Updated: Nov 7, 2021
Here are my top 5 old school beers. And why they rank, just not in any particular order.
I built the First Brew Thru in Nags Head with my partner Dana back in 1978. It is still standing at (Mile marker 10) 2203 S Croatan Hwy. It has been remodeled over the years but the original bones are still standing tall. Dana had devised a jig so we could reproduce all the trusses for the faux mansard roof line. That was a very productive day.
To celebrate the day's accomplishments that night we went to a beer joint called Soundside and enjoyed fresh hushpuppies and ice-cold pitchers of Heineken.
Not many places have Heineken on tap, but do yourself a favor, when they do and try it.
More on the Brew Thru in future posts.
Growing up in Akron, I was fortunate to go to the University of Akron. One of the favorite Friday night venues was Water St. in Kent. The street was wall to wall beer joints. Many of them were in the basement different from the beer hall upstairs. Ohio had an unusual drinking law at the time. If you were 18 years old you could legally drink 3.2% beer. If you were 21 years old everything was available. Some brewers made both strengths, like Schlitz
and Stroh’s. Rolling Rock did not. We you entered your ID was checked and you were hand stamped either Hi or Low. The Holy Grail was to snag an empty Rolling Rock longneck and try to convince the bartender you just needed another one. Real cool like. Never worked, not even once. So, I always have had an affinity for Rolling Rock. Tony Soprano favored it too, no wonder I like it so much.
Schoenling Little Kings
My first trip to Nags Head was my friends Dick and Barb wedding. My wife and I were the designated drivers for after their reception to drive us all to a Rental Cottage near the beach. Dick borrowed his dad’s big old Buick and we had plenty of room in the trunk for supplies. When I say supplies, I mean
48 bottle cases of Schoenling 7 0z Little Kings. The problem is you can’t fit a weeks worth of beer in a Buick trunk. So you find yourself sitting on the porch complaining how you have to drive to a store and actually walk inside to buy beer. Then carry it to your own car. Definitely not like Ohio, its seems like there was a drive through on every corner, not actually, but there were two on Portage Trial opposite each other. One of my favorites was Jaco’s Drive Thru on Cuyahoga Falls avenue. All the way home we kept complaining and that is how the idea of trailblazing the first drive thru in Nags Head was born.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
I have happy memories as a kid with my Dad on a Saturday afternoon studying over my new model airplane dad just bought me. It turns out he was distracting me while we sat in a saloon with him drinking a few PBR’s. I sat patiently with my soda and new toy. He really enjoyed those beers and I always wanted to relive those memories. Dad passed away when I was 7 and when I got old enough, I would sometime enjoy a cold Pabst and tell someone about my Dad. Still am, evidently.
This is an unusual memory trigger involving my second Brew Thru, which I opened in New Smyrna Beach, FL in 1981. The store was quite a novelty, a drive thru store for beer, less than a mile from the beach, with huge ice-cold walk-in coolers. I was a big hit with the police, especially the motorcycle cops who had Beach patrol in the heat of summer. They would take a break (a 10 -7), park their motorcycles on the side of the building and cool off in the walk-in. We became great friends and I was always covered, no bad guys bothered me because they never knew when a cop would drive though. The police fraternal organization had a private clubhouse with a well-stocked bar and party room. I would provide kegs occasionally as a thank you. One of
the senior officers had his eye on my neon Schlitz sign. Actually, it wasn’t mine because the vendor retained ownership to avoid the appearance of paid advertising. Try as I might I could not procure a second one for the police party room, so the officer said how about I just steal it from you. Huh! What? Yup. He arranged the “heist” with me and showed up all dressed in full black SWAT gear moved a ladder to the sign and while my head was turned it disappeared. No police reports, just a cool memory. Schlitz is hard to come by, but every time I see a motorcycle cop I smile and get thirsty.
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