Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Session 57: The One Beer to Have When Your Having More Than One

There's nothing like the internet for confessions. I don't know you, you don't know me—let me tell you all my dirty little secrets—that's never gotten anybody into hot water, right? While I'll freely admit to my reader(s) that I dream about being tied up while someone throws mini gherkins at me, my beery confession might chip away a little more at my amenity.

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.


  1. I am 'Having More Than One' every evening.

    When I am starting early and planning on have many, I seek a lower ABV American craft beer. This summer I enjoyed Caldera Lawnmower Lager [probably not available outside Oregon] and several craft Kölsch and Zwickelbiers.

    I am generally disappointed by the sweet after taste of most adjunct American Lagers. Of course, when offered by a neighbor, I do not refuse.

    Schlitz was beer my youth in Texas in the early 1960s. I tried the re-released, retro formula. I was not whelmed; but, I was so much younger then . . . .

  2. oophs, I just noticed the topic is
    o Beery Confessions
    o sessionable beers.

    A beery confession would be that I lived and worked in Yorkshire, England, 03 times for a total of 12 years; 1977 - 1999. I enjoyed many pints of locally brewed Yorkshire bitters but gave no heed to the Campaign For Real Ale. Further, I never drank a wild Belgian Ale until years after I left the UK. I wish for do-overs.

  3. Jack,

    Say five Hail Marston's and two Our Fat Tires and all your beery sins shall be forgiven.

    I'm planning on doing a post on American, heritage adjuncts, so keep your eye out!

  4. Just found your 2011 post re: Schaefer. Was worth the wait as it was a great read. As co-founder of our self-proclaimed Schaefer Hall of Fame & Ring of Honor, we're a small but passionate group of SOUTHERN good-time-havers who have been digging Schaefer for about 25 years. Our biggest challenge these days? Procuring it. It's limited distribution is a legit buzz kill.