more on beer

If there are any true Southerners reading this, maybe you can answer a question for me. Hamm’s was (by all reports, as I don’t drink) a terrible beer, the nadir of the American beer making industry — and yet it was quite well liked, it seems, by some set of the population who weren’t raised to be beer snobs, and found something to like about it. Of course this was in the sixties and seventies before beer got all gentrified, but still.

Hamm’s came out of Milwakee (where else?), but I’m wondering if there is a Southern equivalent. Anybody know of one?

13 Replies to “more on beer”

  1. When I was a boy, my grandfather drank a lot of Pearl beer, and I had something of a fondness for it myself later in life, though this was probably due to the nostalgia I felt when drinking it, because it was NASTY STUFF.

    Why did/does anyone drink it? Pearl’s the beer equivalent of Coca-Cola: very fizzy, easy to drink quickly, and it gets the job done. As far as I know, it’s still being produced, but the last Pearl brewery in San Antonio (my hometown) closed years ago. Sadness.

  2. Ahem—-Hamm’s was NOT a Milwaukee beer. It was proudly brewed in St Paul, Minnesota and still has many fond and loyal fans here…I suspect largely due to the clever advertising scheme they had and that they sponsored the Twins on TV and radio for years. The Hamm family is still around but no longer in “business”–they sold Northland Insurance a while ago which had been their last sorta bastion here in commerce. Hamm’s wasn’t ALL that bad…you could have a Grain Belt!
    As for me the only largish beer distributed I drink is Sam Adams otherwise it is all small brewery stuff. But I adored authentic German beer when I was there—why can’t THAT be reproduced here?

  3. oh dear. I’m sorry, Janice, I goofed on that, didn’t I. Grain Belt is worse than Hamm’s? Good to know.

  4. Hi Sara, I entered the contest of the advance copy of your new book this morning around 8:00 am and my name is yet to show up on the list. It is now 4:00 pm. Is it losted? Can you tell me what to do as I don’t want to appear like I am entering twice. I know that is against the rules. Thanks in advance Julia

  5. Julia, can you email me please about this, so I can get it straightened out? Thanks.

    Jeanette! Nice to see your pixels. They still make Jax beer in New Orleans, you know. Big ole factory right on the banks of the muddy Mississippi across from Jackson Square. I didn’t realize it was one of those not-so-wonderful beers.

  6. THiS is iNTERESTiNG… as i am from the SOUTH (FLoRiDa) and am a BEER LOVeR… BUDWeiSeR… that is BReWED in town… i however in the 60’s was introduced to COORs when we LiVeD out in CALiFORNiA… when we came back in the earLy 70’s the COORs they sold EAST of the ROCKiEs was a completeLy different beer… Yeung YLiNG (sp?) is a GReAT northern brew that i just heard of within the past year that has been brewed since the 1800’s… i am seeing a LOT of SCOTTiSH and iRiSH beers locaLLy also… HAMMs… never had any…. would not want to try iT from what i heard of it. ASPeN is a good smooth beer, though i prefer mine with more body… the heavier ones … amber brews.

  7. Well, now you know how to stir up a great deal of discussion, Sara. Maybe you could have a research question on whether it’s “Coke”, “Soda”, or “Pop” next. ;-) (sorry I’m no help at all on the beer question; I haven’t had any since high school and I’m not a Southerner. Oh! Oh, wait, let me go ask my husband, who was at one point a very poor young Navy seaman living in the South. Read: he knows about cheap, crappy Southern beer. And HE says, Busch all the way. Unless you want to go even cheaper, and out of the realm of beer altogether, and then it would be Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine, which apparently is the kind of thing that people who are broke but needing refreshment would purchase with their Citgo gas cards. Not, of course, that he would ever know from, er, experience. Of course.)

  8. Robyn, thanks for that link, I think. It should amuse me but I find myself irritated by it, maybe because of twelve years of listening to undergraduates argue the popvsoda thing when I was trying to teach loftier things. Like bag v sack. Or sneakers v tennipumps. Or the difference between an allophone and a phoneme. grumpily yours, s

    Rachel — Busch was already on the radar screen, but this helps. It’s funny, beer people are always willing to talk about the really great beers but it’s harder to get them to talk about the really awful ones.

  9. Hi Sara,

    Like James, I am from San Antonio. Pearl Brewery would be the main producer of the Texas equivalent of Hamm’s Beer. Pearl Beer is pretty nasty stuff, but the brewery did close down and I honestly don’t know if there are any other breweries around, although they still carry it in the store by my home. The really unsettling thought is that maybe they don’t make it anymore and what is in stock is left-overs that would now be how old????!!!??? Disgusting.

  10. My husband inquires, are you looking for the equivalent of Hamms’ among southern campus denizens, or among a non-genteel population of male locals?

    (And I wonder, are you familiar with the fabulous Laurie Anderson song “Hiawatha” on “Strange Angels”? It references the Hamms Beer Song along with a whole slew of other things familiar to persons of our general vintage.)

  11. Robyn: non-genteel, all the way. And then, maybe it would be good to know about the campus denizens, too. So, the long answer: any wisdom he has to impart, I’d like to hear. And Thanks, Tracey, for the chime-in on Pearl.

Comments are closed.