I love Schaefer Beer. There, I said it. Actually I'm fond of most American regional, "heritage," adjunct lagers and ales—like Genessee, Utica Club, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz—but Schaefer is still king in my book.
Maybe it's because it was the official beer of the Brooklyn Dodgers—with it's distinctive white script font, emblazoned on Ebbets Field's illuminated scoreboard—A Real Hit! A Real Beer! The H would light up for a hit, and the E for an error. Maybe it's because Schaefer was once brewed in Albany—F&M Schaefer bought Albany's Beverwyck Brewing Co. in 1950 and expanded its operation from Brooklyn into upstate New York. In fact, a friend just found an old Schaefer can from the 1970s entombed in the wall of a restroom in the New York State Museum—where I work. A new Museum building was built when they erected the Empire State Plaza, and was completed in mid seventies. One of the workmen must have left it there thinking it would never be found. The restrooms were renovated this past summer and, lo and behold, there it was.
|Ebbets Field's scoreboard|
I think the real reason I love it is, it's just the quintessential American beer—simple and good. For all of craft beer's wonderful qualities—from their handmade roots, to their unique ingredients and experimentations—there's just something about the crack and hiss of Schaefer can. That gold and red can represents, to me, baseball and barbecues, warm summer evenings with the hum of the cicadas ebbing and flowing. It's not the greatest beer ever made, although it is quite satisfying, but it has a sense of history behind it. It's a beer that, as Americans, our fathers and grandfathers drank. Schaefer raised war bonds during World War II and sponsored a summer music festival in Manhattan's Central Park—The Schaefer Music Festival— during the 1960s and 70s. It featured acts, over it's nearly ten year run, like The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys and The Doors. Schaefer and American culture are indelibly intertwined. Schaefer Beer is America—pure and simple.
For all the Dogfish Head, BrewDog, New Belgium and uncountable other craft beer I will drink over my lifetime, I will now and forever drink that one beer to have when your having more than one.