Bearing It All About Beer

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I don’t like beer all that much.

Oh, on a hot day after mowing the yard or playing a round of golf, a beer is pretty refreshing..but usually, one or, if it’s really hot outside, two is enough.  I have lots of friends who really love beer and plenty of it but if I were to partake on their level I’d be spending most of my time in the toity or trying to conjure up a giant belch to rid myself of the uncomfortable effervescence attempting desperately to escape from my ample abdomen one way or another.

Funny, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to buy my first beer legally. It was at the Volga Pool Hall on my 18th birthday; a 15 cent tap. I remember thinking it didn’t taste any better than the illegal sips I’d tried up to then.  It’s an acquired taste, I decided, but also felt a little betrayed by all the announcers on KELO TV; the only channel we got. Brewers picked up a big part of the tab for evening newscasts and KELO on-air personnel were required to do beer commercials LIVE. They did an amazing job making me want to try a beer so bad I could taste it. Sports director, Jim Burt, for example, would hold up a frosty glass of Hamms  and tell us how crisp and clean cut it was: “Refreshingly yours from the land of sky blue waters.” 

beer jim burt

You couldn’t actually drink beer live on TV back then and I once asked Jim what became of that glass of Hamms every night. He told me it  actually got pretty warm under the studio lights  and not too tempting but it usually disappeared.

One of Keloland’s first weather men, Gene Piaat, spent at least two minutes during his weather segments touting the wonders of Grain Belt, “America’s Party Beer.”

Bill Rohn’s weekend sports was sponsored by Storz Beer, “light, dry and smooth.”

beer bill rohn storz

I don’t know when or why local TV personalities stopped being pitchmen for the breweries. Maybe it’s because they made it sound a bit too appealing to thirsty little kids like me watching at home.

I must have done a dozen stories about beer during my reporting days. I remember featuring a guy in Southwest Minnesota in 1976 who started collecting cans of Billy Beer..named after President Carter’s beer swilling little brother whose very public drinking binges were legendary and an embarrassment to the White House. I hear the beer wasn’t very good and the cans really aren’t worth much to collectors or on ebay.

In 1980, I did a story with a local distributor who had laid in stacks and stacks of beer named after J.R. Ewing, the character on the TV show, Dallas.  J.R. was the subject of a summer-long TV cliffhanger in which the audience was left to wonder who had shot him in the final episode.

beer jrAnyway, Pearl Brewing Company in San Antonio decided to cash in on the “Who shot J.R.” phenomenon and blend up a beer for all the Dallas fans.  

 

I wasn’t a fan but I bought a six pack anyway thinking it might someday  be worth something. It isn’t.,.and, after 30 years, it still sits unopened on display in my basement. Maybe I should just pop open a few cans after I mow next spring..or do you suppose that some of the golden deliciousness might have disappeared in 30 years?

beer maureen ogleOne person who came real close to making me a beer convert, was Maureen Ogle..an author from Iowa who was in Sioux Falls promoting her latest book called “Ambitious Brew,” an ambitious project chronicling the history of American beer.

She’d done a lot of research and over a beer after our interview she explained to me how conventional wisdom has it that giant breweries, driven by corporate greed, have flooded the U.S. with inferior-tasting swill, and the only beer worth drinking is from scattered boutique microbrewers. Ogle doesn’t buy that and says  companies like Miller and Anheuser-Busch are actually near-perfect embodiments of the American dream (in which “liberty nurtured ambition, and ambition fostered success”)—and if their beers became noticeably blander 50 years ago, it’s because consumers wanted it that way.  She even compared beer to wine in that various varieties can and  should be explored to best complement a meal. “So it’s not just good with pizza and hot dogs then?” I asked.  “Heavens no.” She said.

Beer to me is like lutefisk; a little goes a long way and overdoing it will  make me so full of gas they could tie a string to my toe and float me down down 5th Avenue on Thanksgiving Day.

Speaking of Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a happy one. And, if we should run into each other over the Holidays ..hey, say hello and maybe we can go someplace and have a beer. You’re buyin, of course.

15 Comments

  1. ClaudeM. says:

    Yeah, alot of guys out there act like beer is a life giving tonic. Some, seem to have it for breakfast, lunch, and supper !! Have they ever tried a Mt. Dew on a hot summer day ? It’s NOT mandatory to buy
    beer just because your 21 ! You can still legally buy a coke !
    Beer is good. But often over rated , over consumed, and over abused.
    Ya can drink a whole 6 pack of dew, and you’ll never get a DWI !

