Beer Birthday: Sam Calagione

dogfish-head-green
Today is Sam Calagione’s 47th birthday. Sam is the owner and marketing genius behind Delaware’s successful Dogfish Head Brewing. Sam’s also a great guy, and a (former?) rap singer of sorts, with his duo (along with his former head brewer Bryan Selders) the Pain Relievaz. See the bottom of this post for a couple videos of him singing after hours at Pike Brewery during the Craft Brewers Conference when it was held in Seattle. Join me in wishing Sam a very happy birthday.

sam-cal-1
Sam gives the thumbs up behind his booth at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
With Ken Grossman at a Life & Limb collaboration beer dinner.

Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam Calagione, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch
Kite & Key co-owner Jim Kirk and me with Sam, Bill Covaleski & Greg Koch.

Sam Calagione @ Rare Beer Tasting
Sam at the Rare Beer Tasting at Wynkoop during GABF 2009.

cbc06-06
Rapping at Pike Place in Seattle in 2006.

This first video is “I Got Busy with an A-B Salesgirl,” the Pain Relievaz’ first hit single.

The second video is “West Coast Poseurs,” a smackdown to the hoppy West Coast beer and brewers.

Alice Cooper And Chicken And Beer, Oh My!

chicken
Today is the birthday of American rock singer and songwriter Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948- ). Apparently early in Alice Cooper’s career, there was an incident at a 1969 show in Toronto that helped to create his bad boy persona and get him noticed in the world of rock and roll. That became known as the Chicken Incident, and there are different versions of it that have been told, with this one coming from Wikipedia.

Alice Cooper’s “shock rock” reputation apparently developed almost by accident at first. An unrehearsed stage routine involving Cooper, a feather pillow, and a live chicken garnered attention from the press; the band decided to capitalize on the tabloid sensationalism, creating in the process a new subgenre, shock rock. Cooper claims that the infamous “Chicken Incident” at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert in September 1969 was an accident. A chicken somehow made its way onto the stage into the feathers of a feather pillow they would open during Cooper’s performance, and not having any experience around farm animals, Cooper presumed that, because the chicken had wings, it would be able to fly. He picked it up and threw it out over the crowd, expecting it to fly away. The chicken instead plummeted into the first few rows occupied by wheelchair users, who reportedly proceeded to tear the bird to pieces. The next day the incident made the front page of national newspapers, and Zappa phoned Cooper and asked if the story, which reported that he had bitten off the chicken’s head and drunk its blood on stage, was true. Cooper denied the rumor, whereupon Zappa told him, “Well, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone you didn’t do it.”

Blueiskewl also has another account, with some additional context. Stemming from the infamous chicken incident, at some time in the 1970s, Cooper managed to be in the same room as Colonel Sanders — Harland David Sanders — the founder and face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a connection not lost on Cooper.

alice-cooper-kfc-1
A perplexed Colonel Sanders posing with Alice Cooper, who’s holding a beer, sometime in the 1970s.

During an interview which was taped for a showing of the film Super Duper Alice Cooper in 2014, Cooper answered a question about his meeting Colonel Sanders in the 1970s.

“Here comes this nice old man in a white suit,” said Cooper. “Suddenly I realize that this is the Hannibal Lecter of chickens. I have the death of exactly one chicken on my hands, and this guy has a score of 10 billion. Yet everyone loves this guy, and hates me for being a chicken killer! The irony of the two of us being in the same room at the same time was not lost on either me or the Colonel.”

And in yet another one by Interviewly, he talks about tying the two together.

What can you tell us about meeting Col. Sanders? Did he bring chicken?

There was an INCREDIBLE thing that happened in the early 70’s! Somebody threw a chicken onstage, I threw the chicken in the audience, the audience tore it to pieces, and then in the newspaper the next day the headline read “Alice Cooper tears chicken to pieces.” It’s the most notorious story about Alice Cooper that’s been going on forever. And I thought “it just one chicken and I didn’t even kill it, the audience killed it, so I thought why not take a picture with the mass murderer of chickens Colonel Sanders?” so to me it had a sense of humor to it. I mean, one chicken for me, seven BILLION chickens for Colonel Sanders. And yet I’m the villain. I would say if you interviewed the chickens they would be more terrified of him than me.

