“Beer” By Humorist Josh Billings

book
You’ve probably never heard of Josh Billing, the pen name of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (April 21, 1818 – October 14, 1885). But in his day — the latter half of the 19th century — he was a pretty famous humorist and lectured throughout the United States. In terms of his fame, he was “perhaps second only to Mark Twain,” though his legacy has not endured nearly as well as Twain’s.

Josh-Billings

Shaw was born in Lanesborough, Massachusetts on April 21, 1818. His father was Henry Shaw, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1817–21, and his grandfather Samuel Shaw who also served in the U.S. Congress from 1808–1813. His uncle was John Savage, yet another Congressman.

Shaw attended Hamilton College, but was expelled in his second year for removing the clapper of the campus bell. He married Zipha E. Bradford in 1845.

Shaw worked as a farmer, coal miner, explorer, and auctioneer before he began making a living as a journalist and writer in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1858. Under the pseudonym “Josh Billings” he wrote in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom. His books include Farmers’ Allminax, Josh Billings’ Sayings, Everybody’s Friend, Choice Bits of American Wit and Josh Billings’ Trump Kards. He toured, giving lectures of his writings, which were very popular with the audiences of the day. He was also reputed to be the eponymous author of the “Uncle Ezek’s Wisdom” column in the Century Magazine.

In addition to wise sayings, he wrote numerous short, humorous pieces, including this odd one, entitled …

BEER.

I HAV finally com tew the konclusion, that lager beer iz not intoxikatin.
I hav been told so bi a german, who sed he had drank it aul nite long, just tew tri the experiment, and was obliged tew go home entirely sober in the morning. I hav seen this same man drink sixteen glasses, and if he was drunk, he was drunk in german, and noboddy could understand it. It iz proper enuff tew state, that this man kept a lager-beer saloon, and could have no object in stating what want strictly thus.
I beleaved him tew the full extent ov mi ability. I never drank but 3 glasses ov lager beer in mi life, and that made my hed untwist, as tho it was hung on the end ov a string, but i was told that it was owing tew my bile being out ov place, and I guess that it was so, for I never biled over wuss than i did when I got home that nite. Mi wife was afrade i was agoing tew die, and i was almoste afrade i shouldn’t, for it did seem az tho evrything i had ever eaten in mi life, was cuming tew the surface, and i do really beleave, if mi wife hadn’t pulled oph mi boots, just az she did, they would have cum thundering up too.
Oh, how sick i was! it was 14 years ago, and i kan taste it now.
I never had so much experience, in so short a time.
If enny man should tell me that lager beer was not intoxikating, i should beleave him; but if he should tell me that i want drunk that nite, but that my stummuk was only out ov order, i should ask him tew state over, in a few words, just how a man felt and akted when he was well set up.
If i want drunk that nite, i had sum ov the moste natural simptoms a man ever had, and keep sober.
In the fust place, it was about 80 rods from whare i drank the lager, tew my house, and i was over 2 hours on the road, and had a hole busted thru each one ov mi pantaloon kneeze, and didn’t hav enny hat, and tried tew open the door by the bell-pull, and hickupped awfully, and saw evrything in the 417 room tryin tew git round onto the back side ov me, and in setting down onto a chair, i didn’t wait quite long enuff for it tew git exactly under me, when it was going round, and i sett down a little too soon, and missed the chair by about 12 inches, and couldn’t git up quick enuff tew take the next one when it cum, and that ain’t aul; mi wife sed i waz az drunk az a beast, and az i sed before, i begun tew spit up things freely.

billings-beer-1
Illustration possibly by Thomas Nast.

If lager beer iz not intoxikating, it used me almighty mean, that i kno.
Still i hardly think lager beer iz intoxikating, for i hav been told so, and i am probably the only man living, who ever drunk enny when hiz bile want plumb.
I don’t want tew say ennything against a harmless tempranse bevridge, but if i ever drink enny more it will be with mi hands tied behind me, and mi mouth pried open.
I don’t think lager beer iz intoxikating, but if i remember right, i think it tastes to me like a glass with a handle on one side ov it, full ov soap suds that a pickle had bin put tew soak in.

The American Humorists
A photo of Billings with Mark Twain and political commentator Petroleum V. Nasby, photographed in Boston by G. M. Baker in November of 1869.

