Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Heck of a Recession Beer

"When you're out of Schlitz, dum-dum-dum-dum, you're out of beer," was a legendary ad campaign in the era of JFK and LBJ and physicians recommending Camel cigarettes on the then new fangled color television sets. Times were good and Schlitz was one of the largest selling beers in these here United States.

I was about seven or eight and my job - on certain and special Sundays - was to fetch the Schlitz when my uncle drove down from Cleveland. These were the days when the NFL was able to block the local broadcast of the game if the stadium did not sell out. Old Municipal Stadium packed in eighty thousand plus which meant that two or three times each Autumn my uncle Buzz (a hard earned nickname) drove his blood red Oldsmobile, with the Rocket-88 motor, down from Rocky River to our house to watch the beloved Brownies with my Dad and I and the immortals - Dr. Frank Ryan, Paul Warfield, Dick Mojelski and - of course - Jimmy Brown!

Good times all around.

For Schlitz, times were very good as well. In fact, the company built the largest brewery in the world, in North Carolina, to keep up with demand for "the beer that made Milwaukee famous." From its peak in 1957, when it was the largest brewer in the United States, Schlitz began a fifteen year slide that was triggered by a crippling strike that in turn led to a disastrous recipe change. Caught up during the long strike with insufficient product, the brewery decided to quicken the brewing process to make up for beer sales lost to the strike. The new ingredients and brewing short cuts resulted in a thin, tasteless brew that had a nasty tendency to go skunky.

The error was fatally compounded when Schlitz attempted to use intensive marketing to make up for what was essentially bad beer. Schlitz's hired the Leo Burnett group to develop a new ad campaign. The Burnett team dumped Schlitz's iconic "Gusto" themed ads for a "Drink Schlitz or I'll Kill You!" message. The ads were horrible, they were actually worse than horrible and on top of that they were promoting a beer that was flat, often skunked and always thin and watery.

The company nose dived. The brand was temporarily rescued by Stroh's but that was like getting snagged on a tree limb after falling half way down the face of a cliff. Stroh's had a number of its own problems and soon went under and was bought, in turn, by Pabst. Schlitz has spent the ensuing decades, as a definite off-brand, a cheap beer typically occupying the far distant corner of the grocer's cold shelf, appealing only to the insanely loyal or, more likely, those with only four bucks and change to spend on a six pack.

Now, Pabst doesn't brew beer, it manages and markets beer brands. Over the last decade it has reformulated and relaunched the Pabst brand and turned it into a trendy counter to "beer snob" brews. It's damn good beer. I got turned on to it when my local micro-brewer shared that it is the beer he drinks at home. The late great brewer Karl Stauss orchestrated a brilliant reformulation and relaunch of Pabst Blue Ribbon and it has become one of the truly positive stories in macro-brewing over the last five years. The Strauss-inspired approach of going back to basics, reviving a legacy beer recipe with quality ingredients and a more patient brewing processing has certainly worked with PBR.

This approach is now being bestowed upon the Schlitz brand and with similar results. My local beer store can't keep it in stock. Customers are requested to only buy a single six pack. The packaging is definitely retro, with the bold maroon Schlitz logo and a notation that this is the classic 1960's recipe. The beer is balanced, with a mild hop note and a reasonably malty base. It finishes crisply and pairs well with burgers, fish and spicy foods. It retains the one essential positive of mainstream American lagers - it won't bloat. You can have two, three or more and you don't feel like an overly inflated Bullwinkle in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

This is a good story to tell. Pabst brings Schlitz back from the dead, with a product that is positioned somewhere under a Pilsner Urquell or Sam Adams, but definitely above Bud or Miller. At $5.99, it is one heck of a recession beer and another sip reminds me that I'm saving a couple of bucks per sixer! I'm buying an American made product and I am rewarding a macro-brewer for – finally - doing the right thing! It’s a good feeling to go with a good beer.

Now this could be a great story to tell, but alas, there is one small hitch. As I mentioned before, Pabst does not brew beer. This bottle of Schlitz I'm sipping from right now was - in fact - brewed under contract by SAB Miller. Ironically, it is brewed in Miller's Eden, NC facility which is just down Route 158 from the brewery that Schlitz built back in the 1960's when it was in expansion mode. Bottom line, from an economics point of view, some of that six bucks I paid for this carton of beer is going offshore to the South African conglomerate.

Now, I'm a free trade kinda guy, most of the time at least, but I really wish I could claim that this was a US product through and through. In these recessionary times, I would much prefer that every red cent spent on my barley-jones stayed here in the States. It may take another cold Schlitz to cement this notion, but I'm thinking I can live with this - a very good story, just shy of being a great one.

