Monday, August 04, 2008

Real Gusto!

Several years ago, my ami Mr. Jimmy introduced me to the term "lawnmower beer." A lawnmower beer is a beer that hits the spot when you finish mowing the yard or working on the car, or when you finish some other domestic chore that's not officially complete until you're half-tipsy.

My very favorite lawnmower beer is Fall's City Beer. There's more than a bit of nostalgia behind my admiration for Fall's City (I can remember my dad drinking Fall's City when I was a kid), but my main reason for liking it is the fact that it don't taste too bad for something that costs only $3.50 for a six-pack. I won't be drinking Fall's City whilst smoking a fine cigar or eating a steak any time soon; what I will do, however, is drink one - or two, or three, or four - when my sweaty brow needs to be cooled with an ice-cold brew.

That said, the Associated Press recently reported that Schlitz Beer is making a comeback:

It's the beer that made Milwaukee famous. Now Schlitz is making the city nostalgic.

That beer with the old-time mystique is back on shelves in bottles of its original formula in the city where it was first brewed more than a century and a half ago.

Schlitz was the top-selling beer for much of the first half of the 20th century. But recipe changes and a series of snafus made the beer — in many a drinker's opinion — undrinkable, turning what was once the world's most popular brews into little more than a joke. But after decades of dormancy, the beer is back.

Schlitz's owner, Pabst Brewing Co., is re-creating the old formula, using notes and interviews with old brew masters to concoct the pilsner again. The maker of another nostalgic favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, it hopes baby boomers will reach for the drink of their youth, otherwise known as "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." They also want to create a following among younger drinkers who want to know what grandma and grandpa drank.

In Milwaukee, the comeback is creating a buzz. Stores are depleted of their stock within days. They're taking names for waiting lists and limiting customers to just a few six- or 12-packs each.

Schlitz had pretty much run its course by the time I was old enough to (legally) beer. I do, however, remember hearing folks talk about how crappy it tasted before it was mercifully pulled from the market. Even with all that bad-mouthing in the back of my beer-lovin' brain, I can't wait to try Schlitz when it finally makes its way to Nashville. Hell, if it's as good as the old timers say it is, it just might supplant Fall's City as my favorite lawnmower beer.


Mister Jimmy said...

We could do with more decent, pedestrian American beers. PBR has managed - somehow - to hold it's own without blandifying the product for national consumption. Miller used to be a really good beer until the company was sold. Those regional breweries still manage to turn out some of the best all-occasion beers, when you can find 'em. Like Falls City and now, hopefully, Schlitz. Let's hope they do, in fact, recreate the distinctive flavor of the original. Then it'll be a keeper.

will said...

it can get redone all it wants but schlitz will always taste like bad well water

Mister Jimmy said...

Hmmm, on the other hand the worst hangover I ever had was after a night of drinking Schlitz. So much so that for years afterwards I was conditioned to even the smell of the beer, it having a distinctive aroma.