Posts Tagged ‘Budweiser’

Summer has arrived finally. The warm, somewhat humid, sunny day brought me to the beer store or, more correctly for the Live Free or Die state, the regular old grocery store, Hannaford. I rolled past the cooler windows looking for the just right brew for this bright summer day. I slid past all the IPA’s: Harpoon, Smuttynose, Red Hook, etc. I even passed up the thin little slot where the Harpoon Leviathan brew Imperial IPA sat. I went past the Guinness Extra Stout and even past the Sam Adams summer ales – summer this, summer that – wimp beer I say.

Pabst-1I know what was really on my mind – summer quantity – the volume pack – in cans – cold – budget priced, but… had to have the taste that came through in an ice cold can. Well it could have been Bud, which certainly fits that bill pretty much, except my summer brew secret is Pabst Blue Ribbon!

I’m not going to tell you that I would pour it into a pint glass and watch the head form, or remark on the grand color, or describe the array of tastes it releases. No, it is a thirst quencher first and foremost. It is crisp and clean, a touch of hops, a dry after taste but nothing to write home about. Pabst is durable and, unlike Bud, the last ounce in a slightly warmed up can doesn’t get skunked. None of that bad Bud aftertaste from the dregs.

One might wonder where Pabst has been over the years. They proudly write of the America’s Best award from 1893 on the cans. However as the Best Big Brewery they garnered awards in 2006 and 2007. Pabst serves as the brewery behind many old brands including Ballantine, Schlitz, Shaeffer, Olympia, Blatz and on and on.ourPortfolio-1

Pabst six

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So the other night Reb and I took the farm truck over to Windham, Maine to pick up a couple of young pigs (porcine critters – that is). That lumbering beast of a dump truck is hard as a cob on craggy roads, but we made it over and loaded her up for the trip home. Well, we just got underway when I had the need for a beer or two for the ride home. I might add as background, we make the trip generally with a full load of market hogs and drop them at the slaughter house, then I always stop, with relief, at the convenience store in North Windham to pick up a couple of brews and a bag of Doritos for the ride home. So, the old habit kicked in and I pulled almost automatically into the store lot. With the warm spring air, the sun still in the sky and a couple of little critters stretched out in the back I decided to snare a couple of Bud cans for the road. (I decided to forego the chips)bud5

I haven’t had a regular old Budweiser 12 oz can for years but it brought some memories of the old days (see previous post). I cracked the top and took a long pull on the ice cold drink. Ah! You know, that Bud has a real smooth quality when put down cold that way. One sip begs for another to follow. Before long that first can was history.

(vintage late 60’s can – note the bottom blurb “Tab Top”)

bud2I reached for the second and took my time. As I drank along, the beer began to warm and the quality dropped precipitously. Finally the last couple of ounces had a slightly skunked taste with a fuzzy after taste. Now I remember! that is the difference between the really good brews – they are good after sitting in the glass. In fact, like good quality cheese, the flavor comes through better after the first chill is gone. With Bud the opposite works. It has very good quality at cold temperatures but loses that strength as it warms. I admit, there are variables, and some very good beers are not that great, straight out of the can or bottle. But I argue, Bud is very good out of the can – if it is cold. Bud gains nothing in the glass, unless it’s on tap, but that is a story for another day.

(This old steel can needed a church key. Pre Tab Top.)

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I see that Nate has plunged into the IPA. Me, I’m still besot with the strong ale of winter. I found a six of Guinness Extra Stout, which I went on about in a previous post. That special taste is really unique, bitter yes, but it’s the burnt anadama bread taste that makes Guinness Extra, well, extra!

I know I promised my daughter I’d stop at the store and pick up some ice cream cones but if I wait ’til tomorrow I can zip back up to the Hannaford’s supermarket in North Conway and snare another six of the “black”. It’s the only store around that carries the Extra Stout – maybe the manager drinks it. In thirty yards of beer cooler there is one thin six-pack wide space with Extra Stout, you’d miss it in the first pass down the aisle without a keen eye.

Anyway, I got thinking about my beer drinking roots again. Along with the Ballantine XXX taste acquired prepubescent (see previous posts for that story) I had the good fortune as a teenager to work for an exclusive country club in the men’s locker room. Along with regular plush locker room chores we also kept beer on hand for the members. Needless to say, walking home after work, in the gathering darkness across the expanse of the trim fairways of the golf course, a beer or two would be consumed.The choices available for us to pilfer were Budweiser, Carlsberg and Heineken. Carlsberg stood out with a robust strength, an old world taste, right from the bottle. Heineken had a hoppier, fresher, crisp taste and Bud, well we seldom bothered unless for just a really cold thirst quencher. Bud was of course the beer of general consumption for us – day in and day out. 12 oz cans, as cold as the ice coolers would get it. Each of us kept a cooler in our car. I remember nailing my Z28 down rte 128 at 100+mph and having the air pull the cooler top off and slam it against the rear window. The look on my shotgun’s face told me he would need to clean his underwear. Anyway, Bud sure had its place. That super cold steel can pulled from the icy depths, opened with a church key (this was pre-pop top opener days) one small hole to release pressure, “psshss”, and the other full triangle slice to drink her down.

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I cycle regularly in the morning along the local country roads nearby. One can keep a pretty good inventory of what beer the young bucks are drinking by the litter along the roadway. There are particular areas that bear the brunt of this abuse of the landscape. Generally Budweiser out-litters the others 8 to 1. Coors is a close second along with a scattering of Miller. More often than one might think Sam Adams lies amidst the others.

60-minute-ipaA few days ago, as I rolled along near one of the typical trash sections, I started as I spied a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Wow! Who was this person who first drank the IPA out of the bottle, on the road, and then winged it out the window. It doesn’t fit. Why would this person bother ? Why not just a bottle of Bud? What attracted this character  to a classy ale which should be drunk with appreciation, observing the complex mix of tastes, the bitter hoppiness, the strength of the malt, the color in the glass.

And why was there only one Dogfish Head amongst the brown bottles lying along the road in the vicinity? I pondered as I rode along. Maybe a disenchanted young drinker surprised by the tartness, taking a long pull from the bottle, as his buddies slugged down Bud Lite, and choking a bit with the shock? Maybe a knowledgeable ale drinker who knew the taste and enjoyed each pull from the bottle? Then why fling it out on the side of the road?

I then thought of the statistical lay of the road litter. The fact that Sam Adams had found a place along with the mainstream beers on the road simply echoed the proportional distribution as expected. If so then maybe… maybe the 60 Minute bottle was the signal that Dogfish Head had arrived.

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