Perhaps as Schlitz sales continue to ratchet up, the Pabst bean counters in suburban Chicago can figure out a way to move production into American hands. Doesn't Sam Adams own the old Hudepohl brewery outside of Cincinnati? That’s a really big facility, wonder if those boys from Boston are utilizing all that capacity? Yeah, this will definitely take another bottle of Schlitz to ponder!


the Bier Kaiser

Sunday, September 21, 2008

America's Oldest Bars

Pleasantly surprised is how I would gauge my reaction to the list of America's oldest bars. I had no idea that at least one pre-1700 drinking establishments had somehow survived the ravages of wars, Prohibition and the ongoing pressures of capitalism. There are actually multiple such lists on the net, but this one seems to me to be the best researched and most comprehensive.

The list comes from the Brookston Beer Bulletin and its author known simply as J. I salute J for putting this together and can only imagine how much time it took to do the research and vetting. J's original posting can be seen here:

Any such list of American bars would need to account for the fact that none could legally serve during the Prohibition years, so for those pedantic types, I would view this list as being inclusive of establishments that were originated as taverns, bars or saloons and are still in existence today serving some type of alcoholic beverage, preferably beer!

The list follows and I would greatly welcome any updates or comments on these, or other establishments, that may qualify. I'd like to expand this list from forty one to fifty, to - if for no other reason - round things out:
  1. White Horse Tavern; Newport, RI (1673)
  2. Jessop’s Tavern; New Castle, DE (1724)
  3. Red Fox Inn; Middleburg, VA (1728)
  4. General Lafayette Inn & Brewery; Lafayette Hill, PA (1732)
  5. Fraunces Tavern, New York, NY (1762)
  6. Jean Lafittes Blacksmith Shop; New Orleans, LA (1775)
  7. Horse You Came In On; Baltimore, MD (1775)
  8. Griswold Inn; Essex, CT (1776)
  9. The Tavern; Abingdon, VA (1779)
  10. The Union Hotel (a.k.a. The Allentown Hotel, now DiMattias Restaurant & Lounge);
    Allentown, NJ (1779)
  11. The Warren Tavern; Charlestown, MA (1780)
  12. Gadsby’s Tavern; Alexandria, VA (1785)
  13. Wiggins Tavern; Northampton, MA (1786)
    [tavern moved from Hopkinton, New Hampshire]
  14. Bell In Hand; Boston, MA (1795)
  15. Old Absinthe House; New Orleans, LA (1815, possibly 1807)
  16. Broadway Hotel & Tavern; Madison, IN (1834)
  17. Knickerbocker Saloon; Lafayette, IN (1835)
  18. The Old Tavern; Niles, MI (1835)
  19. Spread Eagle Tavern & Inn; Hanoverton, OH (1837)
  20. Ye Olde Trail Tavern; Yellow Springs, OH (1848)
  21. The Slippery Noodle; Indianapolis, IN (1850) [Wikipedia]
  22. Deer Park Tavern; Newark, DE (1851)
    [occupying the same spot as St. Patrick’s Inn, founded in 1747, but burned down in 1848]
  23. Breitbach’s Country Dining; Balltown, IA (1852)
  24. Genoa Bar & Saloon; Genoa, NV (1853) [new]
  25. McSorley’s Old Ale House; New York, NY (1854)
  26. Anvil Restaurant & Saloon; Ste. Genevieve, MO (1855)
  27. Old Ebbitt Grill; Washington, DC (1856)
  28. Tujague’s; New Orleans, LA (1856)
  29. McGillin’s Olde Ale House; Philadelphia, PA (1860)
  30. Arnold’s Bar and Grill; Cincinnati, OH (1861)
  31. The Saloon; San Francisco, CA (1861)
  32. Waterfront Hotel; Baltimore, MD (1861; building built in 1771)
  33. The Little Shamrock; San Francisco, CA (1863)
  34. Pete’s Tavern; New York, NY (1864)
  35. Schloz Garten; Austin, TX (1866)
  36. The Original Oyster House; Pittsburgh, PA (1870)
    [Bear Tavern also opened on same site in 1827]
  37. Ulrich’s Tavern; Buffalo, NY (1870)
  38. Ear Inn; New York, NY (1874)
  39. Shooting Star Saloon; Hunstsville, UT (1879)
  40. White Horse Tavern; New York, NY (1880)
  41. P.J. Clarke’s; New York, NY (1884)

the Bier Kaiser
Oops - I stand corrected!

