Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Summer Brewing: A face-smashing, tasing good time!

Ah, Summer. June 21 to September 22. Sunshine, blue skies, scantily clad women, grilling, golfing, swimming, and me trying to keep my pale ass from burning to a crisp.

But the weather doesn't stop the brewing. Nosir! There's usually a batch or two made for an annual party Dicks throws. After that, we mostly put down our grains in exchange for the fruits and berries that come into season in the hotter months. But no matter what we're brewing, we're still brewing. And that means heat on top of heat.

But we have ways to keep from melting into a puddle of sweat and malt on the floor. One huge advantage we have is our brewing location. Paddy has a 130 year old farm house. Now, that means that the house doesn't have air conditioning, but it also means he has a large basement stays between 65ºF and 70ºF all year. It's perfect for primary and secondary fermentation, it's an excellent place to store bottles of beer and wine we've made, and it's an excellent hang-out after the day's brewing is complete. However, there are no facilities to actually brew down there (yet...), so that must be done elsewhere.

One key investment that was made to help this was a turkey fryer. Just one that was on sale at Trader Horn, a general store kind of place. We set it out in the driveway, turn on the propane, and hang out around it like a camp fire. This not only allows for the heat to disperse more in the open air, but you can be some distance away from the pot and still have an eye on it. An outstanding investment, and one which I highly recommend.

Another piece of equipment that is important for cooling your brew, not necessarily you, is a cooling coil. We made ours from copper tubing, hose clamps, and a sink sprayer thingie all purchased, once again, from Trader Horn. The coil gets submerged in your brew, then you run cold tap water through it. It turns what could be hours and hours in the summer heat waiting for your brew to cool into maybe 10 minutes before you can pitch your yeast. They're not hard to make, but shop around carefully. Sometimes the price of copper gets high enough that making one of these is more expensive than buying one pre-made. Oh, and if you're the type of person who likes to say things about the mothers of federal agents, you should be aware that having a cooling coil makes your beer brewing equipment look an awful lot like moonshining equipment.

Ice cold beverages are also a must. Often our traditional glasses of Wild Turkey give way to glasses of Wild Turkey on the rocks. Maybe an ice cold beer or two.

But that brings me to one way to stay cool while brewing that is not a good idea. That's drinking a fifth of ice cold vodka straight from the bottle while naked in a swimming pool. It keeps you nice and cool, and away from the heat of the brewing, but it ends in smashing your face on the pool deck. Trust me.

So that's my advice. Keep it outside, drink cold beverages, and try to make the hot part of the process as quick as possible. Just use plenty of sunblock, watch your face, and mind the tasers.


Man, fucking drinking in DC. No wonder politicians move here and become humourless drinks. Good food, sure. But 10 taps and your best beer is SN pale ale? $9 for a Wild Turkey, AFTER THE WAITRESS ASKS ME IF THAT IS A KIND OF RUM, tells me they don't have it, disappears for 5 minutes when I ask her what bourbons they have, only to return, surprised, with some turkey. Christ, I'll be happy to be trapped at the hotel bar the next two days. At least this way I can drink at lunch.

Since I wrote this, note that Gordon Biersch actually twittered me, which was nice. I had their Heffe, and it was a highlight, full of clovey goodness. Also, the conference reception was cash bar (boo) but the Manhattans were the size of water glasses and full of vermouth. The hotel bar was pouring the 'craft' A-B beers. They sucked, I tried to warn my colleagues.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coughing up hairballs

Richard Dicks harps a lot on PA liquor laws, and there are certainly a lot of unusual and prudish ones on the books around here. They restrict when you can sell, what you can sell, who you can buy from... there's state run stores for all wine and distilled spirits, there's tight restrictions on what size packages a beer distributor can sell. There's no true beer barrels allowed, only half-barrels. You can't have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. You can't walk down the sidewalk drinking. You can't drink a 6-pack in the establishment that sold it to you. But many of these laws exist in other states. In fact, there are quite a few places in this country that are more squeamish when it comes to alcohol. For instance:

Des Moines does not allow patrons to run up tabs at a bar.