  2. prairierose says:

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  3. grouse says:

    Did you ever check out my claim that the pilgrims drank rather large quantities of beer? And, it was not the light, low carb variety either. At any rate, the kids gave me a “Mr. Beer” kit last Christmas. I’ve been lazy and haven’t gotten around to brewing a batch, so this may be the perfect time for some scientific research and in the spirit of the pilgrims, we can brew some for Christmas. Lutefisk and home made beer, with a little lefse for a chaser.

  4. Deb says:

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR WIFE DOUG. STAY SAFE. TAKE CARE

  5. jab says:

    Doug, there are many yses for beer. The one I like best is todetermine when your syeak is done. ONE BEER RARE, TWO BEERS MEDIUM, THREE BEERS WELL DONE. Happy Thanksgiving. I enjoy your posts

  6. Tim says:

    Gotta disagree Doug. Nothing better than a cold beer on a hot summer day sitting by the lake while waiting for the steaks to grill. Throw in a Twins game and youre there.

  7. Sam Handwich says:

    You correct about Billy Beer! Terrible tasting stuff!

  8. fsl says:

    Hi Doug; If you look at Yahoo News online take a look at: ‘JFK: The Photos you’ve never seen.’
    On photo #28 the car w/him in has #77 license plates, & look suspiciously like SDak plates of the day.
    The photo was an unpublished one & he did make a visit to the SFalls/Dell Rapids area I think.
    Hope you can find it. I’m not real internet proficient, so sorry I couldn’t get the exact link. ~fsl.

  9. gp says:

    Hi Doug…and Grouse…

    Ja…tis the season for Norsk Juleøl (Christmas Beer)….And Grouse…it’s a good thing you didn’t start your øl until you become familiar with the “Norsk Way”…. Did you know that King Haakon actually put out a decree that all … ALL… Norskies HAD to make Juleøl ? (Christmas Beer) And there’s a number or rules and rituals that you MUST follow….. or the oskorei and trolls could cause you many problems…
    The making of true Norwegian Øl…must begin on the “waxing of the moon…which means you can’t start your Juleøl until Dec. 6th…but that’ll still give you time before Julekveld. On the night before your Missus must clean all of the øl making equipment…and you must wave an iron cross over the top of all the metal utensils to prevent trolls and evil spirits from causing problems. And you should carve wooden crosses in the wooden kegs… You just can’t afford a chance that trolls could invade your home and make the beer go bad…along with many other problems. King Haakon also decreed that when the nyøl (new beer) is tapped…you must have a Julegilda (a festive Christmas gathering) Perhaps with lutefisk, lefse, gammeløst, fattigmann and rømmegråt…So Grouse…the powers above had been watching over you….in that you didn’t start your Juleøl until you know some of the things you must do to assure a successful “brew”… So in the spirit of the season…
    til deres….(to all) Glædelig Jul…Og Godt Nytt År…. din venne up Nort…. GP

  10. gary says:

    http://www.life.com/image/ugc1141011/in-gallery/51881/jfk-unpublished-never-seen-photos

    To answer fsl’s question– The picture was taken at a farm near Brandon at the National plowing contest in 1960. I have 8mm movies taken that day at approximatly the same spot only a higher angle as I was standing in a truck. The picture is of JFK flanked by two SD candidates- McGovern and Fitzgerald entering the driveway into the plowing site.

  11. gary says:

    It just came to me– I am quite sure the Plowing contest where Kenndy spoke was held on the Burton Ode farm.

  12. grouse says:

    Thank God for your message before I got started GP! I’ve got it all down, except for the wooden kegs. All I’ve got are plastic kegs, but if I glue a couple plastic crosses on them, everything should be kosher in the Norske sort of way. (I realize we weren’t God’s chosen people, but I’m pretty sure we Norske’s were chosen first runner up, plus we won the congeniality award). Glaedelig Jul…Og Godt Nytt Ar right back at you.

  13. Gene says:

    Gary you are correct. It was the Burton Ode farm. I was there too.

  14. Per Pål P says:

    Ja….I sure hope the plastic crosses will work….Let me know…cuz the wooden ones from Norge keep getting more costly every year…. It would not be Juletid without some Juleøl. And Ja…some Linje Aquavit too.

  15. michael says:

    “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

    –Benjamin Franklin

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