849 came in search of gold. A few came in search of trees. English botanist William Lobb was one such plant hunter. As a collector of California’s exotic flora for English nurseries, the “lynx-eyed” Lobb (born in East Cornwall in 1809; died in San Francisco in 1864) was responsible for the introduction of fifty-eight species of California plants to English gardens, including Giant Sequoia and California White Fir.
In its youth, the symmetry of California White Fir’s pyramidal form makes it the ideal Christmas tree. Its shade tolerance allows it to thrive at modest size for years amid groves of much taller Sequoias; yet it can attain heights of up to 160 feet when given the opportunity. The winged seeds of the California White Fir are collected not only by botanists, but also by mountain songbirds, chipmunks, and squirrels.
Even though for the last few years, Anchor’s Christmas Ale is released in early November, I continue to observe Anchor Christmas Day on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I know I’m a sentimental old fool, but I liked that they used to wait that long to release it, even though I understand why they had to abandon it. But some things are worth waiting for. If you agree with me, please join me in drinking a glass of this year’s seasonal release tonight. Happy Anchor Christmas Day!