Dick Stevens, owner of the the Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus in Columbus Ohio has pulled his line of t-shirts, for sale on premises, that bear a quote or, to be more precise, a misquote concerning beer widely attributed to that printer, scientist, author and Founding Father - Benjamin Franklin. Stevens' inspiration comes from the research and work of brewing historian Bob Skilnik that provides convincing proof that Franklin was writing not about beer or ale, but about rain and its nourishing affect on grapes, and therefore - ultimately - on wine.

In a previous posting, I had cited this Franklin quote - "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - as part of my attempt to provide a near inclusive listing of all beer and drinking quotes. In the pursuit of accuracy, I will therefore follow Stevens' lead and amend my previous posting for this particular quote. It is still a drinking quote, but certainly not a beer or ale quote. Kudos to Dick Stevens for taking this stand (and monetary loss) in the name of historical accuracy!

Stevens summarizes his actions by saying,

We do everything we can to serve up the best tasting beers at the Elevator (and we are) always striving to brew them true to style. To then sell or give away t-shirts that quote a historical untruth is simply not our style. I hope that we can set the record straight about this little white lie that has been repeated for years. I have no doubt that ole Ben enjoyed a tankard or two of beer with friends and associates, but this beer quote, while well-meaning, is inaccurate.

But Stevens doesn't stop there, he adds,

To all our customers who have purchased the erroneously quoted Ben Franklin t-shirts, we do apologize and ask that they return the t-shirts to the Elevator where we will immediately exchange it for a new t-shirt, free of charge. Let me emphasize that this recall will entail absolutely no cost to our loyal customers, and help them save face.
So what in fact did Franklin say? The historian, Bob Skilnik was able to locate a letter from Franklin to the French economist André Morellet, circa 1779, wherein Franklin reveals his unique perspective on biblical history and wine's role therein. This is a fascinating quote and reveals much about Franklin's religious views and his near devotion to the role of wine in human society, he writes:


You have often enlivened me, my dear friend, by your excellent drinking-songs; in return, i beg to edify you by some Christian, moral, and philosophical reflections upon the same subject.

In vino veritas, says the wise man, --"Truth is in wine." Before the days of Noah, then, men having nothing but water to drink, could not discover the truth. Thus they went astray, became abominably wicked, and were justly exterminated by "water", which they loved to drink.

The good man Noah, seeing that through this pernicious beverage all his contemporaries had perished, took it in aversion; and to quench his thirst God created the vine, and revealed to him the means of converting its fruit into wine. By means of this liquor he discovered numberless important truths; so that ever since this time the word to "divine" has been in common use, signifying originally, "to discover by means of" WINE (VIN). Thus the patriarch Joseph took upon himself to "divine" by means of a cup or glass of wine, a liquor which obtained this name to show that it was not of human but "divine" invention (another proof of the "antiquity" of the French language, in opposition to M. Geebelin); nay, since that time, all things of peculiar excellence, even the Deities themselves, have been called "Divine" or Di"vin"ities.

We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage of Cana [sic] as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. The miracle in question was only performed to hasten the operations, under circumstances of present necessity, which required it.

It is true that God has also instructed man to reduce wine into water. But into what sort of water? -- "Water of Life." ("Eaude Vie.") And this, than man may be able upon occasion to perform the miracle of Cana [sic], and convert common water into that excellent species of wine which we call "punch." My Christian brother, be kind and benevolent like God, and do not spoil this good drink.

He made wine to gladden the hear of man; do not, therefore when at table you see your neighbor pour wine into his glass, be eager to mingle water with it. Why should you drown "truth"? It is probable that your neighbor knows better than you what suits him. perhaps he does no like water; perhaps he would only put in a few drops for fashion's sake; perhaps he does not wish any one to observe how little he puts in his glass. Do not, then offer water, except to children; it is a mistaken piece of politeness, and often very inconvenient. I give you this hint as a man of the world; and I will finish as I began, like a good Christian, in making a religious observation of high importance, taken from the Holy Scriptures. I mean that the apostle counselled [sic] Timothy very seriously to put wine into his water for the sake of his health; but that no one of the apostles or holy fathers ever recommended "putting water to

P.S. To confirm still more your piety and gratitude to Divine Providence, reflect upon the situation which it has given to the "elbow". You see (Figures 1 and 2) in animals, who are intended to drink the waters that flow upon the earth, that if they have long legs, they have also a long neck, so that they can get at their drink without kneeling down. But man, who was destined to drink wine, must be able to raise the glass to his mouth. If the elbow had been placed nearer the hand (as in Figure 3), the part in advance would have been too short to bring the glass up to the mouth; and if it had been placed nearer the shoulder, (as in Figure 4) that part would have been so long that it would have carried the wine far beyond the mouth. But the actual situation, (represented in Figure 5), we are enabled to drink at our ease, the glass going exactly to the mouth. Let us, then, with the glass in hand, adore this benevolent wisdom; -- let us adore and drink!