Until recently, bars in South Carolina could only serve liquor from small "airline" bottles.

Liquor stores in Indiana can't sell pop or milk.

Bars in Oregon must sell some kind of food.

Texas doesn't allow its citizens to own the Encyclopedia Brittanica because it has a recipe to make beer somewhere in it. Does that mean you also aren't allowed to go to blogs like ours?

No 40's allowed in Florida.

In Portland, bars can have happy hour specials, but they aren't allowed to advertise them in any way - even on a placard out front!

Until a month ago, bartenders had to hide from patrons while mixing drinks in Utah.

In Massachusetts, you must keep bottles of booze covered or disguised in some fashion while carrying them in public.

But there are some things that people say are weird, but are really quite common:

No booze in the grocery stores is a big one. It seems to be mostly displaced Californians whining about this one, as many states have this restriction. I saw one person bitching that you can't acquire alcohol from a department store in some states. Who the fuck goes to Macy's to pick up a six pack??

Many people bitch and moan about not being able to buy liquor on Sundays, Holidays, and election days; but so many people are bitching and moaning because that law is quite common. So get over it, and plan ahead when you want to have a bender on a Tuesday.

But there is one frighteningly common weird liquor law that doesn't get nearly as much attention as not being able to buy 40's from the Piggly Wiggly on a Sunday; I'm talking about NO BOOZE AT ALL!

Shocking. Horrifying! Is there some charity that fights to eliminate this crime against humanity? Can we hold people accountable for this in an international court of some kind?

Well, until the day comes when this atrocity is wiped from the face of the planet, don't feel so bad the next time your bartender charges you 10% extra before opening your airline bottle of fortified wine behind a folding screen. It could be a lot worse!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Land Shark

... ... ...OK! Apparently not, but I'll get back to that later. Tonight Jimmy Buffett is coming to Pittsburgh and is playing out at Starlake. No, I refuse to call it by it's new corporate sponsor name. Starlake will always be Starlake, just like Pizza Outlet will always be Pizza Outlet and the Civic Arena will always be the Civic Arena (well, at least until they tear it down next year).

Last year was my first experience at a Jimmy Buffet Concert. I'd never been to one before and have always heard that they were a really good time. Prior to last year, I wouldn't even say that I was a Buffett fan. I knew a couple of his songs. They were fun and catchy, but I always kind of got a annoyed when Margaritaville would be played somewhere. not that i didn't like the song, but everybody always chimes in at the chorus, but never knows the rest of the song. I've always found it kind of obnoxious. Kind of like WVU fans when Country Road is played (Secret: John Denver was singing about Western Virginia, not West Virginia). But that is neither here not there.

The point is, I went to Jimmy Buffett last year for the experience, not the music. I went to party for 4 hours prior to the concert and have a blast drinking during. I went to have a good time. What I came back with was a memories of a truly enlightening experience.

Parrothead (definition): A drunk 50 year old corporate executive stumbling around in a grass skit and coconuts, beer bottle in hand and a funny looking hat, being helped around by an equally drunk and stumbling 22 year old in a Hawaiian shirt, no pants and half a margarita spilt on himself.

This trend knows no bounds. It crosses the generation gap faster than a naked man running through the Hills of West Virginia screaming "I'm not your little piggie!" I had an absolute blast. And when you're having such a good time and drinking away, you have no control over it. You just get caught up in the music and the experience. You have no choice but to love it. After the concert, I took my wife out to buy a couple Jimmy Buffett CDs (after several days to sober up of course). What Jimmy Buffett does is give a middle age person an excuse to act like an 18 year old college freshman again, if only for one night. It gives the younger crowd just one more excuse to party. And it give everybody in the middle and opportunity to escape live and get away from the house and the kids and just be free. It's a whole different culture, and they accept everybody.

