Beer & Women By Anonymous

women
Today is the birthday of the late Alan Eames, one of the first Americans who wrote extensively about beer, especially in a serious way, mining history and culture for his topics. I never met Alan, though I talked to him on the phone a few times. When he passed away a few years ago, my friend Pete Slosberg bought his library, and donated much of it to the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, for their library. When Pete and his wife moved to San Francisco, he gave me several boxes from the library, mostly old newsletters, press releases and other miscellaneous stuff, including the poem below.

By coincidence, today is also the day when many people celebrate the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s birthday around 384 B.C.E. Nobody’s sure of the exact date that Aristotle was born, and I’m not even sure why today is used by so many sources, but it’s as good a day as any, I suppose. Anyway, I was browsing through boxes of Alan’s papers and found a Xeroxed copy of a 17th century poem from one of Eames’ books, “A Beer Drinker’s Companion,” from 1986, which also mentions Aristotle. The author is unknown, but it seemed appropriate because of the connection between Alan Eames and Aristotle and their mutual birthday today. Enjoy.

Beer and Women

While I’m at the tavern quaffing,
  Well disposed for t’other quart,
Come’s my wife to spoil my laughing,
  Telling me ’tis time to part:
Words I knew, were unavailing,
  Yet I sternly answered, No!
‘Till from motives more prevailing,
  Sitting down she treads my toe:
Such kind tokens to my thinking,
  Most emphatically prove
That the joys that flow from drinking,
  Are averse to those of love.
Farewell friends and t’other bottle,
  Since I can no longer stay,
Love more learn’d than Aristotle,
  Has, to move me, found the way.

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. Four 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 three 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.

Twas The Beer Before Christmas: A Brewery Visit From St. Nicholas

santa-sleigh-2
While not widely known, St. Nicholas, among his many patronages includes brewers. He is a patron saint of brewers. The way we think of St. Nick in America begins with the publication of Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit From St, Nicholas by Clement C. Moore in 1823. So with my tongue firmly set in my cheek, I decided to rewrite Moore’s masterpiece, moving his visit from the home to the brewery. Hoppy Christmas. Enjoy. For more detail on how this came about, and about the original poem, see below.

santa-anchor

Twas the Beer Before Christmas:
A Brewery Visit From St. Nicholas

‘Twas the beer before Christmas, when down in the brewery
Not a bottle was stirring, not a mouse dared to scurry;
The hoses were hung by the kettle with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would drink there;

The bottles, like children, nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of candi sugar fermented their heads;
The brewers, in hoodies, gave just the impression,
They’d all settled down for long winter’s session,

When outside by the tanks there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the brewery to see what was the matter.
Away to the rollup I flew like a flash,
Tore open the lock, the door flew up with a crash.

The moon on the breast of the newly-paved tarmack
Gave the lustre of stout looking velvety black,
When, what to my sobering eyes should appear,
But a miniature delivery wagon, and eight kegs of beer,

With a little old brewmaster, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than fermenting his brewers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Now, Busch! Now, Rheingold!, now, Pabst and Carling!
On, Schlitz! on, Schmidt! on, Miller and Yuengling!
To the top of the jockey box! To the top of the cask!
Now drink away! drink away! drink away the whole flask!”

As dry hopping that before the wild bittering fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, toast a drink to the sky;
So up to the brewery-top the brewers they flew,
With the wagon full of Beers, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, glasses tinkling, I heard on the roof
The toasting and drinking of each little goof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out the fermenter St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in red, from his toes to his top,
And his coveralls were soiled with spent grain and hops;
A carton of Beers he had flung on his back,
And his rubber boots squeaked as he opened his pack.

His besotted eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were all rosy, like New Glarus cherry!
His droll little mouth was beseeching our pardon,
And the beard of his chin was as white as Hoegaarden;

The end of a zwickel he held tight in one hand,
While the other held Watermelon Wheat that was canned;
He had a beer belly, that bent two stumpy legs,
That shook when he laughed, like a half-emptied keg.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old brewer,
And I drank when I saw him, for what could be truer;
A wink of his eye as he poured generous heads,
Soon gave me to know he would join us instead;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And emptied the bottles; then sat with a smirk,
And raising his glass, he gave the first toast,
Then each brewer, in turn, drank to his own riposte;

Then he sprang to his wagon, to his brewers gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a hop torpedo missile.
But I heard his last toast, ere he drove out of here,
“Hoppy Christmas to all, and to all drink good beer.”

santa-watermelon

More About the Original Poem & How This Version Came To Be

In late 2009 — a Saturday night — I read Porter and Alice, my two kids, Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Visit From St, Nicholas by Clement C. Moore. Whenever I read something I know to my children (which happens a lot, kids love repetition) the writer in me edits as I go. I change words as if it was my work, I flatter myself I’m improving it or correcting mistakes. A scatterbrained scheme was hatched as I again read them what’s probably the most famous Christmas poem.