In another collection of his work, entitled “Josh Billings, Hiz Sayings: With Comic Illustrations,” published in 1865, Billings presents his definition of Lager:

Billings-lager

Craft Beer & Ale: A Parody of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham

Seuss-logo
Today, of course, is the birthday of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Almost eight years ago my kids were on a Dr. Seuss kick and we read quite a few of his books multiple times, with Green Eggs & Ham emerging as the family favorite. I was playing around with the words one night, as I often do, and decided to see if I could come up with a beer-themed parody of the book. I originally posted the results seven years ago, and here they are once again; Craft Beer & Ale, by Dr. J. Enjoy!

CRAFT BEER & ALE

Sam I am

I am Sam

Sam I am

That Sam’s upscale.
That Sam regales.
I do not like that Sam wholesale!

Do you drink
craft beer & ale?
Seuss-2

I do not drink them, Sam, they’re stale.
I do not drink
craft beer & ale.

Would you drink them
weak or strong?

I would not drink them
weak or strong.
I would not drink them, it is wrong.

I do not drink
craft beer & ale.
I do not drink them, Sam, curtail.

Would you drink them with more hops?
Would you drink them chased with schnapps?

I do not drink them
with more hops.
I do not drink them
chased with schnapps.
I do not drink them
weak or strong.
I do not drink them
all night long.
I do not drink
craft beer & ale.
I do not drink them,
Sam, you’re off the trail.

Would you drink them
in a pub?
Would you drink them
at a club?

Not in a pub.
Not at a club.
Not with more hops.
Not chased with schnapps.
I would not drink them
weak or strong.
I would not drink them, it is wrong.
I would not drink craft beer & ale.
I do not drink them, Sam — no sale.

Would you? Could you? In a bar?
Drink them! Drink them! Here they are.

I would not, could not, in a bar.

You may like them. You will see.
You may like them with some cheese!
cheese

I would not, could not with some cheese.
Not in a bar! You let me be.

I do not like them in a pub.
I do not like them at a club.
I do not like them with more hops.
I do not like them chased with schnapps.
I do not like them weak or strong.
I do not like them all night long.
I do not like craft beer & ale.
I do not like them, Sam, you’re beyond the pale.

A stein! A stein!
A stein! A stein!
Could you, would you,
in a stein?

Not in a stein! Not in a stein!
Not with some cheese! Sam! Let me be!
stein

I would not, could not, in a pub.
I could not, would not, at a club.
I will not drink them with more hops.
I will not drink them chased with schnapps.
I will not drink them weak or strong.
I will not drink them, it is wrong.
I do not like craft beer & ale.
I do not like them, Sam, you’ve gone off the rail.

Say! In a glass?
Here in a glass!
Would you, could you,
in a glass?

I would not, could not, in a glass.
glass

Would you, could you, while you dine?

I would not, could not, while I dine.
Not in a glass. Not in a stein.
Not in a bar. Not with some cheese.
I do not drink them, Sam, you see.
Not with more hops. Not in a pub.
Not chased with schnapps. Not in a club.
I will not drink them weak or strong.
I will not drink them all night long.

You do not drink
craft beer & ale?

I do not drink them,
Sam, you make me wail.

Could you, would you,
drink with Charlie?

I would not, could not,
drink with Charlie.

Would you, could you,
with more barley?

I could not, would not,
with more barley,
I will not, will not,
drink with Charlie.

I will not drink them while I dine.
I will not drink them in a stein.
Not in a glass! Not with some cheese.
Not in a bar! You let me be!
I do not drink them in a pub.
I do not drink them at a club.
I do not drink them with more hops.
I do not drink them chased with schnapps.
I do not drink them weak or strong.
I do not drink them IT IS WRONG!

I do not drink craft beer & ale!
I do not drink them, Sam — you fail.

You do not drink them. So you say.
Try them! Try them! And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

Sam! If you will let me be,
I will try them. You will see.

Seuss-1

Say! I like craft beer & ale!
I do! I like them, Sam, you prevail!
And I would drink them with more barley.
And I would drink with homebrew Charlie…

And I will drink them while I dine.
And in a glass. And in a stein.
And in a bar. And with some cheese.
They are so good, so good, you see!

So I will drink them in a pub.
And I will drink them at a club.
And I will drink them with more hops.
And I will drink them chased with schnapps.
And I will drink them weak or strong.
Say! I will drink them ALL NIGHT LONG!

I do so love
craft beer at home!
Thank you!
Thank you, Sam-Cala-Gione!