the Beer Kaiser

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tasty Alternative to Microbrewed Ales

The Columbus Brewing Company (CBC) located in the Brewery District of Columbus, Ohio has been serving a solid variety of ale and lagers for almost a decade. The head brewer, Eric Bean, honed his brewing skills at Gordon Biersch and brought to CBC some fresh ideas in terms of beer styles and beer-food pairings. The results, of late, have been nothing short of spectacular. Eric's pilgrimage, this last Spring, to the Lager Mecca of the world - Bamberg Germany - has provided the inspiration, and brewing techniques, to produce a truly superior Bavarian Lager, or Kellerbier (cellar beer).

A Kellerbier derives its name from its original brewing process. Prior to refrigeration, lagers were fermented in underground cellars in order to keep them cool enough to promote fermentation. Indeed 'Lager' is the German word for refrigeration or cold storage. Lager yeast does its thing best at a range of 45-50 F. At temperatures above 60-65 F, these same yeasts tend to produce esters that are not characteristic to style. So lagering literally means the (relatively) cold storage of beer during fermentation.

Eric tapped this beer something shy of three weeks ago and it seems to be altering the fundamentals of my living routine. Are these the first signs of an addiction? Having just made my fourth sojourn down to the CBC, a 25 mile round trip, last night; I can validate that the CBC's Kellerbier is not only faithful to the Bavarian Lager style, more importantly it is a beer that just doesn't stop giving drinking pleasure. Every sip is a reward. True to style, it is unfiltered and lightly carbonated. Malty without being heavy, the secret to this beer is the balance.

Thank God for growlers and thank-you Eric Bean for bringing a truly remarkable brew here to the heart of the Midwest. Those bloody Belgian bastards may have wrested Anheuser-Busch away from us, but if they mess with CBC, I'll go to war!

Take a virtual tour of the CBC at:

the Bier Kaiser

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brewers Association - 2008 Beer Style Guidelines

In February of this year, the Brewers Association (BA) published their updated guidelines which provide an "official" taxonomy covering all beer styles. As of the 2008 update, 139 separate beer styles are recognized by this governing body. The association has been publishing this inventory annually since 1979 with Charlie Papazian, Brewers Association president, managing the effort since 1993.

This list does for zymurgy (or zymology) what Linneaus did for biology. Linneaus devised the initial taxonomy of all living things when he published his scientific classification of organisms in 1795. As you may recall from high school science, Linneaus, and his successors, came up with the top level classification, termed 'Kingdoms' which defined plants, animals, and somewhat later with the help of the microscope, bacteria as the major groupings of living organisms. Similarly the BA has defined Ales, Lagers and Hybrids as their highest level classification of beers.

The dispersion of beers under these three 'Kingdoms' reflects the history of brewing. Ales, the oldest beer style account for more than half of all beers styles. Next comes, Lagers and then Hybrids with each accounting for around twenty percent of total beer styles. The numerical break-out is as follows:
> Ales - 75
> Lagers - 34
> Hybrids - 30

Looking at how these beer styles from a geographic perspective, based on place of origin, one is reminded that the BA is, after all, an American organization. Approximately one-fourth of BA's beer styles are categorized as American or North American. Next comes Germany which accounts for about one-fifth of the beer styles. The numerical break-out is as follows:
> North American - 37
> Germanic - 31
> UK/Irish - 27
> Belgian/French - 15

New for 2008 are eleven styles which give greater representation to the craft brewing segment of the industry. As part of this effort, five styles of barrel-aged beers were added to BA's style guidelines. This emphasis on greater recognition of craft brewing was explained by BA president Charlie Papazian, "These guidelines help to illustrate the growth of craft brewers in the United States and also offer insight and a foundation for helping appreciate the hundreds of beer types brewed for the beer lover'"

BA Style Guideline updates for 2008:

(1) Fresh Hop Ale: ales which are hopped exclusively with fresh and un-dried ("wet") hops.

(2) American-Belgo Styles Ales: these beers portray the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in fruity and big Belgian-style ales.

(3) Leipzig-Style Göse: the original versions of this style of beer were spontaneously fermented German ales, similarly to Belgian-style gueuze or lambic beers.

(4) Belgian-Style Blonde Ale: Belgian-style blonde ales are characterized by low yet evident hop bitterness, flavor and sometimes aroma.

(5) Australasian-Style Pale Ale: this style is a mild, pale, light-bodied ale with a color varying from light to amber. Hop bitterness and flavor range from very low to low.

