Peter Allen said it best in his song, “Everything Old is New Again.”
Quite often, trends and products are repeated or revived to give new life and appeal to younger generations. I think that is a good thing, but I also say “Don’t mess with perfection.”
Apparently the producers of the products above don’t agree. My grandparents- and maybe yours- were part of "The Greatest Generation,” and I would like to think they were pretty spot on with some things. So, who says I don't want to drink or use a product that my Mother, Father, or even Grandparents used to enjoy?
A few months ago, I came across my wife's new hair products in the shower and it got me thinking. Was everything that was used back in the day really that terrible?
Maybe when it comes to hair care products or other household products being made with chemicals that are now banned by the FDA for health reasons, it is a good thing they are no longer around. I don't want my child to have three arms.
However, when it comes to alcohol, I bet Grandpa had it right. More than likely not when it was related to beer since everything was macro (Bud, Miller, Coors) in their day. Liquor is a different story though. We are still drinking those old standbys from days of yore: Jim Bean, Jack Daniels, and Old Forester were readably available.
These brands have stood up to the test of time and many of the breweries around today would strive for that staying power. They are all whiskeys, but I have been doing more drinking and researching of these lately. I have also found some articles about beers that our Grandparents or Parents might have drank that are making a comeback.
Pabst has been working on bringing back beers from P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Co. This brewery was founded in 1840 in New Jersey and last summer Pabst brought back their IPA and more recently over the holidays the remade their Burton Ale. Ballantine IPA was first brewed in 1878. Just a year later they had become a brewery that was twice as large as Anheuser-Busch. Unfortunately by the 1960s, macro beers were controlling the market with their light lagers and the company began to decline.
Now Pabst Brewing Company is making "craft" beer that mimics what our elders might have consumed in their day. I use quotes around “craft” as this term was not even used to describe a brewery at that time period and I do not know if the brewing process adheres to what is defined as craft beer by the Brewers Association. I also doubt that the Burton Ale has been barrel aged for 10-20 years in American Oak as I read in an article by Beer Street Journal.
Interestingly enough, I have seen many articles related to the alcoholic root beer trend and with regards to the Small Town Brewery specifically they state that it is now being produced by Pabst. It is more than likely not craft beer.
I want to drink some beers or styles of beers made in accordance with craft beer rules that my Grandfather or even Great Grandfather might have drank. Maybe some brewery will be able to take these recipes and make them into their own, but it is more than likely that these recipes are not on par with our hopped up versions of today. If nothing else, this can start a discussion. Either way, keep drinking and researching!