ILikeit


All artwork by Rob Davis. Thanks, Rob! All words after Theodore Seuss Geisel by Dr. J. If you’re so inclined, you can also see the original text side by side with my parody at Craft Beer & Ale Compared.

Beer In Miniature

miniature-cans
A Japanese photographer, Tatsuya Tanaka, started a daily project back in 2011, photographing a miniature diorama scene every single day, and he’s been at it now non-stop since April 20 of that year, producing (so far) 2,161 pictures. He’s posted them in calendar form, showing a month of thumbnails on a page, at his website, Miniature Calendar. He’s even collected some of them into books, which are available online.

With over 2,000 dioramas created and photographed so far, it’s probably no surprise that some of them are beer-themed. So here’s a sample of some of his photographs. These are not necessarily some of the best ones he’s done, but they’re still pretty awesome, and have something to do with beer. Go over to his website and lose yourself in the rest for a few hours. They’re pretty awesome. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
161102wed

Friday, October 10, 2014
141010fri

Saturday, September 12, 2015
150912sat

Sunday, April 13, 2014
140413sun

Friday, November 27, 2015
151127fri

Saturday, August 10, 2013
130810sat

Sunday, April 7, 2013
130407sun

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
141126wed

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
151028wed

Monday, August 4, 2014
140804mon

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
161129tue

And because life isn’t all beer and skittles, here are two more featuring other passions of mine.

Monday, October 27, 2014
141027mon

Monday, June 22, 2015
150622mon

Hulk Smashes Beer Cans

hulk
Here’s a fun series of photographs by a Japanese photographer who goes by hot kenobi on Instagram. Apparently he likes action figures, especially of super heroes, quite a bit. Both his Instagram and Twitter feed are filled with photos he’s taken of them in all sorts of situations. But lately, several of his works have involved superheroes, mostly from Marvel, having some fun with beer cans and bottles. Enjoy.

hotkenobi-superheroes-2
Hulk smashes beer cans.

hotkenobi-superheroes-1
Captain America holds a can of Asahi like a punching bag while Iron Man takes a swing at it.

hotkenobi-superheroes-4
Spider-Man takes down a beer can with his web.

hotkenobi-superheroes-3
Superman easily crushes his can, while the mortal Batman has made only a small dent in his.

hotkenobi-superheroes-5
Just to mix things up, Wolverine opens a beer bottle with his adamantium claws, as Spider-Man holds on to it so it won’t fall over and spill.

Beer In Ads #2181: Heineken Refreshes Steel Girders


Wednesday’s ad is for Heineken, from 1977. In the later 1970s, Heineken embarked on a series of ads with the tagline “Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach.” Many of the ads were in a sequential panel, or comic strip, format and they were intended to be humorous.

In this ad, a two-panel format, a man is carrying a large steel girder, balanced on his head, while carrying a full mug of beer. It’s obviously a poke at Guinness advertising, which had a similar ad with a man carrying a girder. The girder is bent in a curve, essentially drooping in the front and back, as if he was carrying something limp. But in the second panel, after he’s drank some of his beer, the girder has stiffened up and is straight as an arrow. Plus the man has gone from frowning to wearing a smile, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

2014HH4091

New Beer Words: Snotter

beer-word
Here’s yet another new word that should be added to the beer lexicon. Well, it’s not exactly a new word, but has been around at least since 1824, and most likely earlier. It showed up today in my twitter feed, from Merriam-Webster, as part of their Words at Play series. The word is snotter and has several meanings, the most common being nautical — A fitting that holds the heel of a sprit close to the mast — and others along the lines of “to snivel; to cry or sob.” And more recently snotter is used as another word for snot.

But Merriam-Webster today highlighted an older, less-common meaning of the word in their Words at Play piece entitled “‘Snotter’, ‘Groak’, and 6 More Words Associated with Bad Habits.

P1010030
Michael Jackson nosing a beer, during GABF judging in 2002.

Here’s the definition that should be folded into our beer lexicon:

Snotter

Definition: to breathe noisily

Snotter is a dialectal British word, and, as is so often the case with dialect words, carries a certain trenchant charm. It also has a variety of closely-related meanings, as it may be used to refer to snoring, sniveling, sniffing, snorting, or simply as another way to say snot.

If you’ve ever been a beer judge, or even were in a room watching other people judge beer, then you’ve most likely encountered a snotter. There’s a whole lot of noisy breathing going on during beer judging, whether it’s one long draw or a series of short, quick sniffs. Frankly, if you’re not a snotter, you’re probably not doing it correctly.