(6) Out of Category-Traditionally Brewed Beers: there are many excellent and popular beers that are brewed with traditional ingredients and processes, yet their character may vary from styles currently defined or included in these guidelines.

(7) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer: a wood- or barrel-aged beer is any lager, ale or hybrid, either a traditional style or a unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

(8) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber Beer: any classic style or unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

(9) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Dark Beer: any classic style or unique experimental style of dark beer beer can be wood or barrel-aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

(10) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer: any strong classic style or unique, experimental style of beer can bee wood or barrel-aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

(11) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer: a wood- or barrel- aged beer is any lager, ale, or hybrid beer, either a traditional style or a unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood and has developed a bacterial induced natural acidity.

The full version of the 2008 Brewers Association Beer Styles Guidelines is available at: ... e_2008.pdf

the Bier Kaiser

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

At Least He Died Happy: Archeologists Unearth Skeleton Clutching a PINT OF BEER:

Reprint from The Daily Mail, 17 March 2008

A 4,000-year-old skeleton has been unearthed by experts working on building Britain's biggest ever greenhouse - clutching a pint of beer.

The Bronze Age man's body was dug up by archaeologists who were called in after a team of builders working on the construction of the giant Thanet Earth project in Monkton, Kent, uncovered the skeleton last week.

According to experts the skeleton - that of a high status male - was found in shallow grave holding a "type of beer mug".

Marion Green, of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said that the find last week was one of the best preserved Bronze Age skeletons she had ever seen.

She added: "It is a beautifully decorated pot which could have been used as a type of beer mug."

Tests on beer mugs from other sites show that Bronze Age man was an ale lover - making the booze from grain.

Thanet Earth spokeswoman Judy Whittaker said: "There have been several interesting finds, but this is the most exciting.

"The man will eventually go on display at a museum."

The giant Thanet Earth greenhouse - the size of 70 football pitches - will be used to grow peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes for supermarket shoppers.

A team of 30 archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust have been working on areas of the 200-acre site.

The first part of the giant project is due to be built in three weeks.

the Bier Kaiser

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mostly memorable quotations concerning beer and drinking from the famous,:near-famous, soon-to-be famous and completely unknown...:

Irish Drinking Quotes
"An Irishman is the only man in the world who will step over the bodies of a dozen naked women to get to a bottle of stout."

"May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out."
--Old Irish Blessing

"May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."
--Old Irish Toast

“What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.”
--Irish proverb

“I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society, except that which makes the road safer, the beer stronger, old men and women warmer in the winter, and happier in the summer.”
--Brendan Behan, Irish novelist

“When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse is also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt,
A pint of plain is your only man.”
--Old Irish toast

“When I die, I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Dublin. I wonder would they know it was me?”
--J.P. Donleavy, from The Ginger Man

Teutonic Drinking Quotes
“Ale it is called among men, and among gods, beer.”
--Old Norse Alvisimal, first recorded use of 'ale', 950 A.D.

“Praise not the day until evening has come; a woman until she is burnt; a sword until it is tried; a maiden until she is married; ice until it has been crossed; beer until it has been drunk.”
--Viking Proverb

"It takes beer to make thirst worth while."
--old German proverb

“Beer isn't just beer... beer needs a home.”
--Die Welt, German news magazine, 1976

"A good beer is the host's honor, a full glass is the guest's enjoyment."
--German beer stein inscription

"If you drink you'll die, if you don't you'll also die. Therefore drink!"
--German beer stein inscription

"A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure."
--Bohemian proverb

'Tributes' to American beer
“Put it back in the horse!”
--H. Allen Smith, humorist on tasting his first American beer

"All other nations are drinking Ray Charles beer and we are drinking Barry Manilow."
--Dave Barry

“Why is American beer served cold? So you can tell it from urine.”
--David Moulton

“American beer is like sex in a canoe - f***ing close to water!”
--Eric Idle, of Monty Python

The Rat Pack

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
--Humphrey Bogart

"I never should have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
--Humphrey Bogart, last words

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on."
--Dean Martin

“If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt.”
--Dean Martin

“I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up.”
--Dean Martin

"Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity."
--Sammy Davis, Jr.

"Sober up, and you see and hear everything you'd been able to avoid hearing before."
--Sammy Davis, Jr.

"Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
--Frank Sinatra

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
--Frank Sinatra

Monarchs & World Leaders
"And thou shalt give to me health, life, long existence, and prolonged reign, endurance to my every member, sight to my eyes, hearing to my ears, pleasure to my heart daily. And thou shalt give me beer until I am drunk. And thou shalt establish my issue as kings forever and ever."
--Pharaoh Ramses IV, Prayer to Osiris, 1200 BC

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts and beer."
--Abraham Lincoln

"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
--Winston Churchill

"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
--Winston Churchill

"Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink."
--Lady Astor to Winston Churchill
"Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."
--Churchill's reply

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."
--Winston Churchill

“Nothing makes the future look so rosy as to contemplate it through a glass of Champagne.”
--Napoleon Bonaparte

"Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world."
--Kaiser Wilhelm II

"Give my people plenty of beer, good beer and cheap beer and you will have no revolution."
--Queen Victoria

Actors and Thespians
"I have to think hard to name an interesting man who does not drink."
--Richard Burton

"I rather like my reputation, actually, that of a spoiled genius from the Welsh gutter, a drunk, a womanizer; it's rather an attractive image."
--Richard Burton

"I have two ambitions in life: one is to drink every pub dry, the other is to sleep with every woman on earth."
--Oliver Reed

"I like to give my inhibitions a bath now and then."
--Oliver Reed

"Hell, I used to take two-week lunch hours!"
--Spencer Tracy

"I formed a new group called Alcoholics-Unanimous. If you don't feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you."
--Richard Harris

"I often sit back and think, I wish I’d done that and find out later that I already have."
--Richard Harris, musing on the affects of drinking

"Tequila. Straight. There's a real polite drink. You keep drinking until you finally take one more and it just won't go down. Then you know you've reached your limit."
--Lee Marvin

"I began drinking alcohol at the age of thirteen and gave it up in my fifty sixth year; it was like going straight from puberty to a mid-life crisis."
--George Montgomery

"Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby."
--Greta Garbo, as Anna Christie in Anna Christie (1930).

“You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: 'Holy Christ, whaddya know - I'm still around!' It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.”
--Paul Newman

"Beer, it's the best damn drink in the world.”
--Jack Nicholson

“People who speak in metaphors should shampoo my crotch.”
--Jack Nicholson, obviously not a beer quote, but so good it's here anyway!

Writers & Authors
"The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober."
--William Butler Yeats

"Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure."
--Ambrose Bierce

"Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror."
--William S. Burroughs

"I drink to make other people interesting."
--George Jean Nathan

"Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off."
--Raymond Chandler

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
--Ernest Hemingway

"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools."
--Ernest Hemingway from For Whom the Bell Tolls

"One day I decided to stop drinking with creeps. I decided to drink only with friends. I've lost 30 pounds as a result."
--Ernest Hemingway

“This beer is good for you. This is draft beer. Stick with the beer. Let's go and beat this guy up and come back and drink some more beer.”
--Ernest Hemingway

"Work is the curse of the drinking class."
--Oscar Wilde

“I work until beer o'clock.”
--Stephen King

"Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life."
--George Bernard Shaw

“Alcohol is a very necessary article. It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.”
--George Bernard Shaw

"Fill with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber through the chambers of my brain. Quaintest thoughts--queerest fancies, come to life and fade away. What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today."
--Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others. But a man shouldn't fool with booze until he's fifty; then he's a damn fool if he doesn't.”
--William Faulkner

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”
--Hunter S. Thompson

“There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says 'Good people drink good beer.' Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it.”
--Hunter S. Thompson

“I know I'm drinking myself to a slow death, but then I'm in no hurry.”
--Robert Benchley

"One martini is alright, two is too many, three is not enough."
--James Thurber

“I would give all of my fame for a pot of ale and safety.”
--William Shakespeare, from King Henry V

Athletes & Sportsmen
“The best way to die is sit under a tree, eat lots of bologna and salami, drink a case of beer, then blow up.”
--Art Donovan, all-Pro Baltimore Colts lineman of the '50s and '60s

“We're in such a slump that even the ones that are drinkin' aren't hittin'.”
--Casey Stengel

"Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
--Tug McGraw, commenting on his salary increase

"I'll promise to go easier on drinking and to get to bed earlier, but not for you, fifty thousand dollars, or two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars will I give up women. They're too much fun."
--George Herman "Babe" Ruth

Philosophers & Deep Thinkers
"Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

"Be careful to trust a person who does not like wine."
--Karl Marx

"He was a wise man who invented beer."

"Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live."