First published in 1823, according to Wikipedia, “it is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the Anglosphere and the world.”

As I’ve written about before, St. Nick is also a Patron Saint of Brewers. So with my tongue firmly set in my cheek, I decided to rewrite Moore’s masterpiece, moving his visit from the home to the brewery.

As it happens, there are a lot of different versions of the poem, with incremental changes having been made over the years. I used, for no particular reason, an edition from Trans-Pacific Radio. Enjoy. Hoppy Christmas. You can also compare the two versions side by side, which also includes the brewers names I’ve used in previous years. The plan is to change those each year.

Feel free to share my version of the poem, with credit if you please, plus a link back here is always appreciated.

UPDATE: Georgia’s Sweetwater Brewing also did their own beer-themed version called Sweetwater’s Night Before Christmas. There’s also another beer-themed one I shared last year, Twas the Brewer’s Night Before Christmas. For many more parodies, check out the Canonical List of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Variations, which contains 849 different variations on the poem.

Four Score and Seven Beers Ago

repeal-day
Today, of course, is the 80th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition, a.k.a. Repeal Day. Below is the original resolution from Congress, signed the following day.

21st_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC

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.

prohibition-ends

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.

stay-wet

Happy Burns Night

scotland
Tonight, many fans of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, will celebrate Burns Night with a meal of Haggis, Scotch Whisky and a night of poetry reading. Though Burns was apparently a whisky drinker, I feel confident saying he probably also drank beer and there are plenty of ways you could incorporate beer and whisky into your evening. I nominate for your poetry recitation, Burns’ version of the popular folksong John Barleycorn, which is believed to have originated sometime in the 16th century. Burns wrote his in 1782, and because of his fame, is one the most oft quoted versions. Here’s how I summarized it in a post about John Barleycorn a few years ago:

Primarily an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking, the main character—the eponymous John Barleycorn—is the personification of barley who is attacked and made to suffer indignities and eventually death. These correspond roughly to the stages of barley growing and cultivation, like reaping and malting. Some scholars see the story as pagan, representing the ideology of the cycles of nature, spirits and the pagan harvest, and possibly even human sacrifice. After John Barleycorn’s death, he is resurrected as beer, bread and whisky. Some have also compared it to the Christian transubstantiation, since his body is eaten as bread and drank as beer.

Silenvs-john-barleycorn

John Barleycorn

There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and ploughed him down,
Put clods upon his head;
An’ they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerfu’ spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel armed wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve ta’en a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgelled him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed him ‘tween two stones.

And they hae ta’en his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise;

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy:
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Here’s an analysis of the poem, and below is a video of the Scottish St. Andrews Society of Greater St. Louis‘ Burns Night in 2011 and the recitation of John Barleycorn by an Allan Stewart.

And although it has little to do with Burns Night, I still love the version sung by the band Traffic, with frontman Steve Winwood, which appeared on their 1970 album John Barleycorn Must Die.

Lines Written On The Barley Corn

john-barleycorn
Here’s another interesting piece of history, an 1867 woodcut illustration of a farmer and a donkey carrying a bundle of barley corn, with a version of the John Barleycorn song engraved below. This one was printed in Dublin. There were countless versions of the English folksong, and its actual origin unknown. The version written by Scottish poet Robert Burns is probably the most well-known, though it was written around 1782, when it had been around for at least several centuries. It’s also been recorded by numerous bands, including a popular version by the English band Traffic. And finally, I wrote an overview of John Barleycorn a few years ago that includes the Burns poem.

Lines-Written-On-Barley-Corn-trimmed

Beer In Art #163: Joseph De Bray’s In Praise of Herring

art-beer
Today’s work of art is by the Dutch artist Joseph de Bray, who’s more famous as the son of Salomon de Bray, also a painter, and for essentially just one work of art, his In Praise of Herring, which is also known as Eulogy to a Herring and Still-Life in Praise of the Pickled Herring. It was completed in 1656.

Joseph_de_Bray_-_Still-Life

The painting also includes a poem, also titled In Praise of Herring by Jacob Westerbaen, who was de Bray’s brother-in-law. Unfortunately, I was also unable to find the full text of the poem, either. Say what you will about pickled herring — and I’m certainly not a fan — but if you’re going to pair it with a beverage, you can bet it’s going to be beer.