Unfortunately, I can find no specifics about exactly when or where this meeting took place. It looks like it was in someone’s house, or maybe a hotel, but no one seems to know for sure. Perhaps it’s better to leave it mysterious and enigmatic. If it weren’t for the photos, we may not believe it every actually happened.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what beer it was? 19702 and with a foil neck and probably label. It’s not Michelob and it doesn’t strike me as a Lowenbrau. It might be something more local or regional, but given that we don’t know the location that’s not much help. It doesn’t look like the Colonel joined Cooper for a beer.

alice-cooper-kfc-2

It’s The Most Wonderful Time To Drink Beer

seef
I first made Johann, the founder of Seef Bier, in San Francisco, when he was here to do a presentation with his importer and the Belgian Trade Delegation as he was beginning to import his beer to the U.S. And I quite like Seef, and have since I first tried it. I saw him most recently last month in Belgium, when he was on hand to pick up the gold medal for Seef he received at the Brussels Beer Challenge. At any rate, this morning he sent me this fun video of Christmas Wishes from Seefbier, a spoof of the popular Christmas carol recorded by Andy Williams, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It really is the most wonderful time to drink beer. Enjoy.

Beer Birthday: Bryan Selders

post
Today is the 41st birthday of Bryan Selders, who is the brewmaster at Post Brewing in Colorado. Up until March of 2011, he was lead brewer of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and one-half of the hip hop duo The Pain Relievaz, before leaving the industry temporarily to do web design at Inclind. But a few years ago, he came back to brewing, which was great new for everyone who love terrific beer. I first met Bryan at Hop School in Yakima, Washington years ago and he’s a terrifically talented and fun person. Join me in wishing Bryan a very happy birthday.

bryan-selders-1
Bryan with his boss Sam on picture day at the brewery.

bryan-selders-2
Bryan with some of his “fans.”

bryan-selders-3
The cover of the latest CD, Awesome = Yes, the Pain Relievaz Greatest Hits, available nowhere as far as I can tell. But below is Bryan and Sam in the video “Pinchin’ Pennies.”

Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.

Dean Biersch Buys The Twin Oaks

twin-oaks
This is more local news and will be of interest mainly to my neighbors in Sonoma County. There’s an iconic bar in Penngrove, a small town next to where I live, in Cotati. It’s even smaller than my town, but it does have a pretty cool bar called Twin Oaks, which has been there since 1924, though at least until 1933 it was simply a road house tavern and gas station. Well, maybe not simply. According to 98-year old Vivian Kehl, who worked there during prohibition when it was also a grocery store, Twin Oaks also
sold co-owner Frances Hoar’s “very good home-brewed beer that, despite Prohibition, was widely popular with local customers.” But since we moved up this way, it’s been a kick ass old bar.

twin-oaks-1

But in 2013, Twin Oaks got a new owner, Sheila Groves-Tracey, who’s been booking local bands in the North Bay for decades, and she’d transformed the bar in a concert venue, as well.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Dean Biersch bought the Twin Oak. Biersch was a co-founder of the Gordon Biersch brewpub chain but left when the restaurant side of the business was sold. More recently, he opened the HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol, and has gone on to open two additional locations, one in Sonoma and the other in Novato.

In the Press Democrat, Biersch talked about his plans for the bar:

“In my mind the Twin Oaks is a ‘heritage’ hospitality site – one of the last roadhouse, tavern, honky-honks on the Old Redwood Highway,” said Biersch, reached by phone.

He plans to keep the name and ambiance that Twin Oaks Tavern (5745 Old Redwood Hwy, Penngrove) is known for while renovating and upgrading the space to include a new dance floor, expanded outdoor patio, and new kitchen. A licensing change will allow for families and children to enter the tavern to eat. Another major draw includes a lineup of 16 draft beers.

“It’s been running for 91-years continually, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never considered (making it) another HopMonk,” he said. “Our biggest focus is to be a part of this great property, close to other craft breweries in Petaluma with a great beer, music and bar atmosphere,” Biersch added.

Twin Oaks will close briefly in January to do some minor renovations, with plans to open again in the spring, but Biersch cautions that’s he’d not planning on changing very much of the iconic old bar.

twin-oaks-2

Beer In Ads #1745: When Do Music Majors Say Budweiser?


Monday’s ad is still another one for Budweiser, again from the late 2000s. Although it’s a recent ad, it has a more vintage feel, and is part of a series that was created for college market newspapers. This one shows a caricature of composer Ludwig van Beethoven‘s head up close, and the thoughts in his head that lead him to drink a beer.

bud-when-do-music-majors

No Beer, No Work

no-beer-no-work
Today, of course, is Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada, celebrated each year on the first Monday in September since 1894, at least federally. Most countries, more than 80, celebrate something similar on May 1, and a few others on different days. In the Bahamas, for example, it’s the first Friday in June and in New Zealand, it’s celebrated the fourth Monday in October, while in Australia it’s different for every territory there. But the genesis is the same, to “honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.”

According to Wikipedia, “Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Therefore, in 1887, the United States holiday was established in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.” And you can read more about it at the Department of Labor.