"Marriage is based on the theory that when a man discovers a particular brand of beer
exactly to his taste he should at once throw up his job and go to work in a brewery."
--H. L. Mencken

"We are here to drink beer ... and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us."
--Charles Bukowski

Brewers & Beer Industry Leaders
“A 'good' beer is one that sells! You may think it sucks, but if the market embraces it, so be it. Now a 'great' beer or world-class beer is another matter...”
--Jim Busch

"I never met a pub I didn't like."
--Pete Slosberg, founder of Pete's Brewing Company

"Whoever makes a poor beer is transferred to the dung-hill.
--Edict, City of Danzig (now Gdansk), 11th Century

"Drink Good Beer - Be Kind - Tell the Truth"
--motto at Flatlander's Brewery

"Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink."
--Whitstran Brewery sign

"Hoppiness is Happiness"
--label of Victory's Hop Wallop

"We brewers don't make beer, we just get all the ingredients together and the beer makes itself."
--Fritz Maytag, President Anchor Brewing

"Let no man thirst for lack of Real Ale."
--Commonwealth Brewing Co., Boston, Massachusetts

"People who drink light "beer" don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot.
--Capital Brewery - Middleton, WI

Comedians & Humorists
“It only takes one drink to get me drunk, but I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or fourteenth.”
--George Burns

"A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
--W.C. Fields

"Everybody has to believe in something.....I believe I'll have another drink."
--W.C. Fields

"I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast."
--W.C. Fields

"I drink, therefore I am."
--W.C. Fields

“Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got.”
--W.C. Fields

I drink with impunity ... or anyone else who invites me.
--W.C. Fields

“I've been asked if I ever get the DTs. I don't know. It's hard to tell where Hollywood ends and the DTs begin.”
--W.C. Fields

“How well I remember my first encounter with The Devil's Brew. I happened to stumble across a case of bourbon - and went right on stumbling for several days thereafter."
--W.C. Fields

"I always keep a supply of liquor handy in case I see a snake - which I also keep handy."
--W.C. Fields

"My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless babies."
--W.C. Fields

"If I had to live my life over, I'd live over a saloon."
--W.C. Fields

"What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?"
--W.C. Fields

"Drinking removes warts and pimples. Not from me. But from those I look at."
--Jackie Gleason

"I'm no alcoholic. I'm a drunkard. There's a difference. A drunkard doesn't like to go to meetings."
--Jackie Gleason

“I distrust camels and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.”
--Joe E. Lewis

“I went on a diet, swore off eating and heavy drinking, and in fourteen days I lost two weeks.”
--Joe E. Lewis

“I drink to forget I drink.”
--Joe E. Lewis

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy."
--Tom Waits

"Life is a waste of time, time is a waste of life, so get wasted all of the time and have the time of your life."
--Tom Waits

"In more than 20 years of opening beers with guys, I have NEVER seen the Swedish Bikini Team show up. Almost always, the teams that show up in beer drinking situations consist of guys who have been playing league softball and smell like bus seats."
--Dave Barry

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
--Dave Barry

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
--Henny Youngman

“When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. Sooooo, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!”
--Brian O'Rourke

"After all, what is your host's purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi."
--P.J. O'Rourke

Founding Fathers & U.S. Presidents
“There can't be good living where there is not good drinking.”
--Benjamin Franklin

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
--Benjamin Franklin (NOTE: quote under review, see more recent posting)

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health."
--Thomas Jefferson

"We have already been too long subject to British prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality."
--George Washington

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
--Abraham Lincoln

“I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice.”
--Abraham Lincoln

"I believe this would be a good time for a beer."
-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon signing the 21st amendment

The Simpsons
"All right, brain, I don't like you and you don't like me - so let's just do this and I'll get back to killing you with beer."
--Homer Simpson

"You put the beer in the coconut and drink it all up. You put the beer in the coconut and throw the can away."
--Homer Simpson

"He makes Martinis just the way I like them....full of alcohol."
--Homer Simpson

"I'm mild-mannered Homer Simpson."
-- Homer Simpson
You're not mild-mannered. You're often liquored-up, and rude."
--Lisa Simpson

"To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."
--Homer Simpson

"Beer is the nectar of the Nitwits."
--Comic Book Guy

"I'm a People Person.....that drinks."
--Homer Simpson

“'Do-Re-Mi - Drink'
Dough, the stuff, that buys me beer
Ray, the guy that sells me beer
Me, the one, who drinks the beer
Far, a long run to get beer
So, I'll have another beer
La, I'll have another beer
Tea, no thanks I'm drinking beer
That will bring us back to... (looking into his now empty glass) D'OH!”
--Homer Simpson beer song

Miscellaneous & Anonymous
"Remember "I" before "E", except in Budweiser."

"There are more old drunks than old doctors."

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."

"The last swallow of lager is the worst and the last swallow of an ale is the best."

