"Beer is Only Rented"
..... is a line all beer drinkers have heard in
public restrooms, along with "I've got to tap a
kidney". Previous "Beer My Way" articles have
all dealt with the culture of beer as it relates to
history, music, travel, health and other positive
aspects of America's favorite beverage, in
addition to its actual ingestion. However, as we
all know, ingestion of enough of it soon causes
a definite need to relieve oneself and therefore
a need for an article about that necessary
requirement of drinking beer.
One of the biggest beer drinking states is
Wisconsin, fittingly, home of the world's largest
urinal, described in the Beer My Way article,
"Big Beers". It's prodigious size earns it a
rightful place in the proud history of New
Glarus, but no matter how large it's still only
The tremendous troughs in the bleachers at the
old Polo Grounds accommodated many more
Schaefer drinkers than New Glarus' claim to
fame could ever hope to. But even those
lengthy troughs paled by comparison to the
temporary comfort station set up at Broad and
Washington for the New Year's Day Philadelphia
Mummers Parade that I proudly marched in.
We Mummers like to drink beer and the
Mummers Parade lasts from 8am to well after
dark, creating a need for such a convenience at
the approximate halfway point. But mummers
also wear huge feathered backpieces, making
the use of porta-johns impractical and which
would be too time consuming to remove. Hence
the erection of a four sided, roofless, plywood
structure with V-shaped troughs on all four
sides running downhill into the street. Thus,
parade participants were able to unload rented
beer without delaying the parade.
Needless to say, even during the glory days of
the parade in the 1950's and '60's, there
weren't a lot of spectators seated on the curb
at Broad and Washington.
Under the bar urinals, the most practical way to
tap a kidney, enabled beer drinkers in
pre-prohibition Pennsylvania to save time and
energy by doing so without leaving the bar.
Although I like history and tradition, this is one
aspect of beer history I'm glad is gone.
Some tavern owners thoughtfully place the
sports pages above the urinals in their men's
rooms so their patrons can check out the scores
while performing their beer-induced bodily
functions. Such thoughtfulness is particularly
useful to the sufferer of an enlarged prostate
who has not yet discovered Flo-Max!
Another men's room diversion was a little
pinwheel in the urinal which, if the kidney
tapper had a good aim, would spin and reveal
his fortune. Thirty years ago, my little boy
loved this attraction at the Dutchman's
Brauhaus near Long Beach Island, NJ. The
Dutchman's serves a great selection of on tap
German beer, which alone is reason enough for
a visit in addition to the outstanding German
and Jersey Shore cuisine.
After a day on the beach, my wife and I
stopped in last September after a hiatus of
almost ten years. I was happy to see that some
things never change: the little pinwheels were
still there. The reader should know that I had
three huge steins of a variety of beers from
Germany, but only I know how many times my
fortune was told!
Male beer drinkers are not the only sex
requiring tapping of the beer-filled kidney. Two
examples of distaff beer renters were
experienced by my male-only mummers band.
This past spring, while on the annual St.
Patrick's Day Mummers Pub Crawl, several band
members, dodging the line for the men's room,
went out into the alley at the rear of the pub
on the latest stop, and were immediately
greeted by a row of pub-crawling ladies who
apparently had the same idea.
And in Dusseldorf, Germany, while waiting for a
parade to begin, we were amazed to witness an
all girl band emerge from their restroomless
bus, squat down, and begin to examine the
tires in broad daylight. When ya gotta go...ya
Eliminating rented beer offers a venue for
bragging rights, as in the two Texans, who after
downing a dozen cans of Lone Star, found
themselves peeing over the side of a bridge.
One braggart remarked to his buddy "Gawd,
that water's sure cold", to which his partner
replied "Yeah.... and deep, too!"
In addition to bragging rights, emptying the
bladder of rented beer offers beer drinkers a
great opportunity for political commentary.
Shortly after September 11th when the French,
who have contributed nothing to the betterment
of the world since Lafayette, refused to allow
our planes in their airspace, craft beer lovers at
the Gaslight found replicas of the French flag in
the same location as the Dutchman's pinwheels.
Another establishment I visited allowed
drinkers to show their displeasure with Osama
bin Laden in the same manner, definitely more
direct and to the point than talking about it!
That's all for now.....time to tap a kidney!
has to say
and it could
Click on picturesto enlarge
Beer My Way.........
Beernexus.com proudly presents....DAN HODGE, beer reviewer, historian and raconteur
anything and everything about beer
by Dan Hodge
The famous New Glarus urinal.