Now back to the top of my post. Last year we tried to get friends to come and join us, and were received with half-hearty interest. In the end we had no takers. After the concert, and telling them about how much fun it was, people seemed genuinely interested. They all were for doing it the next time. This year, I told all my friends about the concert several times and when tickets went on sale, nobody bit. A couple said they were disappointed that they forgot, while others said "eh, I'm not really a Buffet fan." And that was just the kind of image I was tying to dispel. You don't need to be a Buffett fan to have a great time. You don't have to like his music. It's an excuse to party, and much partying we did. This year I hope for an even better time, and I know we're going to have blast and party with a lot of unique and interesting people. But I am sad that I won't have any real friends there to share it with.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Drinking with Dad

It's Fathers Day! The day to show thanks to the man who paid for the clothes on your back and who gave you food and lodging for so many years. For me growing up, my dad was an OK guy, but he still was dad. He still made me do choirs. He still punished me when I did something incredibly stupid, which when I think back, I should have gotten punished a lot me than I did. But for all those little thing, dad turned out to be a pretty cool guy.

As I got older, and especially when I moved off to college, my father and I only grew closer. Dad's are cool that way, and if you think back, your dad probably taught you a lot of useful things. How to cut a piece of wood, hammer a nail, work a chainsaw, hide a dead prostitute (those last two go hand-in-hand), and of course patch a wound with duct tape. Maybe your dad even taught you a little something about drinking.

My introduction to alcohol from my dad was like most kids. "Daddy, daddy, can I try your beer?" And of course, after taking a sip I was spitting and sticking out my tongue with a twisted grimace on my face (of course my dad IS a Schlitz drinker). For a while, alcohol was viewed as this nasty tasting beverage which adults drank to forget they had kids. But at some point things changed. I remember one New Year's Eve when my dad and his pals thought it would be funny to give me a cap-full of whiskey. Expecting me to gag, since I was only like 12, they were surprised when I smiled, licked my lips and eagerly asked for more. I think that may have been the turning point. I was like, screw that beer shit my dad is always drinking, gimme some more of that sweet nectar.

Whether intentional or not, I learned a lot about drinking from my dad. After all, it can be just as beneficial to learn from someones mistakes as it can be from their successes. There was the time when I was 13, my dad had all his poker buddies over, and he decided to break out the handle of Old Crow and some vermouth. 3 hours later I found my dad literally passed out in the front bushes. My mom was all pissed. "Look at you! What sort of example are you setting for your kids?!" Later in life I would eventually join that monthly poker crew, and I've been drinking with dad ever since.

A couple of years ago I went to a Pitt football game with my dad and another one of the poker guys. I was on antibiotics and unfortunately could not drink. After the game we went bar hoping all around Pittsburgh: the North Side, the Strip, our friends basement, Carson St, Mt Troy, and all the time I'm the designated driver. I dropped my dad off at home around 3AM. He stumbles into the door and sure enough my mom was up waiting for him (night gown, rolling pin, and all).

Last year my dad and I were invited to a friend's daughter's bat mitzvah. Our friend was a real nice guy and stuck us all at the table closest to the bar. Well, even before the meal was served, my dad got himself smashed on manhattan's. Mom sent me looking for him, and I found him asleep in the bathroom.

Those are just a few of the more embarrassing moments for dad. A recurring them with my father always seems to be "Dad + Manhattans = FAIL".
So thank you day for all you've taught me in life. If there is one thing in which I can truly say I take after my father, it would be excess.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

... and after a few deep breaths...

Ok, I've calmed down a little. Let's re-examine this Iron City business like mature adults. Today Latrobe pitches yeast on the first batch of non-Iron.

I understand that you can't always be a nice guy in business. Sometimes one option is so insanely beneficial compared to the other options, you really have no choice but to go with it. So they're moving to Latrobe, trying to turn things around, want to spend the savings on advertising and a new canning line- wait, a new canning line? Weren't they moving primarily to avoid the cost of installing a new canning system? Oh, for fuck's sake...

Then there's this one quote from the article that... didn't make me angry so much as caught my attention: "The beer drinkers in Pittsburgh did not support Iron City." At first I took that personally, but I took a few deep breaths and looked at it again. He's simply stating that the Pittsburgh market alone doesn't provide enough income to keep the company afloat. And while it doesn't anger me, I find that claim dubious at best.

