Monday’s ad is for Bass Ale, from 1940. Bass Ale was one of the beers that helped push me away from the regional lagers I grew up drinking in Eastern Pennsylvania, and toward more flavorful beers. Jazz clubs in New York City in the late 1970s frequently carried Bass, and I really liked how different it tasted, compared to what I was used to. In this ad, another one from the “Great Stuff This Bass” series,” they’re also employing another regular character from this time period, “Bill Sticker,” who in this ad managed to put a banner on the back of one of the men in a boxing match. Really, the two boxers look tangled up so maybe the banner’s actually on both of them. I guess they’re so engrossed in pummeling each other that they didn’t notice?
Archives for September 25, 2017
Today is the birthday of James Moffat (September 25, 1808-April 4, 1863). He was the son of John Moffat, and helped his father in founding one of the earliest breweries in Buffalo, New York in 1833. It was later called the James Moffat Brewery, and after that the Moffat & Service Brewery. His son, who took over after James died, renamed it the Henry C. Moffat Brewery in 1890, which was closed by Prohibition in 1920. It briefly reopened after repeal, in 1934, as Moffat’s Ale Brewery, but closed for good the same year.
This account of his brewery is from “100 Years of Brewing,” published over 40 years after he died:
According to John & Dave’s Buffalo Brewing History, John Moffat, along with his son James, acquired what was Buffalo’s second brewery and named it the Moffat Brewery.
Kane, Peacock and Relay brewery was short lived however and a 1909 article in the Buffalo Evening Times indicates John Moffat and his son James purchased the brewing operation around 1833. Also, the 1836 Buffalo City Directory lists Moffat as a brewer at that location. The 1839 Directory lists James Moffat & Co. as a “Brewery, Soap and Candle Factory”. The Moffat Brewery continued in operation until son James died and it was sold to Arthur Fox and became the Fox and Williams Brewery. In 1876 it was sold back to the Moffat family and continued in operation at the same location until the advent of Prohibition forced their closure in 1920. After Prohibition the Phoenix Brewery continued brewing “Moffats Pale Ale” through an agreement with the Moffat family.
And “History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Volume 2,” published in 1884, has this to say about Buffalo’s earliest brewers, including Moffat:
Today is the 79th birthday of Bill Owens, who founded one of California (and America’s) earliest brewpubs, Buffalo Bill’s, in Hayward, California. The brewpub opened in 1983, but in 1994 he sold it to his then-brewer, Geoff Harries, who still owns and operates it today. Bill also founded American Brewer magazine, which today is owned by Jim Dorsch, Jamie Magee and Bill Metzger. Bill’s also an accomplished photographer, and has published several volumes of his photos, the most famous of which is Suburbia. More recently, he’s been involved in micro-distilling, in 2003 founding the American Distilling Institute. Please join me in wishing Bill a very happy birthday.
Bill Owens’ early book — more of a pamphlet really — on How to Build a Small Brewery.
Today is the birthday of Shel Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999). He “was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children’s books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in some works. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies. He was the recipient of two Grammy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee.” While he’s probably best known for his children’s books, he also created a number of works for adults, drawings for Playboy, poems, and songs, too.
One of his songs was recorded by folk singer Bob Gibson in 1995 and appeared on his album entitled “Makin’ A Mess: Bob Gibson Sings Shel Silverstein.” That song was called “Making a Mess (of Commercial Success).” It’s about the time he and a friend were extras on a television commercial for low-calorie light beer. I don’t know if the story’s true, but it’s pretty funny. Here are the lyrics:
“”There was me and Jack working Duval Street
singing our songs by the dock
When this TV director came looking for extras
said he needed our pretty faces right down the block
They were making some kind of commercial
About the beer we like here in Key West
And we had to do was go sit on a stool
and do what we really do best
He said they were paying a C-note
We really needed the bread
So we pointed our feet to that bar down the street
lit up like a Hollywood set
Now there were camera and cables on every table
and we were grinning from ear to ear
It was almost like stealin’ that’s how we were feelin’
when they passed ’round these big mugs of beer
They said “Now, boys, just try to act thirsty
and sit down here right at the bar
and just try to pretend that you’re out on a bender…”
I said Buddy we’re with you so far
They gave me the line “It’s less fillin'”
and Jack got the line “great taste”
and they yelled ‘rehearsal’ and we started acting
with beer foam all over our face
They yelled take 1 and filled up our glasses
Stuck a big busty blonde on my lap
Jack said “tastes great” and I said less filling
This acting stuff sure is a snap
Well I thought they would hand us an Oscar
when the director said “beautiful, kids”
“But can you give me more soul?”
I said hell, let her roll and they shouted take 2 and we did
Well those hot lights sure kept us sweatin’
and the beer got messed up with the lines
Jack said it tastes fillin’, I said gets you drunker
the director yells take 29!”
And here’s the song itself, sung by Bob Gibson:
Today is the 73rd birthday of Charles Finkel, one of the pioneers of the better beer movement. He founded Merchant du Vin in 1978, the company responsible for importing a number of word-class beers to the U.S., including a few favorites of mind: Traquair, Ayinger, Westmalle, Rochefort and Orval. He also started the Seattle brewpub, Pike Brewing , in 1989, where Fal Allen was head brewer there from 1990-96. I first met Charlie around 1996 during a visit to Seattle. The following year, the Finkels sold both Pike Brewing and Merchant du Vin. In 2006, they bought back Pike Brewing. In Chicago for CBC a couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend an evening out and about town with the Finkels, and recently I wrote a profile of them for Beer Connoisseur. Charlie and his wife Rose Ann are some of my favorite people in the industry. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.
Charlie at CBC in Chicago a few years ago, with Mark Blasingame, owner of the Map Room.