Last night, I attended a local beer tasting here in Las Vegas.
I’m not really much of a beer guy. Oh yeah, I went through that childish phase some time ago. Okay, the childish phase lasted two decades. Maybe three. I admit it — I used to love my beer. I still do. But, the truth is, I can’t slam down cold pints of golden brew like I used to, because it makes me fat as all fuck.
Screw you people for confronting me with the truth.
I have a lopsided love-hate relationship with beer. I love it. I love it. I love it. But, it hates me. Beer makes me bloat like a puff fish. After I drink 3 or 4 or 12 beers, I feel like a beached whale. I’m Tony Montana all powdered up like a coke fiend drunk on his own supply. Let me tell you something. It’s embarrassing as shit when you have to poke a screwdriver into your leather belt to punch one more notch so your pants will stay up instead of drooping down to your ankles. The beer-drinking fatties will likely get that reference. We all done that, haven’t we? The rest of you — please carry on.
Transition time. Here’s a trivia question I learned at last night’s blew tasting. It blew me away. The question went something like this — what was the best-selling imported beer in America up until the year 1938? Just to be clear, what’s meant is — what was the most popular foreign beer sold in the United States in the era before and after Prohibition, leading up the eve of World War II? Don’t worry, it’s not a trick question. Here’s a hint: The year “1938” is a huge clue. If you know your history, you’ve already come up with the answer. A case of beer should be skipped to your house and might be on its way.
I’ll post the correct answer at the end of this column. Maybe. Hee, hee, hee.
Beer allegiance — that’s kinda’ like picking your favorite sports team, isn’t it? It’s primitive. Its tribal. You grow up drinking a certain beer, and although the components of the concoction are basically the same, you wouldn’t be caught dead with an enemy brew in your hand whilst being associated with the gang of guzzlers that speaks of class and identity. Same with sports loyalties. You wouldn’t dare ask “hey, what beer is on sale?” Seriously, has anyone in the universe ever asked that question? No way! Men might cheat on their wives and girlfriends and ladies might cheat on their husbands and boyfriends, but no devoted beer drinker ever cheats when it comes to their loyalty to the beloved brewery of choice. Some allegiances leave no room for compromise. It’s like being a fan of the Yankees or the Cowboys or Michigan. It’s usually for life, unless Jerry Jones buys the team, then you abandon ship.
My first beer allegiance was to Schlitz. Yeah, I’m an old timer. That’s because, the monsignor with the local Catholic Church who was the patriarch of my family — (true story) the oldest priest ever to be ordained in the United States at age 69 — who owned the local Schlitz distributorship before he found god and decided to throw his life away by joining the church. We were what you would call — a Schlitz family. There’s a punch line in there probably, but I won’t go there.
In Texas, circa 1980 (before the Bible-thumping knuckle-draggers took over the state — remember, we gave America Lyndon B. Johnson, Ann Richards, Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, and so forth loooooooooong before the Rick Perry’s and Ted Cruz’s poisoned the political well of sanity), the brand of beer you drank wasn’t just a matter of personal taste. We also could drink legally at age 18 back then, which meant my liver got a three-year head start in battle. Beer choice and brand loyalty was a statement as to your identity. The rednecks drank Coors. The pretender rednecks drank Coors Light. Piss water. The moderates mostly drank Budweiser. The Northern transplants drank Miller High Life and Lite. And — the Communists drank anything that was imported, which meant from a foreign country like New York, Canada, Mexico, or Holland. If you drank something else, you might as well have been enlisted in the VietCong and twirled the baton in the gay parade.
My beer evolution (from 1980 to present) went as follows: Schlitz….Budweiser….Michelob….Heineken….Heineken Dark/Becks Dark/St. Pauli Girl Dark…ultimately to micro-brews. Now, I drink beer a few times a week, at most. Wine took my soul a very long time ago. By the way, the first cocktail I ever order (legally) was a Tom Collins. Remember that?
I read recently that best-selling beer in America right now is Bud Light. That urine accounts for a whopping 16 percent of all beer sales in this country. And we wonder what’s gone wrong with the country. Seriously, if you drink Bud Light, please do us both a huge fucking favor. UNFRIEND ME NOW. Right fucking now. I want nothing to do you with you. You are not worthy of my time, nor my respect. But at least you aren’t the lowest form of humanity. If you happen to drink Coors Light — then I will UNFRIEND YOU. There’s nothing about you I respect. Zilch. You are a nothing. You are a conservative Republican Donald Trump humping leech. You will never be allowed to sit at my table (unless you’re buying).
Beer, like fine wine and much like life and all the wonders of our natural curiosity, should be explored to its fullest extent. That’s why micro-brews which now number in the thousands are so wonderfully intriguing. You never know what the tap is going to taste like on that new dogfish that’s just been unplugged. If Forrest Gump made his movie today, micro-brews would replace the box chocolates….you never know what you’re going to get. It’s your palate’s head-first five into the wonders of the great unknown. When it comes to discovery, there are no wrong choices — unless you order Bud Light or Coors Light. What the fuck is wrong with you? You are missing out on life!
Last night, the head brew master in our grand tasting was from Duvel, the bad asses from Belgium who have been brewing liquid gold since the time of Michaelangelo. Everything brewed by Duvel was — and is — exquisite, and being reminded of how good-tasting the selections were was enough to make me backslide into daily beer drinking.
So, what was the best-selling imported beer in the United States between 1900-1938 (with the horrific interruption known as Prohibition 1920-1033 included)? Take a guess.
The most logical answers are — beers from Canada and Mexico. Remember, trade wasn’t as big back then as it is now. Shipping beer across oceans would have been expensive, and most Americans didn’t have the disposable incomes nor the curiosity to indulge in strange-sounding beer names.
Hence, many of you might have guessed:
Perhaps, you might have guessed Heineken, or maybe even one of the German beer makers — such as Becks or St. Pauli Girl.
Well, all those answers would have been wrong.
The correct answer is………
I’m not going to give it to you that easy.
Here’s the contest: The first person who comes up with the correct answer and POSTS IT TO THE COMMENTS SECTION will win a case of that beer from me, to be sent out in the most economical way possible.
Seriously, post your answer in the COMMENTS section (not at Facebook – that doesn’t count). I’ll wake up tomorrow, scroll down, and identify the first name that post the correct answer. Remember — I already gave you a hint.
Ready. Set. Go.
READ MORE: “Best Selling Beers from Around the World”
POSTSCRIPT: CONTEST CLOSED. THE CORRECT ANSWER IS PILSNER URQUELL, FROM (THEN) CZECHOSLOVAKIA