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Saturday, June 7. 2014
Ballantine Ale and Hemingway
"Bob Benchley first introduced me to Ballantine Ale. It has been a good companion to me ever since. You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. But I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish. We keep it iced in the bait box with chunks of ice packed around it. And you ought to taste it on a hot day when you have worked a big marlin fast because there were sharks after him."
- Ernest Hemingway
I remember when we used those green 40s for .22 target practice down at the farm's dump pile standing up at 40-50 yards. Not so easy to find tasty beers in green glass 40s these days. Shooting glass is more satisfying than shooting tin cans, and the big bottles are a little easier to hit.
I have always liked this ale - or whatever it is. Classic label, too. Give it a try, and think of Hemingway. It's cheap and good, if you can find it.
Posted by Bird Dog in Food and Drink, Our Essays at 15:28 | Comments (21) | Trackback (1)
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Yes, it's an ale, Bird Dog. Gone before I was legal to drink, but I have tasted some home brew clones that are pretty tasty. Was it noticeably more bitter than most other beers around at that time?
Ah yes, and the India Pale Ale, too, by the same maker. Sadly, the brand changed hands several times way back then and "something" changed a bit. A Black and Tan made with this and Guiness was heavenly.
Dear sir or madam:
Consider this a summons to
EPA Office of Compliance
Fines and Sentencing Annex @ Building 2R
10023846 Federal Way Boule Vard
The issue is your admitted production of (1) Glass, green, broken.
This material, production or possession of, is illegal under the Safe Trash Dump Act, often referred to as the What About The Children Law.
The fine assessed is $500,000 ("Five Hundred Thousand Dollars"), negotiable in the event of pre-existing penury to cash-value property in kind or in the event, whatever you got on you.
Based on the probability of a possible claim to a variance based on a claim on the religious grounds variance claim, please be aware that any special pleading claim within the Special Pleadings Claims section of the EPA Regulatory Publication 889-C3P0, we warn you ahead of time that any claim of Party Membership must be verified by signed and stamped memorandum of your address Block Party Chairman or agent thereof.
Additionally, EPA counsel is been to date unable to find text in the Code reference specific alluding on this so-called "Earnest Heming Way" so to that end please accompany your person with all pertinant documentation and stuff.
Milo Minderbinder, Assistant Deputy Vice Counsel
Command III of The Dep't of Enforcement
Environmental Protection Agency
Bird Dog and Steve, thanks for the notes on availability of Ballantines. I have not seen it in Idaho, but I know some folks who live out east who might be persuaded to send me some for research. Do you guys know where it is brewed?
Good Lord, does that take me back.
I haven't seen a Ballentines since I got out of High School. But it was a staple back then.
Knowing that it still exists inspires me to track some down. Talk about a "blast from the past"!
Easily available here in the Boston area. In my local package store it sells for $6.00 for a six-pack of pints - a great deal. It comes in cans, though, haven't seen it in bottles for a while. When I was in high school it used to be sold in big, virtually indestructible 40's (we called them GIQs) - a different shape from the one pictured above. We used to throw them up in the air as far as we could, and watch them bounce off the pavement. Well, occasionally one would break, the porch lights would begin to come on, and we'd have to hightail it back to the woods. These GIQs seemed to have other mysterious properties. One of my friends swore that if left outside for a proper amount of time (we used to hide our beer under the overhanging bank of a brook) that Ballantine Ale improved, and developed a unique flavor. These aged bottles were highly prized, especially when marijuana came onto the scene. Something definitely changed, taste-wise, when Ballantine was were bought by Falstaff. I've never met a Ballantine Ale drinker from the 1960s - early 1970s who didn't notice, and lament, this change. Ballantine, along with a few others, such as Croft and Dawson, were the only ales in town, and the only relief from the tasteless corporate swill that everyone else drank. They sold it on tap in many wonderful bars of yore such as Cronin's in Harvard Square (the first one I ever had there, in high school, cost a quarter) and Sheehan's in Northampton. Drank it all through college as well, and only stopped when things like Guinness on tap and microbrews became more ubiquitous, and Ballantine Ale became harder to find. And yes, the IPA was sensational - all the brewers I know remember it fondly. Long live Green Death!
The last time I saw it in KY was about 1966. It was great stuff. Brewed by Falstaff near Chicago. Who is the current brewer?
"ask the man for Ballentine". Ballentine was, at one time, the 4th largest brewer in the U.S.
Another of New Jersey's contributions to the betterment of America.
Nothing against Ballentine, but Hemingway never figured out that any ale is marvelous after extended vigorous action in the sun? Those are the moments when even bad ale is good ale.
scott, enjoyed your reminesce (sp) about ballentine ale. i currently live on nantucket arriving in 1969 and that was what the "freaks seemed to enjoy", myself included. the sale to falstaff in 1972 put a dagger in the flavor and the popularity. my grandfather called it "the poor man's whiskey"( that being the original). the ipa ale would have been my last drink if they served in the penitentury. so thanks for the thoughts as i wish i could go back in that h.g. wells machine. are there any ipa's that approach it? happy trails
Ah, Falstaff; I remember ol' Diz doing their commercials in Cardinals games on radio and TV. Never drank the stuff.
I liked the golden can when I collected beer cans as a kid.
I'd probably get locked up if I let my kids do that now.
Haven't had any ale in a long time but let me recommend what is legally called "malt liquor." (States limit the alcohol content of "beer.")
I like Olde English 400. Nice and smooth flavor with plenty of punch.
Brings me back 55 years. I had a bulky jacket with two big deep front handwarmer pockets and could hide a 40 in each one. Two 40's was too much for a 15 year old so I had to find a girl to share it with.
"Tuesday, 12:30 PM ... Baker, California ... Into the Ballantine Ale now, zombie drunk and nervous. I recognize this feeling: three or four days of booze, drugs, sun, no sleep and burned out adrenalin reserves – a giddy, quavering sort of high that means the crash is coming. But when? How much longer? This tension is part of the high. The possibility of physical and mental collapse is very real now. ... "
Well, we probably all still have a share in M&M Enterprises.
A Golden Oldie: Who is the Ale Man? There was an English teacher at my high school who, courtesy of the Armed Forces, attended Yale Foreign Language Institute for instruction in Chinese. He then translated radio chatter of Chinese pilots during the Korean War. He gave a lecture on the Chinese language to his AP English classes. Which prompted the skit one year, "Who is the Yale Man?"
He was brilliant, but because he was very introverted, not temperamentally suited for teaching high school.
In response to this post by Bird Dog about Ballantine Ale, Ernest Hemingway, and BD's use of the 40 ounce glass empties for target practice, he received this missive from the EPA: Dear sir or madam: Consider this a...
Tracked: Jun 09, 17:24