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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Beer!!!


Schoenling "Little Kings", a staple of Cincinnati brewing.

Whether we call it suds, a cold one, a draw, a brewski, a dime draft, or whatever, most of us will admit that there is not a better beverage than beer. It’s the world’s most highly consumed alcoholic beverage and third overall behind water and tea. That’s not bad considering that technically it is illegal in most places to drink the foamy stuff if you are under the age of 21.

When I was growing up in the predominantly German city of Cincinnati, it was known as one of the great beer cities. Local brews dominated sales and when I worked in a local store, I was surprised if I sold more than a couple 6 packs of national brands Budweiser or Schlitz in a week. Everyone wanted the local stuff like Hudepohl, Burger, Schoenling, Weidemann, or Bavarian. Most of those brands are gone now as the national brands drove them under through their massive advertising and deals for suppliers.

I remember when Miller High Life was a premium beer and sold great in that clear bottle. It was called “The Champagne of Bottled Beers”. It died for a while but is coming back through some good TV ads. However, it is being promoted as a lower end product kind of like Keystone’s relationship to Coors. In other words, to me it looks like they are after the shot and a beer crowd.

Speaking of that foolish practice, my friends and I used to go to town on weekends in my Air Force days to get sloshed in a hurry as there were two reasons we were there: Find a good bar with a band and meet girls. Our standard procedure was to eat a few 15 cent McDonald’s burgers, drink a few shots and wash them down with some beers. My standard order was three or four bottles of Schlitz and a couple snorts of Southern Comfort. Needless to say it created a nice buzz and occasionally I would actually meet girls if I didn’t throw up first. I still wonder how many times I danced the Twist and the Limbo in those days.

Coors is an interesting beer. Brewed in Golden, Colorado, it was known as “Colorado Kool-Aid” by many because it was very light. For years it was not sold east of the Kansas-Missouri border which brought about some stories of how people back east got the stuff. That ended when Coors went national.

In an effort to fight off beer giant Anheuser-Busch, Coors and Miller merged in 2008 and so far seem to be doing all right. Anheuser-Busch sold out to a Belgium firm which was a shocker to me. I couldn’t believe them not being owned by the Busch family of St. Louis. But, in these uncertain times, nothing should surprise us although I shake my head when I see a bottle of Budweiser now.

Today, the small micro breweries seem to be doing well with all sorts of different tasting brews. Stop by The Yard House sometime and you’ll see what I mean. Desert Ghost, CJ, Kevin and I met there a few weeks ago and enjoyed the combo of great suds and classic rock.

Life is good!

To leave a comment or to read the other 52 comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links. You will not receive a virus. Jim McAllister writes for the Arizona Republic.

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