MY BAR TALK podcast partner, Glen Macnow, and I got to yapping about my suggestion of a couple of weeks ago for a Philly beer museum. The WIP sports talker came up with even better idea:A Beer Hall of Fame.
To get things started, here are my nominees for the first class. You can vote for your favorites or add your own nominees at www.joesixpack.net.
Louis Pasteur. In 1858, the French chemist discovered that heat kills the bacteria that turns beer sour. His process of pasteurization spared millions a life without beer.
William Painter. In 1892, the American engineer invented the crown bottle cap, but that’s not why I’m nominating him. He’s here because he also, thankfully, invented the bottle opener.
Runner-up: Bucknell University’s Delta Upsilon fraternity, creator of beer pong in the 1970s.
Josef Groll. The Bavarian-born brewer is generally credited with brewing the first batch of pilsner in 1842. The light, golden lager beer is the world’s most popular style.
Adolphus Busch. The 19th-century brewery baron practically invented the American beer industry with dozens of innovations, including refrigerated railcars that helped create the first nationwide brand, Budweiser.
Runner-up: Gabriel Sedlmayr, who perfected lager brewing at Munich’s Spaten brewery.
The Innovators (Philly division)
Benjamin Franklin. Known primarily as a thinker, not a drinker, he formed the American Philosophical Society, in 1743, partly to seek ways to improve the brewing of beer in the colonies.
John Wagner. In 1840, the Bavarian immigrant brewed the first lager beer in America, in Northern Liberties. In less than 20 years, lager would come to dominate the nation’s entire beer industry.
Runner-up: Carol Stoudt, the first lady of craft brewing.
The Craft Beer Pioneers
Charlie Papazian. The former nuclear engineer guided America’s passion for home brewing with several books, including The Complete Joy of Home Brewing. As president of what is today known as the Brewers Association, he oversaw the growth of an industry sector that now accounts for more than 10 percent of U.S. beer sales.
Fritz Maytag. The heir to a family washing-machine fortune revived San Francisco’s near-dead Anchor Brewery and proved that, even in the age of industrial giants, it was possible to run a small brewery in America.
Runner-up: Vinnie Cilurzo, of Russian River, whose invention of the double IPA sparked the hops craze.
Catherine “Ma” McGillin. The early 20th-century owner of McGillin’s Old Ale House raised 13 children and still managed to run one of the city’s most celebrated bars. Her funeral in 1937 shut down Broad Street.
Michel Notredame. In the 1980s, the late former operator of Bridgid’s in Fairmount introduced Belgian beer and cuisine to Philadelphia. The fun-spirited host and raconteur was the first to serve the likes of Chimay, Kwak and Lindemans in the city.
Runner-up: Vince Papale, the Delco bartender who earned a roster spot on the Eagles.
The Beer Drinkers
Andre the Giant. The 7-4, 500-pound professional wrestler could drink anyone under the mat, once allegedly downing 127 bottles in one night at a Reading, Pa., hotel bar.
Babe Ruth. He drank for the good of all men. “Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink,” he reportedly said, “I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, ‘It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver. ‘ “
Runner-up: Homer Simpson.
The Writers Wing
Michael Jackson. As industrialized beer continued its assault on taste buds through the ’70s and ’80s, the late-British newspaperman’s chronicles of European artisans introduced millions to unusual and largely unknown beer styles. His articles and books are almost single-handedly responsible for saving Belgium’s unique beer heritage.
Mike Royko. The Chicago Daily News columnist famously declared that most domestic beer tasted like it had been run “through a horse. ” In 1973, he conducted the first formal beer taste test by an American newspaper, uncovering a dozen or so unknown regional gems, including Point Special.
Runner-up: Dave Barry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who once declared, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza. “