The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
This November marks the end of the Michael Bloomberg era in New York City. Bloomberg’s time as mayor will best be remembered for three reasons: first, his “stop and frisk” program, which some critics denounced as racial profiling; second, his health initiative to limit the servings of soft drinks New Yorkers would be allowed to consume; and third, his donations of millions of dollars to defeat politicians outside New York who disagreed with his views on gun control. Less well known is Mayor Bloomberg’s unfriendly attitude towards beer and beer drinkers.
Alert readers (ARs) may recall my writing about NYC’s double standard for wine and beer. City ordinances prohibit the consumption of alcohol in City parks. These ordinances have been strictly enforced against beer drinkers on beaches in Queens. At the same time, photographs have been published of concert goers in Central Park drinking wine in the presence of Mayor Bloomberg. The explanation from City Hall was that wine is different from beer. Yes, it is. Wine is both more expensive than beer and has a higher alcohol content.
Despite the snootiness of some oenophiles with respect to beer, I’m pleased to point out that St. Louis is home to at least one award-winning food critic who is an aficionado of both beer in general and Schlafly Beer in particular. Kellie Hynes, who is also an AR, writes a column for Sauce Magazine that was recently recognized by the Association of Food Journalists as the Best Food Column for 2013.
Kellie is part of a great tradition of food writers in St. Louis, a lineage that includes Irma Rombauer, whose Joy of Cooking has sold over 18 million copies and has provided recipes for billions upon billions of meals all over the world. Kellie, like Irma, knows what she’s talking about. She’s a true connoisseur of fine cuisine and tasty beverages. It’s no surprise that she has high praise for what is now the largest and oldest American-owned brewery in the state of Missouri.
One of the candidates to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York is Joe Lhota, who, like me, is a graduate of Georgetown University. Unlike me, Joe has actually done something about starting a Beer Drinkers Party instead of simply talking and writing about doing it (which most ARs know I’ve done through several election cycles). Back in his undergraduate days Joe was elected to the Student Senate on a platform of lowering the price of beer in the student pub on campus.
Given Joe’s record as an advocate for beer drinkers, he probably would have been impressed by what happened on October 3rd about a mile west of the Georgetown campus. Schlafly Beer was served at the German Embassy. The occasion was the celebration of German Unity Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit) with approximately 2,000 guests in attendance. In addition to food from all over Germany there were a dozen or so German beers being poured. Schlafly was the only non-German beer on the premises.
The entertainment that evening included Bill Danoff, who was two years ahead of me in college and performed at The Cellar Door and other venues around Washington. I had last seen him in September of 1970, when I was living at 3070 Q Street in Georgetown and he was living next door at 3072 Q Street with his girlfriend Taffy Nivert. I saw them getting into a car and asked where they were going. Taffy replied, “We’re going to New York to cut a record with John Denver.” I was extremely skeptical and forgot about the conversation until about a year later when I read in the alumni magazine that he had written “Country Roads”, which had by then become extremely popular. For reasons I never quite understood it also became a staple at the Munich Oktoberfest, perhaps accounting for his performing at the German Embassy, where he did three encores of the song.
Another of Bill’s well known songs was “Afternoon Delight”, which he and Taffy recorded as members of The Starland Vocal Band. The title was inspired by the happy hour menu at Clyde’s, a Georgetown watering hole that opened 50 years ago and is still around. Having patronized Clyde’s frequently as an undergraduate and as a law student, I still recall a menu that was tasty and caloric. Luckily, Michael Bloomberg wasn’t the mayor of Washington in the 1970s. His food police might have found some reason to close the place.