Sunday, July 13, 2008
Fabulously Freaky Lager
To older people who bemoan the crass-ization of our culture, the rise of prurience and the grotesque in mainstream media, I present you with a bottle of Coney Island Lager. Tell me that face does not launch a million nightmares. Yet, it is merely a reproduction of the rictus grin-head that greeted many amusement park goers in the first half of this century. These decadent zones housed freak shows, thrill rides, and bad food galore, and were probably places where nice girls met bad boys. They were also great social levelers, bringing immigrants and the rich and poor together.
Well I say, in my best Butthead voice, “Old freaky stuff is cool.” So is Coney Island Lager. The label caught my eye but when I read about the beer, I clutched it to my chest in anticipation. Eight malts, six hops, and Czech Pilsner yeast. The label promises “the thrill of the old world with a new world flavor,” and it delivers. The multiple malts and hops work together in to create a beefy mouth that you now expect from an American microbrew. But the yeast is like an old man sitting between a gay couple in a park – a reminder that no matter how much things change, the past is never that far away.
This is clear if you take one more look at the label. Proceeds from the sale of the beer go to Coney Island USA, which is devoted to keeping lost forms of popular arts and culture alive and preserving New York’s historic Coney Island neighborhood. Shmaltz has created a whole line of beers to support this cause, including Albino Python spicy white lager. Old people, don’t tell me how degraded we youth are. Everyone has always needed their freaky stuff – we have the proof!