Saturday, June 11, 2005

God bless Charlie Mops!

The Buffalo News runs an article today on retro beers.

ust as young consumers might wear 1970s-look sneakers, sip 1950s cocktails or download 1980s hair band tunes, many are bellying up to the bar for the beers Grandpa drank - maybe a Rheingold, a Leinenkugel's, or a Utica Club.

They're sometimes called "retro beers," brands that might bring to mind old men in ribbed undershirts, and which are now finding a new audience with the young. It worked for Pabst Blue Ribbon and now others are playing the same nostalgic chords.

The article also makes prominent mention of Yuengling's, which has long been a favorite of mine but was nearly impossible to get in these parts until just last year. The last time I had a Yuengling's before that was some years ago when I was still living in the Southern Tier, where one of the local grocery chains would get a very sporadic shipment of the stuff. (In fact, once when I was in high school I had to accompany my father to one of those stores so he could clean them out of their Yuengling supply. And I was the one who got assigned the task of lugging twenty-five cases of the stuff into the garage. This was before I realized that beer tastes good, so the whole point of the thing was completely lost on me.)

With the onset of some of the sultriest summer weather I've seen in some time (the last two days mark the first times Buffalo has hit 90 degrees since 2002), and with the general onset of the need to, well, relax a bit even when the weather's been less icky (you people who actually like heat and humidity are just insane!), has come a rekindling of my interest in beer. Beer is good, beer is wonderful. So there. Currently the fridge is full of Yuengling Lager and Leinenkugel Creamy Dark, and after today's grocery run, I'll probably have some local brew in there as well. (Buy your local brews, folks. You can get Bud anywhere.) I'm not sure I'm drinking the Yuengling or the Leinenkugel for their retro nature (I tend to not realize things are "retro" until I've been doing them a while and someone tells me that they're retro), but I see no reason to stop drinking them because they're trendy. But on the flip side of that is that I don't care if Pabst Blue Ribbon or Utica Club become trendy, because I distinctly remember both of those tasting like crap.

In other beer-related linkage, I've had this Slate article about declining beer sales in the US bookmarked for a while. It seems that wine and hard spirits are becoming much more popular these days. I love wine, but I tend to drink it only during the colder months, and I don't really drink it in volume except for when I get into a serious hankering for some Port. (Then I'm likely to drink two bottles of the stuff in a week.) I almost never drink anything involving hard liquor anymore; I don't really like the stuff and I don't see the point of getting buzzed that quickly -- in fact, I don't really enjoy the buzz itself much at all anymore, and even when I drink a beer or two, I almost always stop after two. Maybe that makes me a lightweight, but I'm fine with that.

On a lark, I also Googled "beer blog" a few minutes ago, and I found a number of them. Hail the Ale! looks interesting, and sports quite a bit of beer-related linkage (check out the beer-filled swimming pool; ditto A Good Beer Blog, whose most recent post as of this writing is a review of some brews from Ithaca, which is just down the pike and a bit to the right from Buffalo. Matt's Beer Blog also sports interesting, if sporadically-updated, comment on All Things Hoppy.

I also read a book recently about beer, Travels With Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture in America, a review of which will run in next week's update of GMR. I'll post that link when the review appears.

Beer. It makes one a jolly good fellow.

UPDATE: I refer the right honorable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.

UPDATE II: In comments, Paul points out Musings on Malt, another blog devoted to beer.

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