Tastes great, less filling
When it comes to the Cubs and Wrigley Field, the latter is certainly true. The former? Not so much.
It’s our beer, and you can’t have it.
Now that's a little more like it. With the new $140MM beer sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch, the late Dennis Farina’s famous words appear to be unfortunately accurate.
Regardless of the brand, the slogan, or the pitchman, suds have been an intrinsic part of the Wrigley experience since time immemorial. Heck, beer and baseball go together even better than rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.
But now Old Style, the official beer of Wrigley Field and self-prescribed cure for Cubs-induced depression, has been DFA’ed, ending a 63-year run. It’s possible that the G. Heileman beverage could come back as an injury replacement, but it’s Willie Mays with the Mets at this point.
While many fans are sad to see this break from tradition, I am not one of them. I wrote about that in a bit more detail here, but I’ll save you a little time:
“Mold Style. Old Pile. A beer by any other name would smell as sweet and would have that "crisp, rich freshness … full flavored with a delicate aftertaste." So why is Old Style such a beloved part of Wrigley Field and the Cubs? I can tell you from more experience that I'd care to admit that it's not about the taste.
Beer, particularly Old Style, is an intrinsic part of the Wrigley Field experience that fans and tourists alike have grown up with. People didn't become Cubs fans because of Old Style, but they became fans of Old Style because of its ties to the Cubs. The prospect of drinking a lukewarm barley soda on a hot day while watching a cold team was something to look forward to.
I even know this hack of a part-time freelance sportswriter who drank nothing but Old Style during the Cubs' 2003 playoff run. Numb from the final loss and unable to drink the last beer in the cooler, he stowed it in the fridge, where it was to await a Cubs title. It stayed for there for nearly 2 years until he moved to a new apartment, and then moved again in '06 to the new home he bought with his wife.
And so it was that in the summer of 2011, my writer friend and his wife arrived home to find that his father-in-law, a Chicago White Sox fan no less, had opened the beer and was drinking it. After the guy picked his jaw off the floor, he helped to finish the beer. And from what I understand, it wasn't all that bad. At least, no worse than an Old Style usually is.”
If you actually clicked the link to my earlier article, you may have seen that it got quite a response from the public, not all of which followed my line of thinking. As you can imagine, messing with Cubs fans’ traditions is a sure-fire way to rile up some tensions.
For instance, edward [sic] chided me but good:
“Hey Evan, I’d be interested to know how old you are and what beer(s) you consider to be good-tasting. While we Old Style drinkers understand that today’s under 40 “beer drinker” wants rough, heavy, harsh beer, don’t tell us Old Style isn’t good beer. We prefer smooth, mellow, go-down-easy beer whether at a ball game, watching one on TV or with dinner in a nice restaurant. And yes, Wrigley is a better place, whether the Cubs win or lose, with Old Style served. Many New York staters [sic] wish we could get it here. So, go drown yourself in Heineken, add some Sam Adams and finish off with anything A-B brews. We smooth beer drinkers will take Old Style, regular Coor’s [sic], Miller High Life, Hamm’s or Lone Star any time.”
I don’t even know where to begin with this, so I’ll start at the beginning. I’m 34 and I prefer IPAs or APAs, but will drink just about any beer once…twice if I like it. In fact, I just finished kegging a home-brewed masterpiece that I’ve christened 8/8/88 Black IPA.
Listen, I’m a craft beer fan, but I’m not some kind of elitist or snob. I do, however, have to question my reader’s palate. It’s obvious that neither he, nor my wife’s uncle Frank (or really any male over the age of 50 in the Region) was polled in this study about the 9 beers Americans no longer drink.
Alright, let me climb down from my soapbox. Actually, it was probably more of a keg stand, but I was never really good at those either. Damn those rough, heavy, harsh beers! Next time, I’ll get Hamm’s.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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