Tuesday was National Beer Day and I have a problem with that.
Why wasn’t I informed?
Or I should say, informed in advance.
I learned about it midway through the morning via a text from my wife who heard about it on Good Morning America. That was a bit late for making suitable plans.
The best I could do was grab a few with a buddy after work at the Tomato Bar in downtown Pittston. I started with a pint of Smithwick’s (pronounced Smit-ix) Irish Ale, then a Goose Island IPA and finally a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in honor of my son. One Father’s Day I visited him in Savannah, Georgia, where he was attending college, and we had an impromptu cookout with a few of his friends. I supplied, at Michael’s suggestion, a case of Newcastle. It was one of the greatest nights of my life and the beer became yet another bond between us.
The Tomato Bar was an appropriate venue to recognize Beer Day since this is where I drank several (gallons, I suppose) of my first beers nearly 45 years ago. It’s was called Lou’s Place then after Lou Sebia bought it from Frankie Roman.
One of the brands we drank there in the early ’70s was Fife & Drum, brewed by Genesee, which according to a quick Google search, they still distribute. That took me by surprise.
Fife & Drum had a promotion which all us young guys bought right into. They provided Lou with glass-bottomed pewter mugs to be personalized with a customer’s name engraved on the side. All the regulars had one and they’d hang on hooks behind the bar (the mugs, not the customers). When you walked in, the barkeep would grab your personalized mug and pull you a draft of Fife & Drum. That was so cool.
What did Fife & Drum taste like? Beer, I guess. We weren’t picky then.
Still, tracking down a case of Fife & Drum for old time’s sake is the kind of thing one might want to do to celebrate National Beer Day. But that would take being informed in time.
Note: April 7 is National Beer Day because that’s the date in 1933 on which it became legal, after the first steps were taken to repeal Prohibition, to drink beer. It had been 13 years between cold ones. And I thought giving it up for Lent was tough.