| A Classic Returns
by Eddie d'Noir
Hello Bob -
I go back quite a ways, long before the craft beer revolution. It was
a time when you thought you were drinking a good beer because in
reality you didn't now any better since just about all the beers were
lagers and tasted the same. I've long since become a craft drinker
but still have a place in my heart for my favorite beer as a kid.
Guess what? It's back and I can't wait to pick up a six pack.
It had one of the most memorable slogans (and jingles) in beer
advertising history.“The One Beer to Have When You’re Having
More Than One!” Check it out on youtube and sing along. The beer
of course is Schaefer. Back in the day it was truly an iconic
American lager that called New York City home for more than
century, The modern version will now be brewed at the F.X. Matt
(Saranac) Brewing Co. in Utica.
It has an interesting history. The original Schaefer Beer was founded
in New York City in 1842, and was last brewed in New York state in
1976. (It was later brewed for a while in Allentown, Pa.) And in this
convoluted world of the modern beer business, the brand is now
owned by Pabst Brewing. Yes, that Pabst, once one of the famous
breweries in Milwaukee and the nation. Today Pabst is a company
that owns many legacy beer brands (Blue Ribbon, Stroh’s, Old Style
etc.) but has no major production brewery of its own.
So Pabst is paying F.X. Matt Brewing to brew the beer under
contract.In addition to its own beers (Utica Club and the Saranac
line), Matt Brewing has a long history of contract brewing for other
companies, from Brooklyn Brewery to its most recent venture, The
Finnish Long Drink.
This is also not Matt Brewing’s first foray into helping resurrect a
legacy New York City brand. In the early 2000s, it produced
Rheingold Beer, another 19th century New York brand that had
disappeared. I enjoyed the original Rheingold but never liked it as
much as Schafer.
The new Schaefer Beer is a classic “light” American lager (light in
the sense of weight and color). It’s also just 3.8% alcohol, making it
one of the lowest alcohol beers on the market. Today with so many
low alcohol beers selling well their it should suit them well. Obviously
today I'd call it a “session” beer. You can consume quite a few of
them in a drinking session. (As indicated in the old slogan). It's not
going to be my everyday drink but it will be fun "when I'm having
more than one".
As a real New Yorker I can tell you that Schaefer’s legacy here in the
city includes some iconic things. It was the long-term sponsor of the
Brooklyn Dodgers when they played at Ebbets Field. It also
sponsored the New York Mets, and was featured at the 1964 World’s
Fair in New York, where its pairing with a burger drew huge lines.
Oddly, it also lent its name to the former home of the New England
Patriots in the 1970s and ’80s. Schaefer Stadium later became
Sometimes beer should be fun and if it brings back some memories
count that as a bonus. Schaefer fits that bill for me. For those who
remember it and those who have never heard of it I suggest you
consider giving it a try. It may not be craft but it is classic.
Thanks for reading this. Cheers and best wishes.
Thanks Eddie for a most interesting and informative article. Those
classic American lagers have a significant place in beer history and I'm
happy for their fans than one of the most well known brands is coming
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer in any way just as Eddie did. I select the best
and publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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