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Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Celebration of History at Tröegs

I wish I had some pictures of this, but I don't (hint, hint, anyone who was there...): last night was the "New Beer's Day" anniversary celebration at Tröegs, and we had a blast. I had a very easy run up the Turnpike to Harrisburg (and got 44 mpg with the diesel; better than expected!) and got in a bit early, so I treated myself to a Zoigl Star Lager at Appalachian before heading down Cameron Street to Tröegs (Zoigl's getting a bit long in tooth, but holding up beautifully; delicious kellerbier, stop by and have some).

In honor of 3.2 beer, the drink that post-Prohibition America found "surprisingly good," Tröegs brewed up a version of their old ESB with all English hops, malt, and yeast that came in a little over 4% ABV. I had a glass of that while waiting to give my speech (the evening was a benefit for the Harrisburg Historical Society, so yes, I paid for my beer. That one, anyway, after that, people just put them in my hand...) and it was nice, tasty, refreshing, flavorful, but not hammering.

When 8:00 came, a local fellow read what was apparently one of FDR's speeches...mostly about bank reform. Historians. I stepped up to the mike and told them I was there to talk about beer. This, like the original legislation back in 1933, was met with a roar of approval. I told them how Prohibition was something we deserved -- the booze industry was out of control -- but that it was overdone: I once used the analogy that putting in Prohibition to fight booze business corruption was like shooting your dog because he farts real bad when you feed him beef jerky. It would be much less drastic and much more effective to stop feeding him jerky...or open a window and both of you live with it. They liked that, too. Once Prohibition was in, again it was about money: political money for politicians who supported it, illegal money for the bootleggers and illicit producers, and no tax money for the dopey government that put it into force. Repeal, of course, was all about money: the Depression made Repeal almost necessary. Repeal meant 50,000 jobs and millions in taxes for jobs programs: done deal.

We're only celebrating the advent of 3.2 beer, I told them; full Repeal would have to wait another 8 months. But -- taking a sip of my ESB -- just like people found out back then, low alcohol beer can taste "surprisingly good!" We toasted the return of beer -- never to go away again! -- and then I stepped up to the firkin of ESB, took the big wooden mallet, and pounded home the tap. Did fine, too, didn't spill a drop. And the cask version tasted just great.

A very good evening, and a successful fund-raiser for the Historical Society; by 9:00, they'd already decided to do it again next year. The band, the Hoppin' John Orchestra, was not just fantastic, they were perfectly appropriate, and my hat's off to whoever decided to have them for the event.


Deuane said...

Sounds like it was a great time...too bad I couldn't make it! So close...just down the street saving lives at Harrisburg Hospital...damn!

Oh well, maybe next year...sounds like a done deal already.

Nice job Lew...way to work in a joke involving a farting dog, now that is total class!

Jay said...

Didn't spill a drop, eh?

Good thing there is no video evidence of said tapping...

Oh wait: mms://

lol - nice job Lew!

Lew Bryson said...

Oh, well, hell, Jay, it's hardly my fault that they handed me a tap that wasn't closed all the way! I merely speak of pounding it home good and solid without gushing around the edges.

Thanks for the link, not bad stuff!