The Web Gallery of Art has this to say about the artist and his painting:

Fish still-lifes developed as a category during the seventeenth century — not an astonishing phenomenon when we recall that fishing, particularly for herring and cod, was a mainstay of the Dutch economy. A notable exponent of the type is Abraham van Beyeren. As the Dutch love for flowers, their love for seafood is proverbial. The Haarlemer Joseph de Bray, son of Salomon and brother of Jan, celebrated this taste in his picture, dated 1656, dedicated to the apotheosis of the pickled herring.

Resting behind the large, succulent herring and other objects in the painting’s foreground, there is an elaborate tablet, draped with a festoon of herrings and requisite onions, inscribed with a poem by the Remonstrant preacher and poet Jacob Westerbaen: ‘In praise of the Pickled Herring’ published in 1633. After telling of the herring’s delight to the eye, palette, and its other qualities, Westerbaen adds that consumption of it ‘Will make you apt to piss/And you will not fail/(With pardon) to shit/And ceaselessly fart…’ – proof, if it is needed, that plain profane messages are as likely embodied in Dutch paintings as spiritual ones. The painting was evidently a success. In the following year he painted another, somewhat larger still-life, now in Aachen, dedicated to the same subject. It includes the text of Westerbaen’s verse dedicated to the pickled herring, and a brief passage from his poem ‘Cupido’ on the page of an open folio accompanied by an ample display of herrings and onions.

And another source said the following:

Joseph de Bray came from a family of Haarlem painters which included the highly respected Salomon de Bray (his father) and Jan de Bray (his brother). Joseph is known for this curious still life in which the different elements — the jug, the glass of beer, the fish, the bread, the butter and the onions — are organized in a U-shape. In the centre of the composition is a manuscript where one can read a poem by Doctor Jakob Westerbaen, singing the praises of a salted and smoked herring!

To learn more about Joseph de Bray, sadly, there’s not much. There isn’t even a Wikipedia page in English for him, it instead forwards to his father’s page where Joseph is mentioned. There is, however, a short German page for him, and that translates as follows:

Son of the painter Salomon de Bray and brother of Dirck, Jacob and Jan de Bray. He was certainly younger than his brother, Jan, and older than his brother Dirck. Probably trained by his father, he specialized mainly on still life. In 1664, he died of the plague.

The earliest known evidence of his artistry is a small drawing of an Arcadian landscape dated 14th February 1650, classified because of the uncertain lines as an early work. There are only a handful of works that can be ascribed with certainty. The most famous depiction is “Still Life with a poem on the pickled herring” that has survived in several handwritten copies. Recently appeared on the international art market is another picture which is tentatively attributed to him. Besides the few oil paintings, there are some drawings, which are also brought in touch with him.

There’s not much else, beyond this article, Painting Family: The De Brays, about his family.

Talking (And Drinking) Like A Pirate

jolly_roger
As today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I thought I’d share this version of the Pirate Alphabet, which seems to be more about beer than piracy.

piraat

THE PIRATE ALPHABET

A — The favorite word of Canadian pirates, ey?
B — B stands for Beer!
C — Da ting we sails da boat on
D — Das beer! German pirates
E — ‘e needs a beer
F — ‘f only I had a beer
G — Gee, I wish I had a beer
H — H’aightch and everone one of us should have a beer
I — I wish I had a beer
J — The guy who sells us beer
K — Jay’s wife, she’s a looker!
L — Da place where bad pirates goes when dey dies!
M — ‘em folks needs beers
N — ‘nother beer
O — Oh I wish I had a beer
P — (*long pause*) Self-explanatree!
Q — A French word meaning ‘line for beer’
R — A pirate’s favorite word, Arrrh!
S — What you fall on when you drink too much beer
T — Why we beat the British
U — You should have a beer
V — Vikings! Swedish pirates
W — You and you should have a beer
X — Jay’s former wife, she no longer sells us beer
Y — Why not have a beer
Z — Ze beer! French pirates

Indianapolis Man Wins “Brew Your Cask Off” Contest

all-about-beer
A couple of weeks ago, All About Beer magazine conducted a contest, to win a trip to the “Brew Your Cask Off” beer festival hosted by Georgia’s SweetWater Brewing in Atlanta, Georgia on March 5, 2011.

The winner had to write an essay explaining what type of cask they’d brew, in 300 words or less. The winner, Matt Robinson, from Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote a poem which won him and a friend a trip to SweetWater Brewery’s cask festival.