"You mean, I can do this for a living?"
-- Jason Faulconer, aspiring brew master, after making his first batch of beer

"To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a Support Group. Salvation in a can!
--Dave Howell, aka The Edge

"Hey, as long as your up...would you get me another?"
--Dr Mark Bernsdorf, dentist, entrepreneur, big game hunter, chain saw aficionado

"Im going to finish this beer.....then I'm going to have one more."
--Rick Evans, Midwest bon vivant, raconteur and musician

“If the hangover preceded the binge, alcoholism would be considered a virtue and not a vice.”
--Gregory Bateson, British anthropologist, social scientist, linguist

"Every night is ladies night a-a-at Johnny's!"
--John Brush, purveyor of the Triple B Brewery, aka Beer Bunker

“I don't have to drink to have fun, but I do.”
--Randy Reese, MIA Chicago

"Let's have just one more."
--John Petraitis, the Oracle of Akron Ohio

"Give a man a beer and watch his enjoyment for an hour, teach a man to brew and watch his enjoyment for a lifetime."
--Jim McCurdy, the Harlinator

"Well, if ya ain't sayz, we'll have us a rounder - it'll kinda ro-o-ound things out - if'ns ya kno'z what I mean."
--Dave Rudolph, Oregon exile

“Bock beer and Glühwein – DANGEROUS combination!”
--Michael Vogel, the real Bier Kaiser

"Time is never wasted when you're wasted all the time."
--Catherine Zandonella

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
--Frank Zappa

"How would a beer feel, Mr. Peterson?"
"Pretty nervous if I was in the room.

"Can I draw you a beer, Norm ?"
"No, I know what they look like. Just pour me one."

"What's shaking, Norm?"
"All four cheeks and a couple of chins."

"What'll it be, Normie?"
"Just the usual Coach. I'll have a froth of beer and a snorkel."

"What would you say to a beer, Norm?"
"Hiya, sailor. New in town?"

(Coming in from the rain)
"Evening everybody."
Everybody: "Norm!"
"Still pouring, Norm?"
"That's funny, I was about to ask you the same thing."

"Whaddya say, Norm?"
"Well, I never met a beer I didn't drink."

"Hey Norm, how's the world been treating you?"
"Like a baby treats a diaper."

"Would you like a beer Mr.. Peterson?"
"No, I'd like a dead cat in a glass."

"How's life treating you?"
"It's not, Sammy, but you can."

"What's going on, Mr. Peterson?"
"Another layer for the winter, Woody."

"Whatcha up to, Norm?"
"My ideal weight if I were eleven feet tall."

"How's it going Mr. Peterson?"
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"No, I mean pour."

"How's life treating you, Norm?"
"Like it caught me sleeping with its wife."

"Women. Can't live with 'em ... pass the beer nuts."

"What's going down, Normie?"
"My butt cheeks on that bar stool."

"Pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?"
"Alright, but stop me at one....make that one-thirty."

"What's the story, Norm?"
"Boy meets beer. Boy drinks beer. Boy meets another beer."

"How's about a beer, Norm?"
"That's that amber sudsy stuff, right? I've heard good things about it!"

"Can I pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?"
"A little early isn't it, Woody?"
"For a beer?" "No, for stupid questions."

"How's a beer sound, Norm?"
"I dunno. I usually finish them before they get a word in."

"What would you say to a nice beer, Normie?"
"Going Down?"

"What's new, Normie?"
"Terrorists, Sam. They've taken over my stomach and they're demanding beer."

"What would you say to a beer, Normie?"
"Daddy wuvs you."

"What'd you like, Normie?"
"A reason to live. Give me another beer."

"What'll you have, Normie?"
"Well, I'm in a gambling mood Sammy. I'll take a glass of whatever comes out of that tap."
"Looks like beer, Norm."
"Call me Mister Lucky."

"What'd you say, Norm?"
"Any cheap, tawdry thing that will get me a beer."

"What's the story, Mr. Peterson?"
"The Bobbsey twins go to the brewery. Let's cut to the happy ending."

"Hey Mr. Peterson, there's a cold one waiting for you."
"I know, if she calls, I'm not here."

"Beer, Norm?"
"Have I gotten that predictable? Good."

"What's going on, Mr. Peterson?"
"A flashing sign in my gut that says, 'Insert beer here.'"

"Hey Mr. Peterson, Jack Frost nipping at your nose?"
"Yep, now let's get Joe Beer nipping at my liver, ehh?"

"How's it going Mr. Peterson?"
"It's a dog eat dog world, Woody and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear.

"What's going on, Mr. Peterson?"
"The question is, `what's going 'in' Mr. Peterson?" A beer, please, Woody."

And saving the best for last, as explained by our favorite USPS employee, Cliff Clavin, of Cheers. One afternoon at the bar, Cliff was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his old friend Normie, as follows:

"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

the Bier Kaiser