Every single bar I've been to in Allegheny County has at least one IC Light tap. Some even have a regular Iron City tap, and all of them have bottles of both available. Often they'll also include other Iron City brands like Old German in their refrigerator. I find it hard to believe that establishments outside the Pittsburgh area sell more Iron products than the nearly 2000 bars in Allegheny County.

Let's break it down: There are only 3,140 counties in the US. So for even the number of taps to be equal, you'd have to be able to find one bar with Iron on tap in at least 2/3 of those counties. So I'll find a yinzer bar in Denali, Alaska? Fergus, Montana? Ector, Texas? Seems to me the consumption of Iron City drops off sharply as you leave Allegheny County. So the Pittsburgh market being an insignificant fraction of their income seems a bit far-fetched to me, but he has the figures, I don't. I'll have to remember to ask for a stubby of Old German next time I find myself in Wichita.

Oh, and because they are cutting bait, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority has decided to demand $600,000 from them. You see, back in 2005, the Water Authority brought it to Iron City's attention that they hadn't payed a water bill for quite some time. Since they stopped writing checks, they've run up a tab of about 2.6 million dollars. Which is impressive, since the average beer is 90% water. They were essentially fencing stolen water. The Water Authority agreed to cut them a break on the bill if they stayed in the city. Iron City still didn't pay a dime. And now that they're moving, the Water Authority is pissed and wants their fucking money.

Iron City also owes money to other organizations totaling more than $180,000, which kind of seems like pissing into the river when compared to the $2.6 million the Water Authority could potentially assrape them on. They're lucky this is only Pittsburgh. In other places, breach of contract is dealt with more harshly.

But because they're sitting so pretty, they've hinted that they would like to buy back Rolling Rock from Busch. Ok, I think it's time to go into this strage saga, so pardon my digression. Some time ago, Corona was kicking ass and taking names in the flavorless beer department. Busch was getting jealous of Corona, after all, Bud is the KING of fizzy water! Now here's where it blurs between fact, legend, and corporate secrets. Supposedly, Busch tried to buy them, but Corona said ¡No! So Busch did what any sensible business would and accused their competitor of pissing in their beer... allegedly. Officially, it was a Heineken distributor who was successfully sued by Corona over this rumor, so this could be a bullshit part of the story. Anyway, what did happen next was people started buying Rolling Rock instead of Corona, believing the clear streams of Latrobe to have less urine per volume than Corona.

Anyway, folks out West started drinking Rolling Rock with a wedge of lime, as they did with Corona, and Bush saw a potentially easier company to muscle in on. So they bought Rolling Rock, and sales plummeted.

Now we come back to the thrust of this story. Rolling Rock ain't selling like the hoppy hotcackes Busch expected, so they're thinking about unloading the brand. And wouldn't it be nice to bring it back to Latrobe? And who would be the people in the best position to do that? If you're drunk, stupid, or the CEO of Iron City, you might say Iron City could buy them. But you'd be forgetting the pants-shittingly insane amount of money they owe to everyone. Maybe they could start spending Monopoly money?

So to avoid spending money on new equipment and water, they'll have to buy new equipment and settle up their old water bill they were avoiding. So until their water bill savings tops whatever Pittsburgh forces them to pay in overdue bills, those financial advantages are canceled out. They're also pissing off nearly everyone in the city that comprises their primary market means absolutely nothing to their bottom line. And now they want to spend more money buying back other brands with damaged reputations and increase production so they can meet the huge demand that will suddenly appear once they start making the beer in a different building. The financial wizardry of Iron City continues to astound me. Seriously, what joker gives these people financial advice?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Plastic abounds, and a crash...

