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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Chicago Side: Old Style Fan Bids Can Adieu

1 can of beer on the ivy-covered wall,  1 can of beer.
Take one down, pass it around…no cans of beer left on the ivy-covered wall…

For the Cubs least, there will be a distraction. The season will mark the 100th Anniversary of Wrigley Field, originally Weeghman Park of the Federal League’s Chicago Whales. The Cubs are going to lose a lot of games, so it’s good to pay attention to the ballpark, which probably isn’t to blame. It’s not clear when the Jumbotron is going to land, given the lawyering still going on, but that should provide another welcome distraction. Anything to avoid watching the actual baseball.

Which leads us back at one of the sadder events of the 2014 Cubs season: the last Old Style at Wrigley Field. As I understand it, the Cubs have signed an exclusive deal of some kind with Budweiser, and there will be no more Old Style vendors with their blue plastic trays wandering the stands, no more Old Style taps (all of which seemed to be right next to various men’s rooms. . . ).

On Closing Day back in September, I over-tipped one of the vendors in the first inning.  “Come back with your last tray,” I told him and he agreed.  In the 7th he was back, and, looking around for security, he told me I could keep the can.

I know with dead certainty that this was not the last Old Style sold at Wrigley.  Other vendors were out there, and doubtless the last Old Styles were drained long after the game’s end, in the counting room where they shrink-wrap pallets of cash for loading with forklifts into armored cars.  But it was my last Old Style at Wrigley . . . not good beer, but our beer.

Repoz Posted: November 05, 2013 at 09:47 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 05, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4594123)
I remember a similar type of story being written when County Stadium stopped vending the Pabst 'fast fills' these were tap beers sold by vendors in the stands. There was outrage for a little bit, and then people realized they hadn't banned all beer, just transitioned to cans.

This surprises me. Even Coors Field (and Miller Park) sell products outside the parent co. brands.
   2. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4594135)
What is it with Cubs fans that they crave familiarity over quality? "It isn't good beer, but I'm used to it. It isn't good baseball, but I'm used to it."
   3. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: November 05, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4594154)
I'm a Cubs fan and I don't get it. I drank Old Style for a while because it was the cheapest beer at our local store. I absolutely hated it though, and I have no problem with most bad beers.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: November 05, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4594157)
This surprises me. Even Coors Field (and Miller Park) sell products outside the parent co. brands.

Well, there are carts at various places in Wrigley that sell stuff like Beck's, Guinness, Tecate, Corona, etc in cans. But Anheuser Busch products and Old Style have been it for the on-tap offerings.
   5. TerpNats Posted: November 05, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4594164)
Does U.S. Cellular sell Old Style? Not that any North Sider worth his or her salt would dare journey down there.
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: November 05, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4594177)
Seems to me the Cell sells mostly Miller products; pretty sure they don't sell Old Style.
   7. Pooty Lederhosen Posted: November 05, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4594268)
Seems to me the Cell sells mostly Miller products; pretty sure they don't sell Old Style.

Affirmative. Miller, Leinies, and imports like Pilsener Urquell. The latter was available from a cart right behind the upper deck section that I sat in often. Good times.
   8. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4594321)
TFA is actually a lot more about the AFL all-star game than the Old Style... to summarize: Kris Bryant really, really sucks.
   9. BDC Posted: November 05, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4594344)
I must at some point in my life have had an Old Style, but I can't remember anything about it. I associate it more with corner tavern signs – the clearest of all indications that you're in Chicago – than with actual consumption.

When I was a little kid in Chicago, the beer I knew most about, thanks to incessant advertising, was Hamms, the Beer Refreshing. From the Land of Sky Blue Waters. Don't remember ever drinking the stuff once I grew up, though. Schlitz, yes; even Blatz, but not the two Chicago standbys.
   10. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4594372)
Old Style is croisened... which, I believe, means lightly urinated.

Actually, there is a dive bar on Western Ave whose name I forget that has a very fine 'mini-pitcher' Old Style deal... For like $3, you get what amounts to a mini-pitcher (if I had to guestimate, it's about 1/3 to 1/2 a standard size pitcher) and a mug. Even though I have fortunately graduated to a level of affluence where paying $3.50, even $4 for a drink just means a few ramen noodle dinners -- I still enjoy buying my very own mini-pitcher.
   11. salvomania Posted: November 05, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4594425)
I associate it more with corner tavern signs – the clearest of all indications that you're in Chicago

The last Chicago neighborhood I lived in had Old Style signs reading "ZIMNE PIWO."
   12. salvomania Posted: November 05, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4594429)
Old Style is croisened

I'm pretty sure it's "krausened", with an umlaut over the a, which I don't know how to make in HTML.
   13. BDC Posted: November 05, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4594440)
ä = ampersand auml semicolon (without spaces)
   14. salvomania Posted: November 05, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4594506)
ä

Thanks, BDC---it works!
   15. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4594523)
Is there a native Chicago beer? Old Style is from LaCrosse and Hamm's from Minnesota. The Heileman Brewery was my first brewery tour and they served me without checking ID despite being just 17 years old.
   16. McCoy Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4594547)
Just finished installing a 12 line tap system in our bar, yea!

