When I was a bit younger and no less inclined to spout off, albeit at slower speeds — 300 bps sounds horrible, looks worse — I dealt with the concept of bheer, which was beer with a time value: it was actually present and therefore consumable. (“Beer here,” they explained.) Three decades or so later, while I’ve dealt with craft brews brewed by crafty individuals in places almost all over the map, I’ve still paid only one visit to an old-fashioned macrobrewer, and that was in 1972. You’re familiar with them, I’m sure:
In St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch was never Anheuser-Busch; it was always The Brewery. The Brewery was the reason why the Cardinals still play here. The previous ownership was all set to sell the team to a group which would have moved the Birds to Dallas until The Brewery bought the team, finally convincing owner Bill Veeck that his St. Louis Browns were doomed in this town.
When I played church softball, we took turns bringing the beer. And the only beer that we were allowed bring was AB; nothing else. Granted, none of us were beer konna-sewers back then. Post church-softball beer had one purpose, only one and taste didn’t figure in.
I had turned 18 in 1971, so I was legal in those days. And I figured, hell, if I’m in St. Louis, I might as well drop in on the monolith on Pestalozzi Street. In my capacity as a serviceman on a day pass, I thought this was a swell idea, and so did my traveling companions of the moment.
We were offered Actual Samples; I did not admit that I could not easily distinguish between Bud and Michelob. Then again, I was one of the few teenagers who hadn’t been sneaking drinks all those years. (I paid for that inexperience over the next couple of years, finding tables over my head after desperate attempts to drink someone under them.) And they handed out actual samples of beechwood, with which Bud was famously aged. (More surface area for the yeast, apparently.)
It’s probably not so special today, though:
AB beer really wasn’t that good.
The only difference between Bud Light and club soda is alcohol; if you drink enough of the former, you can get drunk. And when InBev bought AB, The Brewery became just another Big, Multinational Corporation.
Still, that’s a lot of damned beer, even if none of it, for the moment, qualifies as bheer. And as for the St. Louis Browns, you know them today as the, um, Baltimore Orioles.