A somewhat strange thing happened in Chicago last week. Something that is strange but really makes sense when you think about it. What is old is what is new.
For me, it started at lunch on Saturday. I had just gotten into town and met up with my friend Heather. Before meeting up with everyone else we went off to get something to eat. Our first choice was one of Chicago's best burger joints, Kuma's Corner. Not only is the food good but the burgers are named after heavy metal bands. You can eat a Slayer, Mastodon, Metallica, or Judas Priest burger as you listen to guitars blare throughout the tavern. My kind of place. Except it was packed and we were told it could be a 2 hour wait. Ugh. Not good.
So we went closer to the bar everyone was going to meet at and ate at a BBQ place called the Pitchfork. That is where things took a turn. Like normal, I ordered a beer. After looking at the selection I went with.... Leinenkugel's Original. Yep. I passed on Goose Island, 3 Floyds, and some import for an older Wisconsin beer. My rationale was twofold. I would be drinking the other stuff all weekend and hell, I like Leinie's Original.
After lunch we would go to the "lesbian" bar. I started off with a local Russian Imperial Stout and moved on to one of my favorites, Rogue Dead Guy. I stayed with the Rogue most of the time but tried another local as well as the Bell's Porter. But there was a revolution happening around me. It with a comment about a glass and before you know it, a good number of our group was drinking Schlitz. I had one myself. Soon people were talking about how Pabst was a big beer in Japan and how the price has gone up as the hipsters have taken to it. Schlitz was marching right behind it.
But it didn't stop there. On Sunday, we congregated at a sports bar in downtown Chicago. Somewhere along the way it was discovered that they had cans of Hamm's available. What? I could have been drinking Hamm's???? Of course the theme song had to be song. Most didn't know the whole song but were familiar with the falsetto "waters" part. Soon the "Hammtini" was invented and the beer was being drunk out of martini glasses. I wouldn't be surprised if they drank the bar out of Hamm's that night.
But it is a pretty amazing phenomena that Pabst Brewing has created. By taking some of these old brands and making the beer the way it was meant to be brewed- not the cheap versions that put the brewery out of business years ago- they have hit on nostalgia and a decent beer. American palates have changed with the rise of craft beers. With it comes the rise in popularity of beers like Pabst, Schlitz, and Hamm's that taste, well, like beer.
It's about time too!