Unlike today, when labor movements, and particularly unions, are demonized in the press and by the right-wing political machine, most people supported labor in some fashion for the very simply reason that a majority of people were part of the labor force. Today, thanks to effective propaganda, many people vote against their own interests. But that was not yet the case when Prohibition took effect in 1920. So many people in the labor force who were very unhappy about not being able to drink a beer after eight hours of back-breaking work started agitating for a repeal of prohibition, in some cases right from the start, since it became abundantly clear very quickly that a working life without the reward of a cold beer was going to suck.

Even before the 18th Amendment was to take effect on January 17, 1920, a previous measure passed by Congress, the Wartime Prohibition Act banned “the sale of alcoholic beverages having an alcohol content of greater than 2.75%” beginning on June 30, 1919.” The measure supposedly was “intended to save grain for the war effort,” but it actually “was passed after the armistice ending World War I was signed on November 11, 1918.” Since July 1st was the first day after alcohol was banned under the Wartime Prohibition Act, that day became known as the “Thirsty-First.”

So labor organizations in New York City began making plans to oppose and protest Prohibition, creating pins bearing their slogan “No Beer, No Work.”

no-beer-no-work-pin

In addition, they planned a walk-out for July 1 of 1919, which was reported in the New York Times on February 8, 1919.

nyt-feb8-1919

The next day, February 9, 1919, the story was picked up in Chicago and ran on the front page of The Evening World.

NoBeerNoWork-1919-Chicago

The news even made it as far as Australia’s Northern Territory Times and Gazette of Darwin, which ran the story on April 19, 1919 (reporting on events of February 8th and 9th):

NoBeerNoWork-1919-Australia

A “No beer, no work” movement has been started in New York and New Jersey. Its sponsors expect to give it a national impetus. Last night “no beer, no work” buttons were worn by all the delegates to the meeting of the Central Federation Union, one of the largest trade unions in the country. Mr. Ernest Bohn, secretary of the union, declared that labour as a whole is opposed to prohibition, and predicted for July 1st, when the nation goes “dry,” a nation-wide walk out of workmen who want beer. Asked how the amendment of the Constitution could be rendered inoperative by a ” walk-out,” Mr Bohn replied. “We can make such a protest that the Supreme Court wilt declare the amendment unconstitutional.”

But not everyone in labor agreed, as evidenced by this article in New Jersey’s Poverty Bay Herald on May 3, 1919, where 400 union delegates in the Garden State came out against the strike, although they agreed that Prohibition was a bad idea.

NoBeerNoWork-1919-NJ

But there’s not much more about these efforts in New York that I could find. I did find this paragraph, by a Columbia history student, who in his junior year received a research grant, the Edwin Robbins Prize, and used it to do his senior thesis:

“New York Organized Labor and Prohibition Resistance: The ‘No Beer, No Work’ Movement of 1919.” A forgotten moment in labor history, it was a fascinating intersection of culture, gender, and class, examining the untidy boundary between “economic” and “social” life. Some local trade-unionists co-opted a catchy slogan, “No Beer, No Work,” with the intent of fomenting a national general strike, attempting to save the saloon, galvanize class consciousness, and lead workers into a labor party. The strike more than failed; it never occurred.

Perhaps more curiously, and what started this, is I discovered that more than one person took the great slogan “No Beer, No Work,” and wrote a song about it, using it as the title. The first I found was written in 1919, by Sammy Edwards.

nbnw-0
nbnw-1
nbnw-2

And here are the lyrics to NO BEER, NO WORK, by Sammy Edwards, 1919:

1. Johnny Hymer was a miner, always on the job.
Johnny loved his lager like a sailor loves his grog.
One day, his foreman told him that this country would go dry.
John threw his tools upon the ground. You should have heard him cry:

CHORUS: “No beer, no work” will be my battle cry.
“No beer, no work” when I am feeling dry.
I never could like lemonade or bevo, for beer is all I’ll buy.
I’ll hide my self away
Until some brighter day
When I can sip the lager from a stein.
“No beer, no work” will be my battle cry
After the first of July.

2. Johnny’s steady, ever ready to give good advice,
Said, “Go back to work or there’ll be no old shoes or rice.
Be like Kipling’s hero. Bear your troubles with a grin.”
John said, “I’ll be your hero, but I’ll be no Gunga Din.”

3. “When I was a baby,” said our Johnny with a smile,
“They raised me on a bottle. Now they want to change the style.
John Barleycorn’s a friend of mine. My daddy knew him well.
He’d bring John home with him at night and ma would give him —.

