Thursday, October 18, 2018

Episode 16: Hamm's Beer with Trevor Smith, Callie Hietala, Justin Smith, and Brent Treash

I. Introduction

"I called them and said I'd be late for the meeting 'cause I had to buy lottery tickets." 

Chef, writer, and food librarian Sara Bir wrote something beautiful about today’s beer, and I’d like to start things off with a quote from it:

Hamm’s tastes like freedom. Freedom to get a good buzz after work on a Tuesday evening when daylight lasted until 9-ish. Freedom to be constantly broke-all but still buy decent brie. Freedom to squander time on hopeless crushes and aimless solo hikes. I may not scale mountains or go to rock shows that conclude at 2 a.m., but I can still dig on an ideal, and when I want to indulge in a can of shitty summertime beer, Hamm’s delivers every time.

That’s right folks, today we’re reviewing a beer from Minnesota, a beer that has some of the most legendary breweriana and advertising associated with it of any quaff, a beer that as famous for its mascot as its actual product, and a beer that until recently no one I knew had ever tried.

Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’retalking about Hamm’s.

Today's theme is Bertha Lee and Charley Patton's 1934 "Mind Reader Blues." 

II. The Phone on Which We Called Our Pseudo-Guests

We had one of these in my cabin.  It was really loud and every
time it rang/quacked I almost peed myself a little.
III. Rubric

BeerAdvocate: 2.75 of 5

RateBeer: 1.86 of 5

Untappd: 2.62 of 5

ABV: 4.7%

Ingredients: barley, corn syrup, yeast, hops, hops extracts, water

Cost: $; cheap - say whatever else you want about Hamm's, it won't break the bank. 

IV. Our Reviews and Talking Points

Appearance: Transparent, translucent, golden - a good amount of head that rapidly evaporates; very limited carbonation. 

Aroma: Mild, inoffensive.

Flavor:  Bad.  Corn syrupy, wave after wave of unpleasant aftertastes, metallic, iodine, and mealy notes and aftertastes.

Mouthfeel: Long, lingering, mildly oily aftertaste film.  Not great. 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  This is why we wanted to like this beer.  Hamm's has a tradition of amazing advertising and breweriana - truly wonderful commercials, an iconic mascot, great stuff.  Truly, it is a rabbit hole worth going down [we recommend starting with the wonderful people over at The Hamm's Collectors].  Yet one must wonder, now that Hamm's has been incorporated into a one of the huge multnational beer amalgams these don't seem to be around anymore, at least not in our area. 

Overall:  Clayman compared it to putting a battery on your tongue or a nickel in fizzy water then gave it a rating of .75 stars... Eric gave this beer the same, a mere .75 stars.  Over all? Our rating is 0.75 of 5 stars. 

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VI. Plugs

John Hamm

Hillbilly Epicurean
Justin Smith

The Sunsphere
Knoxville, Tennessee

Charlotte, North Carolina

Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Further Reading and Viewing

Sara Bir. July 21, 2014. "Hammin' It Up: An Ode to an American Classic." Good Food Stories.

Peter Frost.  January 24, 2018.  "Fast-Growing Hamm's Looks to Stay Red-Hot in 2018." Behind the Beer. 

Josh Noel.  July 11, 2017.  "How Hamm's Reflects History of American Beer."  Chicago Tribune.

Austin Prickett.  July 15, 2015.  "Policy: Nude Man Found Drinking Hamm's Beer in Barn Full of Pigs."  Fox 25 News.

Frank Kelly Rich. "Ten Greatest Alcohol Icons of All Time: The Story Behind the Face on the Bottle." Modern Drunkard.

Max Sparber.  January 9, 2012.  "Schmaltz Hero: The Story of the Hamm's Beer Bear."  Minnesota Post.

Ronald Theriot. May 18, 2017. "Hamm's Revisted: Special Edition." Louisana Beer Reviews. On YouTube.

VII. Selected Advertisements

c. 1950s

c. 1950s

c. 1961

c. 1979

c. 1979

c. 1980

c. 1981

c. 1984

c. 1989

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