I've had a love affair with  beer for all of my
adult life and even back to my kidhood when, as a lad of
eight or nine I would read about Robin Hood and his Merry
Men quaffing "goatskins of good October brewing" and Rip
Van Winkle succumbing to the grip of "humming ale".
While a boy of that age has no business actually drinking
the stuff, I do recall on many occasions begging my father
( who, after the Hensler Brewery closed in 1957,
subsequently became fondly known as "Iron City Bob") for
a "sip", and even at that tender age began to notice
differences in various brews, especially those that came
home after 8:00 PM or on Sunday when the liquor stores
were closed. These beers were of the draught variety and
were poured from cardboard containers dispensed at the
local taproom. The "sips" were small but served to whet
my appetite for what was to come: the aforementioned
life long love affair.

In the past forty years or so I've sampled hundreds,
possibly even a thousand or more beers, collected beer
memorabilia of all kinds, read thousands of pages on the
subject, written many  reviews, lectured about it, visited
brewpubs all over the country, dabbled in making it and
even induced the officers of my string band to do
"Rhapsody in Brew" as our theme in the 2001 Philadelphia
Mummers Parade.

One thing I've never tried is writing about it, so when I
was asked if I'd like to do something for the Beer Nexus ,I
thought "Why not?" I've got fifty years of reminiscences
about it, so maybe I can share a few of these with others.

One which stands out in my memory is the time a case of
Hudepohl saved my sergeant's stripes and therefore
presents us with still another example of how the malt
beverage benefits mankind. In the spring of 1970, I and
fifty other members of the Quantico Marine Band
embarked on a two week parade and concert tour to
boost publicity and recruitment for the United States
Marine Corps. Due to the length of the trip we traveled by
Greyhound instead of our usual USMC bus and thus we
were able to stop, once safely off the base, to stock up
with sufficient quantities of brew to see us through to our
first destination: Louisville, Kentucky. ( Not only is beer on
a USMC bus verboten, while the Greyhound company had
no problem with it, but in addition, the Greyhound had a
restroom into which we eventually transferred all the
cases of Schlitz we had brought aboard.)

Upon our arrival in Louisville we did a parade and a
concert after which we repaired to the hotel bar to have a
beer and do a little "jamming", to the delight of the other
patrons, one of whom was the president of the Falls City
Brewery and who, as a token of his appreciation,
presented each bandsman with a case of his tasty
product. Who says there is no God?. By the time we
reached North Vernon, Indiana (a town famous for
nothing save being the birthplace of President Nixon's
mother), the Falls City was ,alas, gone. On a beautiful
Sunday evening we played our concert and while the last
notes of "Semper Fidelis" and "The Marine's Hymn" were
still echoing in the high school gym, we set out on our
eternal quest to find the local watering hole. Only then did
the grim realization that Indiana was as dry as a bone on
Sunday set in. No amount of begging, cajoling, bribery, or
threats was enough to procure us a brew. Miserably we
sat, still dressed in our dress blues, on benches and
watched pick-ups and custom "rods" circle endlessly
around the town square. Finally one driver pulled to the
curb to find out why we were there. When we asked him if
there were any place to get some beer he replied "Sure!  
Ohio!  Hop in". Quickly passing a hat, we soon amassed
enough money to slake our thirst as well as buy some gas
for our new found savior. I and another guy took off with
him and returned a couple of hours later with ten cases of
Pabst Blue Ribbon and an equal amount of Hudepohl.
Neither of us had previously heard of this flavor but it
sounded good and the price was right.

As the beer was being unloaded into our motel room, the
Band Officer, a captain who also had become painfully
aware of Indiana's Sunday prohibition, wandered by to
check on things and noticed that our blues jackets were
unbuttoned, revealing about a square foot of our T-shirts,
which are the only clothing worn under the "Blues
blouse". His first reaction was to utter the dreaded
words"See me when we get back to the barracks!". The
crime of a Marine appearing in public with his blues blouse
undone is tantamount  to remaining seated and laughing
hysterically during The Marine's Hymn.....a definite no-no!.
Those words meant at best a week of "chipping wax" and
at worst a reduction in rank, depending upon the whim of
the accusing officer. After our great success in procuring
the goods necessary to make our day complete, we were
devasted to learn of the possible cost, but being
resourceful marines, we quickly found the obvious solution.

As the captain was making his mental notes vis a vis our
lapse in proper dress and our envious supply of suds, we
asked if perhaps he would like a case for his own personal
use in his quarters. He considered this proposal for about
three quarters of a second before he decided to cheerfully
accept the offered case of Hudepohl and disappeared
behind his motel room door. Seconds later, before we
could even pop the first top, he reappeared said "Forget
about seeing me back at Quantico, just keep your blouses
buttoned from here on. Semper Fi!" And thus was I able
to end my hitch with sergeant's chevrons securely in
place.! Hudepohl and Bribery....perfect together!
Beer My Way.........
Beernexus.com proudly presents....DAN HODGE, beer reviewer, historian and raconteur
                anything and everything about beer
by   Dan Hodge