Jim Dykstra's picture

Father's Day: Memories Make the Beer Good

Brickskeller Beer Can Wall, Beer Connoisseur, Bar
Part of The Brickskeller's Extensive Collection (Photo Credit: https://perfectbeers.wordpress.com/)

There was a time when the legal drinking age was 18, and for the layman, beer was more for function than form.

Such has been the case for my father. He has shambled through the hallowed halls of D.C.’s Brickskeller, which once held the Guinness World Record for having the largest commercially available selection of beers. He has sipped gold with diamonds in his eyes – liquid gold and baseball diamonds -- but I can guarantee the beers he drank didn’t cost more than a couple nickels.

For example, he lists Bartel’s Beer as an early favorite, which he remembers coming from Passaic, New Jersey. Bartel’s was $2.95 a case in 1975, plus a 49 cent deposit – a penny per bottle and 25 Pops at Bat - Circa: 1980'scents for the wooden case. “It was awful,” he recalls. For that price I’m sure it went down sweet.

Speaking of saccharine nectar, Miller High Life was a staple during sweltering summer ballgames with his beloved Greenpeace Sea Slugs team. Slugging and chugging were one and the same, as someone always supplied “a huge aluminum tub full of ice and tiny seven-ounce bottles of High Life,” he said. “They were dee-licious.”

The headlines read: "Slugs' bats powered by ponies."

Lately, the focus of the beer drinking world has been on flavor, which is great, but it may be detracting from the other half of beer enjoyment – the setting.

Beer drinkers of decades past, including my father, knew this well.

Will Miller High Life make waves at the GABF this year? Probably not. However, it will satisfy a million sweaty softball players, beet-red roofers and parched partygoers. It’ll flow at ballgames and barbecues, serving as the glint in the eye of young lovers and old friends, and occasionally in 30-year-old photos you find on Facebook.

If you find yourself caught between a Rolling Rock and a hard place, beer selection-wise, do what Pops would do and make the best of the situation. Oftentimes it’s the memories that make the beer good.

(In honor of Father’s Day and our Kickstarter, the BC online staff are writing about the role beer played in their fathers’ lives.)