The Schlafly Beer Employee Blog

May 1, 2017

Top Fermentation - May 2017


The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly

April of 2017 marked an historic milestone in the City of St. Louis with the election of Lyda Krewson as the City’s first woman mayor.  She is the fifth mayor since the Schlafly Brewery was founded in 1991. Her four predecessors, in order, were Vincent Schoemehl, Freeman Bosley, Jr., Clarence Harmon and Francis Slay.  Among the other things these gentlemen have in common, each of them appointed me to the Board of The St. Louis Public Library at least once in the past 33 years.

One of the many issues on Mayor Krewson’s plate is climate change.  While this is usually considered a national or international issue, it’s also local.  As I noted in this space last month, Schlafly was proud to be a sponsor of the St. Louis Earth Day Festival.  It’s in this spirit that I’m pleased to present some climate data of which most alert readers (ARs) are probably not aware. I should add that the data in question are readily available, but most ARs simply haven’t paid much attention to them.  I’m referring to the temperature charts on the monthly statements from Ameren Missouri.

What these data show is that May is cooler than November in St. Louis.  Not only that, June is also cooler than November.  I am not making this up.  If you don’t believe me, you can look it up.  According to my most recent bill from Ameren, the average temperature in November of 2016 in St. Louis was 66 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with average temperatures of 59 and 64 in May and June respectively.

Admittedly, some ARs may find these numbers unsettling. Lots of people start barbecuing and drinking beer outside in May because temperatures are warming up.  Would they still do so if they realized that it’s actually warmer on their patios in November than it is in May?  Would they still enjoy it?  While this may be an inconvenient truth for those of us who promote beer at outdoor barbecues, this column’s commitment to journalistic integrity requires that it be published, whatever the consequences.

In addition to barbecuing and drinking beer, horse racing is another traditional activity that takes place outdoors in May and June, especially the so-called Triple Crown: The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.    These races will respectively take place in 2017 on May 6th, May 20th and June 10th, all in towns where fans can find Schlafly Beer.  The last horse to win The Triple Crown was American Pharoah in 2015.  He had qualified for these races by winning the Arkansas Derby, at  Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, where Schlafly had a concession stand in the infield.


lyda-krewson-st-louis-mayor-candidate-500Shattered the glass ceiling in St. Louis. (Lyda Krewson & Mike Owens)


As I have written in this space in the past, I was not the first Schlafly to sell beverages in Hot Springs. My great grandfather August, grandfather Fred and father Daniel all served as president of Mountain Valley Water.  As I have also written in this space, my maternal grandfather, Birch Oliver Mahaffey, had a much more adventurous career.  In the early 20th century, while August Schlafly was soaking in the baths in Hot Springs and putting together a deal to buy Mountain Valley, Birch Mahaffey was in Ecuador helping build the railroad from Guayaquil to Quito. What I have not previously written, and did not know until very recently, was that Birch Mahaffey apparently had a family in Ecuador long before he married my grandmother in the United States.  I am not making this up.

A couple of months ago I stumbled on a posting on a genealogy website by a woman from Ecuador who said she was the great granddaughter of Birch Oliver Mahaffey.  After an exchange of emails I learned that her great grandmother was Eugenia Gonzalez, whose family owned a hotel in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  That was apparently where Eugenia met Birch, with whom she had two children, one of whom survived.  At this point I have not seen any official records to confirm the story, but it strikes me as very plausible for a number of reasons.

Back to the world of horse racing,  I am not prepared to advise any ARs  how to bet on any race in the Triple Crown. There is, however, a prediction I can make with almost absolute certainty.  The winner of every race will be a descendant of Mr. Darley’s Arabian, just like almost all of the winners of The Arkansas Derby, The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes since their respective inceptions.  According to Christopher McGrath, a racing correspondent for The Independent of London, 95% of all thoroughbreds today trace their lineage to this Arabian stallion born in 1700 and smuggled to England.  After arriving in the British Isles the legendary stud started sharing his speed genes with scores of sluggish English mares, who in turn passed them on to subsequent generations of equines for more than three centuries.

Horse racing is still very popular in Saudi Arabia, even though spectators can’t enjoy a Schlafly Beer or any other alcoholic beverage without the fear of being flogged.  That said, life in the desert kingdom isn’t quite as oppressive as it used to be.  Ever since 2015 women have had a limited right to vote in local elections and even to hold some local offices.  Unlike Lyda Krewson, however, they still aren’t allowed to drive themselves to the polls.


Tom Schlafly