National Drink Beer Day: Raising a Glass To The Historic Beverage
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … a beer.” — Bob McKenzie (Rick Moranis) sings the opening line to the McKenzie Brothers’ “12 Days of Christmas.”
Brewski, suds, amber nectar, a barley sandwich … whatever you call it, this is an auspicious month for beer drinkers. Last week saw the launch of Oktoberfest in Munich (Sept. 22-Oct. 7).
(On the other hand, Canada, which counterintuitively ranks 34th in the world in beer consumption, is biding its time. Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest doesn’t get under way until Oct. 6.)
The start of Munich’s Oktoberfest is followed on Sept. 28 by National Drink Beer Day (not to be confused with National Beer Day), one of those made-up “holidays” that, nonetheless, gives us an excuse to imbibe without shame.
And in Ontario, the month began with the fulfillment of new Premier Doug Ford’s transparently pandering election promise of “a buck a beer.”
Although, here’s the thing. Any of the breweries Premier Ford convinced to go along with his election gimmick are unlikely to qualify as “Reinheitsgebot” — that is to say, meeting the standards of what we know as the Bavarian Purity Law. This law stipulates that what you guzzle to the toast “Ein prosit!” can only contain four ingredients — water, malt, hops and yeast.
That means no sulphites, no chemical stabilizers nor anything else that marks the difference between big brewery swill that can be marked down to a price lower than bottled water, and the stuff real beer lovers are more than willing to pay for. Go to any craft beer festival, and you’re likely to use a two dollar ticket for a four-ounce tasting glass. Get two ounces, and there’s your buck-a-beer.
Let’s face it, the whole buck-a-beer issue marked the difference between people who like beer and people who don’t care what they drink so long as they get drunk. (A friend who works at the Beer Store reports that staff gave the sardonic nickname “The Breakfast Club” to the people waiting impatiently for the doors to open in the morning).
The blowback towards the few breweries that went along with the plan was so strong that Loblaws backed away from buck-a-beer a week after it first said it would go along with it.
The whole ludicrous episode evoked the famous slogan of Schaefer beer in the U.S. in the ’50s and ’60s: “The beer to drink when you’re having more than one.” Gee, I wonder what the message was there? I believe it was the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody that carried a beer ad inspired by Schaefer that read, “The beer to drink when you’re having more than six.”