Not that I don’t listen to Flogging Molly all the year long, but it is with the fo-sho-ness that the frequency of Dave King and Company grace my speakers much more in the days leading up St. Patrick’s Day.
So it’s all the more appropriate that this month’s Session is hosted by Dublin’s own Beer Nut, who interestingly guided us to discuss lager. But nothing cool. Perfect. With Flogging Molly’s version of “What Made Milwaukee Famous (made a loser out of me)” wafting through my head, I turn to The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous: SCHLITZ!
I have no deep philosophical ramblings to attach this beer, other than to admit freely that I drank buckets and buckets of the cheap stuff back in the day (I favored Beast). Thank Jimmy Carter that things have changed. I once jumped out of airplanes and off cliffs for adventure. I once drove demolition derby cars for adventure. I once drank lots of cheap beer for adventure. Now, I must only walk to the fridge to slake my thirst for adventure. It doesn’t take nearly the quantity, nor the blurriness, stumbling or danger for the culinary type of adventure. So it’s the good stuff these days. Quality over quantity.
But what about Schlitz? I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever had it. It’s a pale gold with active carbonation that reveals a white head, which disappears instantly. Grainy sweet with few dimensions in the aroma and flavor. The can says, “Just the kiss of the hops,” which is apparent. A quick kiss on the cheek. None of the deep throat tongue action of a good IPA. Just a little kiss of hops.
I expected a prickly carbonation hassle of a mouthfeel that, in conjunction with the need to serve something like this awfully cold, would block flavor all together. Not so. Grainy with a little pocket of sugar in the center of the tongue. It was actually somewhat creamy and enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Way better than the Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors Light I sampled blind last year on a Let’s Drink and Analyze Crap Beer Whim.
So where Crap Beer’s concerned, Schlitz might just be my new lawnmower beer. You know, when I’m out of something decent.
Back to The Beer Nut, for a moment, in another coincidence that he chose this topic. I visited Ireland back in 2000. We drank copious amounts of Guinness (and Murphy’s and Beamish) all across the country. Soaked up the atmosphere and music and had a great time. On the night before our flight back to the States, my uncle and I decided to find one last pint in one last cool pub.
Off we went to a place that caught our eye earlier that day: The Bloody Stream. I don’t remember the name of every pub we hit on that trip, but I thought that was a great pub name. It also stuck in my mind because it was nothing like we’d expected, or hoped it would be.
There was a huge pumping beat (which I quite like in some other setting) and a shit-ton of young bucks drinking Bud and Coors Shite Light and getting their youthful fun on. I swear we were the only two people in the joint with a Guinness in our hands. I felt old, so I don’t know how my uncle felt. Young at heart probably. So much for one last pint in a fairy tale pub. Blasphemy. Blasphemy. I didn’t travel to Ireland to drink Bud.
I worry about how the parents in the United States teach their youth about drinking, but that day, I found myself wondering about the Irish, as well. How the hell does tradition and quality get lost? For the US, it’s easy to pinpoint Prohibition as the day the music died. But what of Europe? Did US Prohibition impact Europe also? With Corporate Sprawl and money to be made at the expense of tradition and quality, I’m afraid that it did. Guinness isn’t a light lager, but it isn’t the Guinness of yore.
And that’s a bloody stream of shame.
Big thanks to The Beer Nut for hosting! Check out his post here, and be on the lookout for the roundup coming soon.