From the press release:

Matt will also be a honorary judge for the cask ale competition and be a server for a cask made from his hilarious and precise poem.

Without a doubt one of the most unusual, and clever beer events, SweetWater Brewery’s Brew Your Cask Off features 80 different cask ales made by a full range of celebrities and not so celebrities, including dignitaries from the beer media, non-profits and retailers from the metro Atlanta beer community. All About Beer Magazine publisher Daniel Bradford participated in making a cask named Adam’s All About Beer Ale, after the SweetWater brewer who guided the actual cask ale production. The cask ale festival features a judging of all the casks with the winner getting serious bragging rights, including being brewed by SweetWater Brewery, and the loser getting the much coveted, and highly decorated golden toilet seat.

Matt Robinson will join a collection of very talented palates as a honorary judge helping chose the best cask of the festival. During the festival itself, Matt will have the pleasure of presenting a cask made from the numerous clues he provided in his winning poem.

Runners up included second place finisher Steve Forbes who wrote a passionate sensory entry. Third place went to Michael Iris who described how his hound found an unusual cache of berries that would have made a wonderful cask. Both of these entries and the other finishers can be found at All About Beer.

The winning entry is below. Enjoy.

aab-cask-off

What Cask Should An American Brew? by Matt Robinson

What cask should an American Brew?
But nothing less than around 55 I-Be-Yous!
I would add subtle flavor with East Kents
Perhaps more for hop compliment
Throw in some fuggles and American C’s
Many will say it’s the knees of bees!
Powerful flavor will be most divine
Even with a gravity around one-thousand nine
The grain bill is full of Golden Promise Malt
This great American session cask has no fault
The hydrometer reading will need to state
Around 3.55% alcohol by weight
This may sound like an English creation
With bold American style is my summation
Lovibond sounds nice somewhere near ten
Many hours with our cask we will all spend!
Wyeast numbered Nineteen Forty-Five
Will make our cask come alive!
Gravity-fed like our English brethren
Cask beer please take hold for American beer drinking heaven
Deep in the south in town called Atlanta
Our cask brings so much joy we call it Santa!
All the people will come and stand
To sing play us a song you’re the piano man!

Old King Cole Was A Beery Old Soul

goose-island-goose
Given that today is Mother Goose Day, a day to “re-appreciate the old nursery rhymes,” I couldn’t help but point out a few beer references in Mother Goose.

real-mother-goose

But as for Mother Goose herself, you can read a lot of the other Mother Goose Rhymes and many more by letter, read her possible history and Just Who Was Mother Goose?.

Old King Cole

old-king-cole

The usual Old King Cole goes like this:

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Each fiddler, he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Twee-tweedle-dee, tweedle-dee, went the fiddlers,
Oh, there’s none so rare,
As can compare
With old King Cole and his fiddlers three!

But the song takes a decidedly military turn, and these soldiers love their beer:

Now Old King Cole was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he
He called for is pipe in the middle of the night and he called for
his Gunners three.

Beer Beer Beer said the Gunners,
Merry merry men are we;
There’s none so fair as can compare with the Royal Artillery.

And the more modern version, copyrighted 1929 and as recorded by Harry Belafonte, sticks with beer:

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
Called for his pipe
And he called for his bowl
And he called for his privates three

“Beer, beer, beer”, said the privates
Merry men are we
There’s none so fair as can compare
With the Fighting Infantry

And here’s the music, too. Plus, according to Wikipedia, “the United States military also has a version in the form of a marching cadence during the 1980s and in to the present.”

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
and a merry ol’ soul was he, uh huh.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
and he called for his privates three, uh huh.
Beer! Beer! Beer! cried the private.
Brave men are we
There’s none so fair as they can compare
to the airborne infantry, uh huh.

There’s also quite a bit of controversy surrounding who exactly King Cole was, or even if existed. Read all about it at the Kyle Society or the StateMaster Encyclopedia.

king-cole-beer

Old Mother Hubbard

old-mother-hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard also had a beer element to it, though most people don’t know about it because it’s part of the long version, not the one we’re all used to.

Old Mother Hubbard;
Went to the cupboard,
To give her poor dog a bone;
But when she got there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

And that’s where it ends for most of us, but it actually goes on for another thirteen stanzas. The fifth stanza is the following:

She went to the alehouse
To get him some beer;
When she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

You’ve go to love a world when children were let it to the reality of life. You can read the entire poem on Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (it’s about halfway down on the left).