The Best (and Worst) of Dad Beers
As part of our ongoing celebration of Father’s Day, the men of ManBQue have turned away from craft beer and aged bourbon for a moment to recall those first unforgettable sips of adult beverage. That’s right, kids. We’re talking Dad Beers today.
Busch Light is only sold in 30 packs. I don’t really know if that’s a fact, but I’ve never seen it otherwise. 30 packs always mean “party” unless you’re drinking it by yourself, and growing up I saw it both ways. Busch Light was always a “dad” beer or a “brother” beer and it wasn’t until I had moved to a big city that I actually tried it. After cracking open the beer the watered down beer aroma that brings me back to the scent of spilled beers in a garage while being taught how to work on cars.Speaking of watered down, this beer essentially tastes like water. Beer snobs would consider this a session beer, day drinker, lawn mower beer if this was actually a craft and or good beer. So I get it; it’s cheap, it’s low flavor, and can be drunk all day. Sure I could go into a rant stating why adjunct beers are shitty and why AB isn’t worried about a good product. But fuck it. This beer is what those who taught me how to be a man drank. This beer was present at all the formative occasions, from creating pinewood derby cars shooting guns to lessons on how to get a woman. How can I knock that?
Will I buy it? Nope. But I’ll gladly take one when I’m visiting the roadhouse bar that only serves cans in my hometown and be proud that those I’m drinking it with those who influenced me to do great things – like creating ManBQue.Miller High Life is one nostalgic beer. It says “UV rays? I’ll take them all in with my clear bottle. Updated branding? Not for me!”. Sure, Lucy has changed some over the years but we all know had she been drinking high life for this long she’d be 300 pounds and over 100 years old. High life isn’t your dad’s beer, more like grandpas beer. Drinking this extra carbonated champagne of beers during the 1950’s may have been cool, but trends have changed. Someone always brings a box of warm highlife cans to our ManBQue MEATings then drinks all the good beer. Towards the end of the night, a thirsty member realizes the case that’s been sitting on a hot concrete pad near the grill is the only beer left. What to do? What to do? Usually that’s a sign to go home. I will say it though; the beer actually has a distinct flavor. One that stays with you through the night and until the next afternoon.
When I was young, I played a lot of baseball. Very poorly. And provided they weren’t rained out and replaced with a Lorenzo Lamas or Jesse Ventura movie, the Cubs were on WGN most weekends. With this background, of course Old Style (with its Cubs logo’d cans) was one of the first beers I remember noticing. Dad was a Miller Lite man, but he also appreciated a good sale, so if Milwaukee’s finest wasn’t priced to move, there was always the (now sadly departed) 30 cube of Cubs pride for the price of one Alexander Hamilton portrait.My mother-in-law used to keep Old Style around the house for when I’d visit. So at one point, I was able to blind taste-test both the old variety and the newer Krausened (wort-assisted second fermentation) stuff. I figured it was a marketing gimmick at the time, but the new Old Style is actually tastier and less Dad-beer-y than it used to be. It’s still Old Style though, so plan on more than one and save at least one for when the Cubs bullpen blows it. Tastes like suburban upbringing!
Schlitz is a more of a grandpa beer, considering it disappeared for a good while after being one of the leading beers in the U.S. This dark period was the result of a move toward misguided modernizing efforts, bad fermentation gimmicks, and cheaper ingredients that led to it becoming known as nasty and cheap among an entire generation of drinkers. As a result, by the time I was in college, Schlitz only made malt liquor with a blue ox on it. Likely to indicate the severity of hangover, which was like getting head-kicked by a mythical hoof.But, glory of glories, the original 1960s pre-decline recipe was finally unearthed by Schlitz’s overlords at the Pabst Brewing Company. And it’s really not bad – it tastes like happy memories of bowling and tavern-cut pizza. It’s also the one good value you can find at Whole Foods, where it’s weirdly priced at $2.99 per six pack now and then. Even the godless hippies pay respect to the legend.
When my father was a young man of 21, he already had a wife and child to support. PBR made sense: it was cheap, you could drink a lot of it, and after bottle #3, you’re not really paying attention to the taste.After slugging it day in and day out at some thankless job, he’d come home and crack open an ice-cold PBR while fondly looking at an infant Kevin in his bassinet. Enjoying the refreshing lager, he’d dream of a day where his son would grow up to live a life beyond their ramshackle house in Connecticut…one where he could enjoy beers beyond the Blue Ribbon. Frankly, I think this was the dream of all fathers who mulled over the future after a hard day’s work.
So imagine their disappointment when those children went on to co-opt PBR into their manchild, Peter Pan lifestyle. Now little Slappy is all grown up, entering his 7th year of Hand Puppet Studies at one of those colleges where you make your own major, and posing for ironic Instagram photos with a can of Pabst firmly in hand.
“Pabst: enjoy the taste of letting your father down!”
Also, dad if you’re reading this: I need some more cash deposited into my account. My fixed gear unicycle broke and I spent the last of my money on organic mustache wax. Thanks!
To hear my dad tell it, Genny Cream was the preferred beer of the common man back in 1981. Found wherever tired eyes gazed blankly at flickering TV’s and every conversation started with “Let me tell you something, the goddamn _____ is ruining _____,” I always imagined this beer to be a sour as the souls of those who pounded it down.
Truthfully, Genny Cream is a delicious brew. Unlike a lot of swill, it’s smooth and flavorful on first taste. A great session beer, this American Ale will fit in nicely with any dad-related activities: horseshoes, woodworking, forgetting your children’s birthdays…you name it!