by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
“ ‘Beer, beer, beer’, said the privates, happy men are we.. There’s none so fair as can compare to the fighting infantry.” The chorus to a marching song that brings me back to US Army days in Hardheim, Germany. Most will relate to German beer. They have hundreds of breweries over there and home delivery of bottled beer much like the milk delivery in the US in days gone by. Each brewer has a recipe for a concoction of barley, hops, yeast, water, and whatever they think will make their beer popular and unique.
Beer has made its impression on Major League Baseball also with Coors Field in Denver, Miller Park in Milwaukee, and the Anhauser Busch owners in St. Louis. I was allowed a highlight of my life with a trip to Busch Stadium in 1987 for game 5 of the World Series. The pregame started with the Budweiser tune playing while August Busch, a slight man at age 90, was waving to the crowd from his perch on a 30s style beer wagon, pulled by 8 huge Clydesdale horses. Individually, each horse was larger than drock, and 5 of them were better looking. It was a memorable sight as St Louis has always given their fans great baseball and beer.
Beer has also left an imprint on our great sport of bowling. Speaking of St. Louis, I previously wrote about the “Buds of Spring”, The famous Budweiser team of Weber, Carter, Hennessey, Patterson, and Bluth. Their 5 man three game series of 3858 will never be equaled. Yes, higher scores have been recorded recently, but the Budweisers’ score will not be equaled unless we go back to wood lanes and rubber bowling equipment. Stroh’s beer had famous bowling teams in Detroit. Milwaukee was made famous by Schlitz, and I frequently see and chew the hops with Bob Hanson, a member of the very accomplished Hamm’s Beer team of the 60’s and 70’s. Each time I bowl at Elsie’s Bowling Center I pass by the old Grain Belt brewery on Broadway near Marshall in Northeast Minneapolis. I really miss Stanley and Albert’s “Diamond clear, smoother beer – been a long time a brewing.” And who can forget the friendly Hamm’s Bear – “From the land of sky blue waters; from the land of pines, lofty balsams – comes the beer refreshing, Hamm’s the beer refreshing.”
Oddly enough, I like the nostalgia of the beer companies, but I never liked the taste of beer. I’m not a prude or a teetotaler, but when I chose a libation, I prefer the kind with ice instead of foam. It is a bit shocking to see some of the prices recorded on beer at various pubs and establishments around town. I have seen a reasonable $2.00 for a tap beer during happy hour at bowling centers and other bars, but during prime time that nickel beer is around $5.00. I am not sure of the price at Target or Xcel Centers, but I think Target Field is around $7.50. Now TCF Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus is offering beer during the first half of Gopher football games. (This is about as long as fans will stay when the Big Ten Schedule starts). I have heard the price of a 16 ounce draft beer is $8.25. Oh well, I guess if Starbucks can charge $3.00 for a cup of coffee, the U of M can charge 8 bucks for a beer. Just another testimonial that P.T. Barnum was right.
Anyway, enjoy bowling, enjoy your beverage of choice, and please drink responsibly. I hate it when we have to wake guys up in the third game when it’s their turn to bowl. Drive home safely. I want to see you again next week.