The beer I'm really into right now is Lexington's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Simply an awesome tasting beer.
   17. Traderdave Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4594548)
Peter Hand?
   18. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4594552)
Is there a native Chicago beer? Old Style is from LaCrosse and Hamm's from Minnesota. The Heileman Brewery was my first brewery tour and they served me without checking ID despite being just 17 years old.


Nothing among the big macros that I'm aware of... I think Pabst used to have a suburban brewery... and IIRC, once upon meister brau was Chicago based before Heilmann or Miller or someone bought it.

Other than that, you're talking relatively recent vintage micros/would-be micros.... Goose Island, Half Acre, etc...
   19. McCoy Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4594558)
Is there a native Chicago beer? Old Style is from LaCrosse and Hamm's from Minnesota.

The great Chicago Fire killed off a lot of the breweries in Chicago and those that sprung up after or survived the fire were mostly killed by Prohibition.

Meister Brau was big in the city and eventually Miller would buy the company and turn it into Miller Lite.
   20. Sonic Youk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4594561)
Actually, there is a dive bar on Western Ave whose name I forget that has a very fine 'mini-pitcher' Old Style deal... For like $3, you get what amounts to a mini-pitcher (if I had to guestimate, it's about 1/3 to 1/2 a standard size pitcher) and a mug. Even though I have fortunately graduated to a level of affluence where paying $3.50, even $4 for a drink just means a few ramen noodle dinners -- I still enjoy buying my very own mini-pitcher.


sounds like the Mutiny
   21. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4594569)
sounds like the Mutiny


Holy ####... yes... that's it exactly.

The last time I stumbled in there with a buddy, we ended up talking to this girl at the bar who we eventually found out was buddy's cousin... Somehow the subject of family reunions came up and they both began telling familiar stories of the same strange uncle.
   22. Spahn Insane Posted: November 05, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4594585)
Other than that, you're talking relatively recent vintage micros/would-be micros.... Goose Island, Half Acre, etc...

There's a mess of good breweries in the Chicago area now: Goose, Half Acre, Revolution, Metropolitan, 5 Rabbit, Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Wild Onion...there's a sour beer specialty brewery called Break Room set to open in January in my neighborhood (Albany Park).
   23. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4594599)

There's a mess of good breweries in the Chicago area now: Goose, Half Acre, Revolution, Metropolitan, 5 Rabbit, Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Wild Onion...there's a sour beer specialty brewery called Break Room set to open in January in my neighborhood (Albany Park).


Yeah - absolutely... it's a truly golden age for smaller Chicago breweries... I think Half Acre alone would be enough to keep me happy... but there are at least 3 others that I imbibe regularly and with gusto. Even the buyout of Goose barely registers a ripple.
   24. Cabbage Posted: November 05, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4594610)
Agreed on Chicago's little craft beer springtime. There are reports of very small operations popping up all over the city -- I've been meaning to stop into the new place over in Portage Park.

Chicago Beer Thoughts:
- I probably buy Half Acre's Daisycutter more than any other local craft
- The slightly psychedelic Three Floyd's Tap Room is probably my preferred brewpub. That might be because I can also buy fireworks when I make the trip to NW Indiana.
- Goose Island is certainly the most bipolar of the area breweries. This year's Christmas Brown, "Sixth Day" is very tasty. 312 is one of the worst beers in the world. I usually use Honker's Ale in my chili.
- Old Style is still my preferred beer for summertime weekend warrior drink-and-use-power-tools sessions.
   25. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: November 05, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4594615)
The new (actually not sure if it's new) Half Acre Lager is very good.
   26. zonk Posted: November 05, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4594618)
I usually use Honker's Ale in my chili.


Ha! Me too.

Like every male over the age of 30, I have a personal chili recipe self-branded as the greatest chili on earth which more than likely actually sucks.
   27. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 05, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4594710)
Meister Brau was big in the city and eventually Miller would buy the company and turn it into Miller Lite.


Mister Beer, as we used to call it was still packaged and sold on its own well into the 80s along side Miller Lite, er 'Lite Beer from Miller', I can't recall the last time I saw a can of it though. I also remember they sold little 8 oz. cans, much in the same way the 'grenades' or ponies of 8oz Lite and High Life are still sold.
   28. Shredder Posted: November 05, 2013 at 09:57 PM (#4594732)
Along with all of the native Chicago beers, Lagunitas is set to open a huge operation in Chicago. Half Acre's Daisy Cutter is still a go-to, but the rest of thei line sort of tastes the same. Revolution is pretty solid. Pipeworks is probably the best brewery in the city right now. We'll see how well to they do when they get their barrel aging program rolling.

For my money, though, the best brewery on the planet right now is Firestone Walker. Kicking myself that I didn't stop on the way down from Los Gatos to Pasadena yesterday.

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