The Schlafly Beer Employee Blog

July 1, 2017

Top Fermentation - July 2017


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

Good morning, little school girl.
Can I go home with you?
Tell your mother and your father,
I’m a little school boy too.

I’m not quite sure when I first heard the classic blues song “Good Morning Little School Girl” or whether the version I heard first was recorded by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters or someone else. Whichever version I heard first, it made a great impression on me when I was a little school boy. At the same time I was also quite taken by Bessie Smith’s lyrics reflecting a female perspective:

I need a little sugar in my bowl.
I need a little hot dog on my roll.

By the time I got to college I had become an aficionado of blues and even wrote a paper about Howlin’ Wolf for a course called “The History of Jazz.”  Howlin’ Wolf’s given name was Chester Arthur Burnett, meaning he and Muddy Waters (aka McKinley Morganfield) were both originally named for U. S. presidents.

It was while I was away at college that The St. Louis Blues hockey team was founded.  At the time hockey to me still meant field hockey, a game played primarily by girls. Ice hockey was the game played in six cities north and east of St. Louis in the United States and Canada.  The arrival of the Blues broadened my horizons.  Originally I was attracted to their iconic logo emblematic of one of a great musical genre indigenous to St. Louis.  A half-century later my appreciation for hockey has become a lot more knowledgeable; my appreciation for blues is undiminished; and I think the Blue Note is one of the best logos in professional sports.

As some alert readers (ARs) undoubtedly know, my opinion about the merits of the Blue Note has been less than impartial since I invested in the team five years ago.  I’ve often made a point of wearing a Blues lapel pin, with some interesting results. 

Back in May I was wearing the pin at a reception at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.  (It’s a long story why I was at the reception in the first place; but on the same night I later had dinner at a nearby restaurant, where I witnessed a bizarre spectacle involving accusations of adultery and a thrown wine bottle that some ARs may recall from last month’s column.)

bluenoteBeloved in New Brunswick. Recognized in Cologne.


Before I left the Embassy a man named Shawn Graham approached me, noted my lapel pin and told me that everyone in his home town loved the Blues.  It turned out that he was the former premier of New Brunswick and lived not far away from where Blues goalie Jake Allen had grown up.  Because Allen is the most prominent player in the NHL from New Brunswick (and perhaps the only one currently playing) people in his home province will be ardent supporters of any team for which he plays.  Premier Graham recently proved his point by sending me a complimentary story about Jake and the Blues that had appeared in The Daily Gleaner, a local paper.

A few weeks later I was in Cologne, Germany, where my wife grew up and still has friends and family. We happened to be there at the same time as the World Ice Hockey Championship.  (In Germany, as was the case in St. Louis when I was growing up, field hockey is more popular than ice hockey.  Hockey still means field hockey.  The qualifier “ice” is needed to specify the sport played by teams in the NHL.)  We hosted a party on Saturday night at The Gaffel Haus (the home of a Kolsch that tastes a lot like Schlafly Kolsch) and went to the championship game the following day.

Because Donna Lembke, who works for the Blues, helped open some doors, Ulrike and I had access to a VIP reception with an abundant buffet and well stocked bar.  While I was filling up my plate a gentleman next to me said, “I love St. Louis.”  Considering that we had seen no other Americans all day, I was a bit surprised.  It turned out, the gentleman was a doctor from Switzerland named Bert Viliger, a member of the Swiss Hockey Federation. He’s currently the medical director of the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) and oversees the anti-doping program. He recognized the Blues logo because he and his wife Veronica (Nicki) lived in St; Louis from 1979 to 1982 while he was doing a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Barnes Hospital.  Thirty-five years later both spoke very fondly of their time in the Lou.

The early rounds of the World Ice Hockey Championship had been played both in Cologne and in Paris, which is also not a hotbed of hockey.  In fact, while Ulrike and I were in Cologne,  France was much more focused on its recent presidential election than on the hockey championship or any other sporting event for that matter. As most ARs will recall, French voters overwhelmingly elected Emmanuel Macron, who is only 39 years old, making him younger than some players in the NHL.

Brigitte Macron, the French first lady, is 64 years old, making her older than most coaches in the NHL and 25 years older than her husband. Brigitte and Emmanuel began their romantic relationship when he was a little school boy, about the same age I was when I first developed an appreciation for the blues.  She was teaching French and Latin at the Jesuit high school he attended in Amiens.  At the time she was married with three children.  One can imagine Brigitte crooning to young Emmanuel in the hallways 25 years ago:

Good morning, little school boy.
Will you come home with me?
I’ll tell my husband and children
I got a new family.


Tom Schlafly