Wow, 2 posts in one day. Its been a good day for beer news, so enjoy it while you can. First off, ripped straight from the pages of Hop Talk.
This weekend I took the BJCP exam for the first time. That's a different story- wait for it until I get my results at Christmas Time. It was in the distribution and brewing warehouse of 2 Brothers brewing out in DuPage County west of Chicago. There they had the first I've seen of the plastic casks.
This specimen is a pin- a 5.4 gallon cask for real ale. They also make all the usual sizes. The idea is to stop people from stealing the kegs for scrap- though also it might stop them from stealing them for keggles, I'd imagine. They are lighter, seem durable on the outside. But what of putting in this acidic, alcoholic (alcohol is a solvent) mixture for weeks or months. Or even years if you've got your special double fermented oak, bourbon and monkey semen aged barleywine? Plastics may be the future, as Arthur Miller told us, but the future is also terrifying and bleak. Enjoy your death beer- I'll stick with steel. Hard, malleable, deadly, useful for making pots, wheels, shields, and heavy enough to throw at a mutuated donkey kong.

Speaking of death-steel, check out the overturned beer truck in the W. Burbs this morning.

Don't drink at work

This is why, no one, especially not scientists, should ever drink at work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iron in Aluminum

A few years ago, it was all optimism and innovation. Now, well... read my last post.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

15 Drinking Myths

Here are 15 popular drinking myths that have been debunked.

I have to agree with #7. I'm sick and tire of hearing experts and people say that alcoholism is a disease. Cancer is a disease, diabetes is a disease. I'd be willing to bend and let them call it a disorder, but that's where a draw the line. I may get some flack for this one, but calling it a disease is a cop-out for weak individuals with poor self control. But don't mix this up with my belief that it is a serious problem and should be treated as such.

And for # 2, they're right. Alcohol does not improve your sex life, but it sure as hell makes it more interesting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Iron City: Now with less iron!

So, Paddy sent me an article this morning: Iron City soon will be brewed in Latrobe. The headline pretty much says it all right there. But if you're not from Western Pennsylvania, you might still be confused even after reading the article, so I'll go into some more detail.

The "idled Latrobe brewery" is the Latrobe Brewing facility located in Latrobe, PA. They used to be the sole producer of Rolling Rock until Anheuser-Busch purchased the brand in 2006, and "moved" the brewing to their own facilities (read: started filling green bottles with Bud Light). I still have a 6-pack of ponies tucked away that were brewed in the Latrobe facility. I'm sure they're terrible by now, but I'll pretend they're great when I drink them some day.

But I digress. When Busch purchased Rolling Rock, Latrobe was hit hard. It was a huge source of jobs for the small town. Not much later, the plant opened back up to do contract brewing. "Contract brewing" you ask? Ah, well... that could be another article in itself. Big beer companies will sometimes play local breweries to make their beer instead of shipping from their main plant to that region. Do you enjoy that great Boston water they make Sam Adams from? No you don't. They fucking make it in Pittsburgh. Well... to be fair, its now made in many places, but originally all Sam Adams beer was brewed with the mighty waters of the Allegheny River.

So Latrobe Brewing has been doing that sort of thing for a few years, but Pittsburgh Brewing (or whatever they're calling themselves this month to dodge water bills) lost their contract with Sam Adams, and have been on the skids for awhile (see the article I linked to up above). And now Iron is moving to Latrobe. Which is great for Latrobe, don't get me wrong. I harbor no malice towards Latrobe. But Iron City is a Pittsburgh thing. And I don't mean it's a "Pittsburgh Tradition" or something like that, no; I mean it's named after the fucking city!

And not only do I not harbor any malice towards Latrobe, I actually liked old Rolling Rock better than Iron City! On a personal note, I'm kind of hoping Iron might start tasting more like old Rolling Rock once it's brewed in the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe. But that's not the point. And neither is this:

"We're moving 40 miles down the road. We don't see that the sales will be impacted."
So, what do you mean by that, Mr. Hickman? Do you mean that your trucks won't use too much more gas for shipping? Or that the locals will speak the same language? People aren't pissed at you because they think sales of Iron City will drop because of your finincial shennanigans, they're pissed at you because you're firing all your workers during a peak in unemployment and selling off the old brewery during a trough in real estate value. Because you're betraying the name of the brand you're in charge of. Because you lied to the city and the union. Becuase you're skipping town owing a metric fuckton of money to damn near everyone in the city! I also heard you molest small dogs.

