Vintage TV Beer Commercials: 100 Beer Commercials of the 1950s & 60s (Schnitzelbank Press)
Take a dip into the wondrous, fantastic black-and-white world where springs run with impossibly pure waters, each smiling businessman is greeted with a kiss by a perfectly coiffed wife and every beer stein runneth over with delectable snowy foam. These vintage commercials, indelibly marked with the era’s penchant for loopy ink animations and authoritatively booming voiceovers, take one back to the heyday of Hamm’s, Schlitz and Genesee.
I confess that I wasn’t alive to witness these original airings, but I know enough to realize that we lost some magic when jingles and earnestly campy advertisements went by the wayside. Opening with the “Only Wiedemann fills the bubbles with flavor, live flavor” ditty, the 90-minute disc meanders through the unbelievable wit of Bert & Harry Piel, Ballantine’s “Who’s the ale man? A man with a thirst for a manlier brew!” and classy ads both clever and sophisticated for Budweiser—way more than you can say for nowadays.
Commercials from over 40 beers, with multiple campaigns for many, run back-to-back for a worthwhile stand-alone viewing or for screening during parties. The footage, reeling off the age’s highs (staunch American brewery pride) and lows (thinly veiled sexist or racist scripting), remains a priceless piece of compiled history that deserves space in any beer fan’s media library. [Available for $14.95 at beerbooks.com]
The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook by John Schlimm
Schlimm, whose family is in its sixth generation of brewers stemming from his great-great-grandfather, Peter Straub, begins his 351-page masterful cooking tome with acknowledgements as such: “When you’re working with a global superstar that is more than 7,000 years old, there’s going to naturally be a millennia’s worth of people to thank,” proceeding with gratitude to Sumerian women, Egyptian pharaohs and “a Founding Father or two.” It sets the conversational, breezy, engaging tone of a writer whose motto essentially boils down to “BEER = FUN!” With more than 10 years in the making of this publication, it better be.
The beautifully designed hardbound book incorporates recipes impressive from a beer perspective or otherwise, with a breadth spanning apple tree pancakes to grilled dove to deep-fried sugar cookies. You certainly can ingest beer “from dawn until dusk,” especially with a sizable chunk dedicated to beer cocktails that would make any mixologist swoon. Beery quotes from notable figures are peppered throughout, from Sir Walter Raleigh to Jay Leno.
Incidentally, there are a few curious microwavable recipes, including beef stew, rye muffins and barbecued turkey drumsticks. Squirrel dinner for two, alas, requires a roasting dish. [Available for $24.95 at your favorite bookseller]
Lagerhead Black & Tan Turtle by Brütül
Although this tool performs well as a stable, stylish stand-in for the crude upside-down spoon that most use to evenly distribute and perfectly layer the “black” (Stout or Porter) over the “tan” (ale, Pilsner, lager or cider)—above all, it’s absolutely adorable. So there.
The India-made, stainless steel turtle etched with shell, hexagonal scales and a fighter’s cry, perches right on top of your pint. With the glass half-full (see, we’re optimists here) of lighter beverage, one pours the heavier stuff right on top of the creature’s back. Soon, he’ll happily be immersed in the malty, hoppy fruit of his labors.
Ten helpful black and tan “recipes” are conveniently located on the back of the cardboard packaging (a temporary reference lest you transcribe it or laminate the sucker), spanning from the classic (Guinness and Bass Ale) to nouveau combos like the Blacktop (Beamish and Fat Tire Amber Ale) and the Dirty Turtle (Guinness and Terrapin Rye Pale Ale).
And, possibly the cleverest design implement of it all, a “snapper bottle opener” lies secretly within Mister Sheldon’s tiny jaws. Therefore, simply sic him on an unassuming brew and then go to work to giving him—and your belly—a rightful beer bath. [Available for $11.95 at brutul.com] ■