The legend is black

You know what it’s like; I can’t be the only one to have experienced this. I was sitting in front of my computer, checking blogs or news stories, and I clicked a link to a YouTube video. I saw another related video in the sidebar that looks interesting, then another, and next thing I know, I’ve fallen down the YouTube Rabbit Hole.

And that’s when I saw this gem:

Man, that took me back. Black Label was my brand of beer from the time I started drinking beer at *cough* years old until sometime 1995 when I stopped drinking for a year.

It occurs to me now that I decided to drink Black Label not for what it was, but for what it wasn’t. And what it wasn’t was popular. Not at all.

I’d been going to parties and bringing Canadian or Blue, because that seemed to be the beer to bring to parties; the ads said so. However, I quickly got tired of bringing a twelve-pack, drinking two or three, and then finding the rest gone when I went for another, stolen by people who either never brought their own beer  or didn’t bring enough.

I switched to Black Label because I could bring a twelve-pack, drink five and still find seven in the fridge at the end of the night. I developed a taste for it. I got teased for drinking the “old man beer”, and responded that no, not even my dad would drink it.

Then I moved to Toronto, and partied in the punk/alternative scene where drinking Black Label was de rigueur. Whoever edited the Wikipedia page said it best:

… the tendency for people in alternative music bars on Queen Street West in Toronto to drink Black Label because it was cheap and as a way to dissociate themselves from mainstream people drinking mainstream beer.

It was short leap to cashing in on this. Advertisers created a series of print and tv ads with the slogan The Legend is Black. Everything was in black and white, with the only splash of colour being the red stripe in the label. It was successful ad campaign, but I’m not sure it helped them in the long run. Many of my friends stopped drinking it. Once something cool is marketed to the uncool, it becomes uncool by association. And so it goes.

I’d forgotten all about Black Label until I saw the YouTube video. When I re-introduced alcohol back into my life, it was with the motto drink less, but better. I started drinking different beers and cocktails. It became about the taste, not the inebriation.

I’d certainly forgotten about the ad campaign. I sat at my computer and watched them all. The Rooftop. The Beatnik. The Motorcycle, Flower Power and Forbidden Planet. While the Catacombs was closest to the scene I was in at the time, I think I liked the Forbidden Planet ad the best with all it’s 50’s pulp sci-fi silliness.

I should try Black Label again. Someday.

In my fridge

I have a good/bad habit of picking up single bottles of beer whenever I am around a Beer Store or LCBO. Good in that I have a interesting selection of different beers in fridge to quench any thirst. Bad in that there is very little room in our fridge for actual food.

I tend to stash the beer in the crispers, aka the drawers of despair (fruit and vegetables go in, we forget we’ve put them there, goo comes out). However, the stash has overflowed to the top shelf to the point where it’s in my way. Time to figure out what’s even in there.

Actually, I think it’s time to stop buying the beer, and start drinking the beer.

In my fridge, August 2013

  • Mill Street: Coffee Porter, Belgian Wit  and Tankhouse Ale. Left from a sampler pack bought a while ago. Not super keen on any of them right now, but keeping them in case that changes.
  • Black Sheep Brewery: Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Had to buy this as I am a huge fan of the movie. Cannot bring myself to open it for some reason. I think I’m secretly afraid it might be awful.
  • Sleeman: Honey Brown Lager. Part of a mixed lot bought by my friend Karen to help further my beer tasting. She’s a good friend to have!
  • St. Ambroise: Pale Ale, Apricot Wheat and Raspberry Ale. Another sampler pack, as I like the fruit beers in the summer. Finding the Apricot Wheat a bit more cloying than usual, but perhaps that’s just me.
  • Grapefruit Stiegl Radler. Impulse buy. Seems like a good beer for sitting on the dock on a hot summer day.
  • Amsterdam: Mid Summer Saison, 416. Amsterdam’s brewing facility has moved into my neighbourhood, making it far too easy to stop in to see what’s in their fridge. I keep coming back to the 416 after trying it during one of their tastings, the Mid Summer Saison was bought because I wanted to try a saison.
  • Wychwood, Hobgoblin. Another beer bought by Karen. She liked the label. This seems like something more suitable for cooler weather and Halloween.
  • Lake of Bays:  Spring Maple. Another impulse buy.
  • Stella Artois. Part of the Karen Mixed Bag. I’ve had Stella before, so know what to expect.
  • Niagara College Teaching Brewery: Butler’s Bitter. When I found out there was a teaching brewery where you could buy the beer made by students, I had to go see.
  • Creemore Springs: Sunny and Share Citrus Saison. Bought in Killarney because it looked summery, something I might want to drink on the dock while watching the sun set. It rained, so the beer came home with me.
  • Hacker-Pschorr: Weiss and Munich Gold. Bought because I wanted the bottles for my home brewing experiment. According to the research I did, I could buy empty swing-top bottles at a brewing store for a bit more than buying them full of beer at The Beer Store. It was like buy the bottle, get the beer for free! Yes, I know there are other options, but this gave me a valid reason to go to The Beer Store.

So there it is, what I am starting this (adventure? journey? misguided attempt at reality-avoidance?) off with.