The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
The Chilton Club in Boston is housed in a magnificent clubhouse on Commonwealth Avenue. It was founded in 1910 as a club for women who wanted to partake of wine and liquor, unlike the prohibitionist members of the Mayflower Club. It was named for Mary Chilton, the first woman to disembark from the Mayflower and the only passenger on the ship to leave Plymouth and settle in Boston. When the club applied for a liquor license in 1911 it was denounced by the Rev. Cortland Myers, the pastor of the Tremont Temple, as “the vestibule of Hell.” As alert readers (ARs) familiar with Dante’s Inferno undoubtedly know, Myers was referring to the place where the souls of the uncommitted were consigned, along with the outcast angels who refused to take sides in Lucifer’s rebellion.
For more than a century the Chilton Club has maintained a tradition of intellectual discourse and scholarly lectures, often by professors from nearby Harvard University. I was therefore extremely honored when I was recently invited to speak at the club. About beer. That’s right. One day after an eminent scholar addressed the membership on an erudite topic I can’t recall, I gave a talk about beer. And my talk sold out immediately, unlike that of the eminent scholar. Granted, my presentation featured several styles of Schlafly Beer that were paired with culinary masterpieces from the club’s chef. But still.
Five days after my talk at the Chilton Club I visited another East Coast landmark, to wit, Jay’s Elbow Room on Route 73 in Maple Shade, New Jersey. ARs who are not familiar with this fine establishment might be interested in knowing that it was recently recognized as “The Best Dive Bar in New Jersey,” beating the runner-up in the category by 1,000 votes. Tommy Michaux, the proprietor, put up posters promoting my visit and had multiple taps pouring Schlafly. At the end of the evening he said that he normally rotated tap handles on a regular basis, but he would make an exception for Schlafly and dedicate one tap to our beer for the next year. I would encourage any ARs who happen to be in the vicinity to drop by and order a Schlafly; and let Tommy know how much you appreciate the availability of our fine beer from St. Louis in the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Another spot worth visiting on the East Coast is Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant at 18 West 33rd Street in Manhattan, across the street from the Empire State Building. Foley’s describes itself as “the premiere baseball bar in New York City” and is the preferred gathering spot for Cardinals fans in the Big Apple. Be forewarned that when Cardinals games are on TV the line can extend out onto the sidewalk, just like Studio 54 in a bygone era.
Once you make it inside, you can order a Schlafly, which the owner Shaun Clancy has agreed to provide for his St. Louis-based clientele. You can also have a “Schlafly Burger” from the Foley’s kitchen with St. Louis favorites toasted ravioli and Provel cheese. Finally, you’ll be able to see a baseball signed by yours truly in a display case along with an umpire’s World Series ring from 2011 and a bottle of Schlafly Holliday Red Lager signed by Matt Holliday.
ARs who are serious about Cardinals history may have realized that May 12th was the 50th anniversary of the first baseball game in Busch Stadium II, which replaced Busch Stadium I, FKA Sportsman’s Park, and was itself replaced by Busch Stadium III 40 years later. What most ARs probably don’t recall is that an AR named Eric von Schrader caught the first home run hit in the stadium (in the 6th inning off the bat of Felipe Alou of the Atlanta Braves). The reason I remember this home run a half-century later is that Eric was a good friend at the time and still is. Our friendship dates back to his fifth birthday party, which I attended in 1954.
Eric’s first and only son was born 24 years after this historic home run, on May 6, 1990. ARs whose knowledge of baseball history extends beyond the Cardinals may realize that this was Willie Mays’s 59th birthday, which inspired Eric to name his son Willie, AKA William and now Will.
Will has since grown up and has spread the news about Schlafly Beer to someplace far more exotic than Boston, New York or South Jersey, namely Mongolia. That’s right, Mongolia. After graduating from DePaul University, Will joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Mongolia. Upon completing his service there, he will head for the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he will pursue a graduate degree in international development. It should be noted that his studies will be partially funded by a scholarship from Rotary International, facilitated by an AR named Jim Smith, a member of the Des Peres Rotary Club.
Mongolia may be best known for Genghis Khan, who assembled the Mongol Empire eight centuries ago. Most ARs have probably also heard of Genghis’s grandson Kublai Khan, who founded the Yuan Dynasty in China and whose realm extended from the Pacific to the Black Sea and from Siberia to modern day Afghanistan—20% of the world’s inhabited land area. To reign over this vast empire Kublai Khan established his capital in Shangdu, in what is now called Inner Mongolia.
ARs who majored in English (as I did) or even took high school English probably first learned of the city from the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who called it Xanadu in a poem titled “Kubla Khan,” published 200 years ago, in 1816:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree.
Think about it. One of history’s most powerful potentates used his imperial authority to establish a “stately pleasure-dome.” One can only imagine what went on there. The Rev. Cortland Myers would not have approved.