And I know Latrobe needs this. I know it will be good for them. But Pittsburgh isn't exactly a shining bastion of economic might, built from gold bricks and quail eggs. And the specific area Pittsburgh Brewing is moving out of has been trying to turn themselves around for about a decade, and they're starting to succeed! What you're doing is kind of like throwing bricks through your neighbor's brand new windows. And all the while you were "looking for new canning equipment." What were you really doing all that time?

But let's be frank, this decision was motivated by the financial success of the company. You don't owe any debt to Pittsburgh... well, actually, you do. A pretty big one. Like, two or three dump trucks crammed full of money. But you don't owe any sort of emotional debt to the city. You have no obligation to do the "right thing" here, assuming you have no sense of morality, justice, or conscience. If moving to a different brewery will make you more money, then perhaps that's the thing to do. And who cares if Pittsburghers won't drink Iron City anymore? You have your huge national and international market share to rely on. Right? And there's always the amazing taste of your product, that's probably won some medals or something. Right? It's not like Pittsburghers only drank it out of a sense of loyalty to your brand. Right? If everyone in the Pittsburgh area stopped drinking Iron City tomorrow, you'd totally still be swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck. Right?

It's an uber-dick move, buddy. You pulled a bait-and-switch. You strung everyone along, promising that you wouldn't pull the obvious cocksucker move everyone was expecting. You prentended to be a decent person, then... SURPRISE! Silly us, we should have known better than to think you were anything less than a complete, self-serving bastard.

Hope Latrobe doesn't make the same mistake...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Got the Blues

Pennsylvania Blue Laws are getting me down. I just read this article online today at KDKA's website (Giant Eagle Applies for Liquor License). The headline got me kind of excited. Had the State finally changed their bass-ackward laws? Was this the first step in the right direction to true freedom of inebriation? Sadly no. I commend Giant Eagle and their efforts to fight the system, but without real changes in the legislation these little victories just aren't doing it for me anymore.

A quick sinopsis of Pennsylvania Blue Laws:
- You can only by wine or spirits at the State run liquor stores. One exemption to this law is wineries themselves. They are permitted to sell their own product on the premises.
- Beer can only be purchased at a licensed beer distributor or six pack shop. Distributor are only allowed to sell beer by the case (24+), and Six pack shops by...well, six packs (really expensive six packs).
- Liquor stores are only open till 9PM, and all except for the larger ones are closed on Sundays.
- Up until recent years, the beer distributors were also closed on Sundays.

These wonderful laws mean that while at the grocery store, there is no beer aisle to walk down for you to purchase something cold and frothy to wash down the pretzels and 20 cans of Cheez Whiz you just bought. It means that you can't swing by the corner gas station for a quick six pack or bottle of wine on the way home from a long a day at work. It's 11PM, your girlfriend just broke up with you, and you need a fifth of something stiff to drown your sorrows; you're shit outta luck.

Now in truth, the State Store system doesn't bother me as much as the beer. There are tons of State Stores around and you always know that no matter which store you go into, you're gonna find a decent selection and the price is always the same. I've done a lot of traveling, and I will say that the State Stores are competitively priced compared to liquor prices in other states. In some States all you can find is Joe's Liquor, where you have a grand selection of 20 dust covered bottles, and the guy manning the register looks like your aunt Beth on crack, but with a smaller mustache. I love the selection here in PA. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board happens to be the largest single purchaser of wines and spirits in the Country. That means purchasing power, which on many occasions has led me to find some killer deals. Hell, they even have free tastings several times a week. But most of things I like about the State Store system have nothing to do with it being run by the State. It's because they are so freek'n large and you can find them everywhere. The benefits would still be there if run in the private sector, and at least you'd have more options when caught in a jam.

For instance, several years back there was a very bad snow storm on Valentine's Day. The State decided to shut down all non-essential government jobs and send people home early. Well the liquor stores are run by the State, and all the workers are government employees. What happened was, every average Joe who was planning on stopping in for a bottle of wine on their way home from work was left standing out in the cold...literally. There goes that nice romantic evening you had planned. The government was responsible for hundreds, maybe thousands, of men NOT getting laid that special evening. That is completely unacceptable in my book, and that makes me a sad panda.