P1010017

Beer In Ads #2174: Heineken Refreshes Medieval Tapestries


Wednesday’s ad is for Heineken, from the 1970s. In the later 1970s, Heineken embarked on a series of ads with the tagline “Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach.” Many of the ads were in a sequential panel, or comic strip, format and they were intended to be humorous.

In this ad, a three-panel format, it resembles a medieval tapestry. In the first panel, and arrow’s heading straight for our ancient soldier’s head. But in the second, he has a mug of beer, which by the third panel has turned the arrow into a rubber-tipped suction cup arrow, saving his ass and causing him to smile.

Heineken-1970s-tapestry

Baby Beer Names

baby-and-beer
A few years ago I wrote an article for the Brewer’s Association I called Papa’s Got A Brand New Beer that was for Father’s Day. It featured a number of names that beer people have given their kids, celebrating their love of beer. My old friend, Adam Lambert — who I’ve known since he was in college and working part-time for SLO Brewing — recently tweeted “I think we need a blog for beer related kid names.” While setting up an entire new blog on that topic seemed too much, at least for me, I figured a page of People’s Beer Names could work.

bizarro-kids-beer-names

I can only assume there are more that I haven’t run across. If you know of any to add to this list, please let me know by commenting here. I’m especially interested in names that parents have already given, so if you know a name that’s already been bestowed on a child, please let me know who (I don’t need exact name, just something like “employee at x brewery/bar/distributor/etc.”) so I can refer to without naming names.

Here are the names I already either know of, or seem possible.


Boy’s Names

IMG_1468

  • Brett: confirmed — Brett Porter is head brewer at Goose Island/ABI, and formerly with Deschutes
  • Brewer: theoretical — appears in baby name books
  • Bud: fictionally confirmed — Bud Bundy, character on Married… with Children, named after Al Bundy’s favorite beer
  • Cooper: confirmed — son of a man with 20 years in the draft dispensing business
  • E.S.B. initials: unconfirmed — rumored story told to Jay R. Brooks for a name like “Ethan Sebastian Brown”
  • Flanders: possible — for the Belgian beer style, Flanders Red
  • Porter: confirmed — son of Jay R. Brooks, and also the son of Chris Graham, COO of MoreBeer
  • Stout: confirmed — A Facebook friend knows one


Girl’s Names

IMG_1470

  • Abbey: possible — for Abbey-type breweries
  • Amber: confirmed — daughter of Geno Acevedo, El Toro Brewing, and middle name of the daughter of Colorado beer write Dan Rabin
  • Burton: possible — for the beer-brewing city in England
  • Cascade: possible — for the hop variety*
  • Crystal: possible — for the malt variety
  • Genny: possible — for Genesee Cream Ale, nicknamed “Genny”
  • Heather: possible — for the shrub used in brewing
  • India: confirmed — A Facebook friends knows a couple whose daughter got her name at least in part because they love IPAs and homebrew
  • Iris: possible — for Cantillon Iris
  • Kate: possible — for Portsmouth Kate the Great
  • Mara: confirmed — daughter of British beer writer Martyn Cornell, Hebrew for bitter
  • Matilda: possible — for Goose Island Matilda
  • Sierra: confirmed — daughter of Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing
  • Sofie: possible — for Goose Island Sofie
  • Vienna: confirmed — daughter Jennifer Talley, Auburn Alehouse

NOTE: * – I’ve seen many suggestions for different hop variety names, but most seem somewhat forced. Understanding that a name could conceivably be anything, I only want to list names that seem reasonable or have actually been given to a kid by his or her parents. For another example, I’ve seen several mentions suggesting “Bock” or “Lambic” as names, but unless someone’s actually named their kid those, they don’t really seem that likely to me. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of suggestions like that out there on the internet. really more bad suggestions than good ones.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

ugly-xmas-sweater
In case you missed it, today was “National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.” Not surprisingly, a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters involve beer, such as one of my favorites, “Frothy the Snowman.”

Frothy-the-Snowman

But it’s not too late. There are nine more days until Xmas, plenty of time to pick up your own ugly beer sweater. I found at least thirty different beer-themed ones. You can see them all in the slideshow below. A few of them are t-shirts meant to mimic a sweater, but since their in the same spirit, I’ve included them, as well. Enjoy.

Ugly Beer Sweaters