Then the very same year, another song was published by Martin Ballmann, with lyrics by Anna Ballmann and Theodore Philipp, also with the title “No Beer, No Work.” Ballman’s version was published in Chicago, and is completely different than Edwards’, apart from the title, of course.

nb-nw-0
nb-nw-1
nb-nw-2
nb-nw-3

And lastly, music-wise at least, again in early 1919 (February 26 the paper is stamped), “singing character comedian” Sam Marley created original novelty lyrics for a song he called … wait for it … “No Beer, No Work.” His typed lyrics can be found in the collection of the Library of Congress.

no-beer-lyrics

Here’s a political cartoon originally from “The American Issue” of Westerville, Ohio, published August 19, 1919, drawn by an artist named Henderson.

No_Beer

And finally, American author and poet Ellis Parker Butler, wrote a poem in 1919 also using labor’s slogan as the title, which was published in the magazine “Snappy Stories.” Butler’s poem was a parody of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Excelsior.

No Beer, No Work

The shades of night was fallin’ slow
As through New York a guy did go
And nail on ev’ry barroom door
A card that this here motter bore:
‘No beer, no work.’

His brow was sad, his mouth was dry;
It was the first day of July,
And where, all parched and scorched it hung,
These words was stenciled on his tongue:
‘No beer, no work.’

‘Oh, stay,’ the maiden said, ‘and sup
This malted milk from this here cup.’
A shudder passed through that there guy,
But with a moan he made reply:
‘No beer, no work.’

At break of day, as through the town
The milkman put milk bottles down,
Onto one stoop a sort of snore
Was heard, and then was heard no more—
‘No beer, no work.’

The poor old guy plumb dead was found
And planted in the buryin’ ground,
Still graspin’ in his hand of ice
Them placards with this sad device:
‘No beer, no work.’

no-beer-no-work-mug-pin

To which I can only add. Happy Labor Day!

The Beer Barrel Polka

oktoberfest-band
76 years ago today one of the most well-known polkas, and songs about beer, The Beer Barrel Polka, reached #1 on the Billboard Pop Music Chart in 1939. It was actually written in 1927, by Czech composer Jaromír Vejvoda. It was originally an instrumental known as the Modřanská polka (“Polka of Modřany”), but in 1939, German accordionist Will Glahé renamed it “The Beer Barrel Polka” and it was his 1939 version that made it the memorable song that is still played today. After World War II, Glahé was known in America as the “Polka King.” The English lyrics were later written by Lew Brown and Wladimir Timm, both Tin Pan Alley lyricists. The song was subsequently recorded by many other bands and singers. Musicians such as the Andrews Sisters, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Liberace, the Marx Brothers, Bobby Vinton and Frankie Yankovic did their own versions, too, making it a mainstay at dances and weddings to this day.

polka-king-will-glahe

I was unaware of this local connection, but according to Wikipedia:

At San Jose Giants home games, a batter from the opposing team is designated the “beer batter.” If the San Jose pitcher strikes out that batter, beer is half price in the beer only lines for the 15 minutes immediately following the strike out. The beer batter promotion is in effect only for the first six innings of the game. The PA system plays Beer Barrel Polka whenever the beer batter comes to the plate and after every strike during the beer batter’s at-bat (through the first six innings). After the sixth inning, the beer batter becomes the apple juice batter and if he strikes out, fans get half-priced Martinelli’s apple juice.

So here is the original version that made it a hit, as performed by Will Glahé:

will_glahe_orchester_1935_auf_wangerooge
Will Glahe and his orchestra in 1935, before the Beer Barrel Polka made him famous.

Beer In Ads #1495: Most Of The Things I Like Best Begin With ‘B’


Sunday’s ad is for Rheingold Beer, from 1952. “‘Most of the Things I Like Best Begin with ‘B’ — beagles, bands, beer,’ says TV star Harry James. ‘Here’s my favorite beagle — Bugle. My favorite band instrument? You guessed it — the trumpet. As for beer …'” It seems odd they describe James as a “TV star,” when I always think of him as a trumpet player and a bandleader. Harry James’ birthday is today, born in Albany, Georgia in 1916. When I was younger, and a musician, I was a freak for big band music, and Harry James was one of the best of his time.

Rheingold-1952-harry-james

Beer In Ads #1467: After The Show, Wherever I Go, I Meet This Old Friend Of Mine


Sunday’s ad is for Rheingold Beer, from 1960. “After The Show, Wherever I Go, I Meet This Old Friend Of Mine — Rheingold Extra Dry, says the great authority on scat, Cab Calloway.” I’m not sure who the other guy looking in the mirror is, although he is sharing a beer with Cab Calloway, so he’s probably a friend or colleague. I guess the show went well?

Rheingold-1960-cab-calloway