From the article, Giant Eagle continues to fight the good fight. One of their grocery stores had a State Store built inside of it several years back, but it was essentially still its own entity. It has its own separate registers and all the employees are with the State. It's just your typical State Store that you happened to have to walk through a grocery store to get to. This new six pack shop is going to be the same thing. The employees won't be with the State, but it will still have to be a separate entity that just happens to be connected to the grocery store. It's still gonna be just another typical six-pack shop. The prices will still be 3 times what they should. There are just too many restrictions. I think Giant Eagle's plan is to show the government that having everything in one place (one-stop-shop) isn't a bad thing. We can say it over and over again, but by actually doing it and showing that it works, hopefully it will have some effect.

Every time a vote comes up on this subject in Harrisburg, the naysayers and the tea tottlers all scream "Evil, evil, sin, sin!!! By making alcohol more accessible, people will drink more, babies will die, drunk driving will become an epidemic, and your daughter will get knocked up by a black man! Do you want that on your conscience!" I mean really. By keeping me from buying a 12 pack of beer and forcing me to by a whole case, you are keeping me from drinking too much? Because me walking down the block to the 7-Eleven to get a bottle of wine, when I might have had a little too much already, is so much more dangerous than me getting in my car to drive the two miles to the nearest Wines & Spirits. And worst of all, all these damn Blue Laws have forced me to take measures into my own hands and build a fully stocked bar in my basement. Anyone who knows me will tell you "that is a bad idea." If that isn't being irresponsible, I don't know what is.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Day in Booze: 10 Cent Beer Night

On June 4th 1975, in an effort to boost ticket sales, the Cleveland Indians held a 10 cent beer night. The promotion allowed fans to purchase as many 8oz cups of Stroh's Beer as they could hold down for just 10 cents a piece. As you could probably guess, what followed was a massive case of Fail.

The Municipal Stadium was packed with over 25,000 fans, compared to the previous season's average of only 8,000 per game. The Indians were up against the Texas Rangers, who not but a week earlier had gotten into a bench clearing brawl with the Indians during a "cheap beer night" game at Arlington Stadium, which ended with the crowd storming the field. So naturally, the most sensible thing to do is to one-up the Rangers and host an even more idiotic promotion of their own only one week later.

As the game progressed, the fans got drunker an drunker. Players were getting pelted with hot dogs, and one of the Rangers was almost struck with a one gallon jug of Thunderbird (don't ask me why someone would sneak a gallon jug of Thunderbird into a baseball game, or how. But he sounds like a guy I wanna party with).

When the Indians managed to rally in the 9th to tie the game at 5-5, the crowded was past gone and had reached its boiling point. A fan ran onto the field and attempted to steal an outfielders cap. In attempting to confront the fan, the player tripped, leading the Ranger's manager to think that his player had been attacked. The manager and the entire Ranger's bench stormed onto the field, some wielding bats. The fans in turn also charged to field armed with everything from knives, chains, broken bottles, and even parts of the stadium seats they had torn apart. The Indians, fearful of the rioting fans, actually picked up bats of there own and went out to DEFEND the opposing team.

Realizing that nothing could be done to restore order, the umpire called the game and forfeited the win to the Rangers.

And if you think that Cleveland learned their lesson, you'd be wrong. No, Cleveland decided to hold 3 more such events throughout the season. They changed the promotion so that a fan was limited to a max of four 10 cent beers, but still. Cleveland's got to be denser than a brick.

In modern times, such occurrences are practically nil, thanks to such ingenious ideas as not allowing fans to bring any outside food or drinks, except for enough peanuts and water to make a dixie cup look like a generous portion, and requiring fans to take out a second mortgage if they want to have more than two beers.

...Cleveland Sucks


Or not.  I'm sorry, I'm way behind on my blogging. Its not for a good reason, work isn't too insane and I haven't been drinking any more or less. Lots to say, just not a lot of motivation to say it. Still, stick with us, the summer is beckoning and we've got plenty of bad ideas stored up to perpetrate to embarass ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones that we'll be sure to blog about soon!