Sunday, June 12, 2005

BEYOND BEYOND THE MAINSTREAM

Oh boy. Every so often it takes a newspaper article to remind how obscenely cool I really am. Today the Sun-Times had an article on old school beers that are making a big comeback. They talk about how "urban culture drivers" are showing that they are "beyond the mainstream" by drinking beers like Rheingold, Rainier, Pabst, and Leinenkugel. Now, Rheingold is only in New York, and Rainier is only in the Northwest. That leaves Pabst Blue Ribbon, hereinafter referred to as PBR, and Leinenkugel for the rest of us to evaluate on our hip scale.

PBR sucks. It will never make you hip to choke this swill down. You cannot make it cold enough to overcome the bitter nastiness. If you want a hip, old school beer, try a different Pabst product. Try Schlitz very cold. It tastes fine, and it comes in a nice heavy bottle that you could pound nails with. This last consideration is important because in the old school days, there were fights in bars, and bottles were weapons. Just something to think about, hipster. Another old school option is High Life. Granted, they have tried to position themselves with television commercials showing a Regular Guy watching a yuppie screw up and a tag line that always evokes the inherent competence that your grandpa had and that yuppies lack (whether it is parking a vehicle with a trailer or grilling). Still, High Life is old school. The chick sitting on the moon, the Champagne of Beers slogan. Straight up old school.

Then there is Leinenkugel. This is not old school. This is good beer. It is what L and I refer to as a throwback beer. However, unless you lived in central Wisconsin, your grandpa did not swill this. It never happened. If you are from the Chi-land, he drank Old Style. Maybe in Milwaukee it was Leinies, but I doubt it. The point is, Leinie's is fantastic with Thai food.

Finally, let me just point out that in typical hipster fashion, the forest has been lost for the trees. In an effort to be "beyond mainstream" people are treating imports as being all the same. They are not. Be beyond the mainstream. Don't drink Corona. Try Bohemia, or Tecate. Don't drink Heineken or Beck's, but try Czechvar (the original Budweiser beer) and Wiehenstephan (the oldest brewery in the world). THOSE are old school.

So the next time you put on your Sinatra hat, your Eddie Haskell sweater, and groom your goatee to go out for a beer, go beyond the people beyond the mainstream and actually try a different beer. And for God's sake, don't order a PBR.

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