Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Spuds MacKenzie, you are sorely missed.
When we started planning our trip to St. Louis, we thought about going to a museum. However, we ultimately decided to take a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery instead. It’s kind of like a museum, just all about Anheuser-Busch. Plus, free beer. And free beer usually wins.
We arrived at the brewery, signed up for the tour, and began making our way around the lobby to check out all the exhibits detailing the history of Anheuser-Busch. Not that much later, our group was called and we were introduced to our two tour guides. One was the Anheuser-Busch equivalent of NBC’s Kenneth Parcell on 30 Rock, so pure and wide-eyed was his devotion to all things Budweiser. The other one reminded me of Scut Farkus from "A Christmas Story," if Scut Farkus thought he was too cool for school and wore clothes mostly from REI. He didn’t even have on any Anheuser-Busch flair, and thus gets a big zero for effort.
Kenneth and Scut walked us through the grounds of the brewery, which is about the size of a small city. They showed us the Clydesdales, the big tanks of beer, the mash room and all that. While we were looking at the bottling line, Kelly wondered if they ever pulled a Laverne & Shirley, putting a glove on a bottle and waving goodbye as it’s spirited off.
Later in the tour, Kenneth schooled us on Renard the Fox, spokesperson for Bevo, the near beer that Anheuser-Busch sold during prohibition. Renard is a very dapper fox that is frequently depicted munching on a chicken leg with a mug of Bevo at the ready. Needless to say, that is one sly fox I want to hang out with.
Doubting the rest of our tour group was as interested in Natural Light as me, I caught up to Kenneth in between his spiels, and he was totally willing to answer some questions. First and foremost I wanted to know, “How close am I right this very second to fresh Natural Light?"
“About as close as you can get,” Kenneth replied without hesitation. His gusto rivaled that of only Lunch Blog’s friend Dorsett, a man internationally recognized as Natural Light’s #1 enthusiast.
We also learned from Kenneth that because Bud Light is brewed with rice and Natural Light is brewed with corn, if the price of corn and rice were ever to flip-flop, then Natural Light would become Anheuser-Busch’s premium light beer. (I thought that was reasonably intriguing enough to share.)
Kenneth couldn’t tell me jack squat about Anheuser-Busch’s malt liquor products.
When the tour was over, we were led to the hospitality room for our two complimentary beers apiece. I stuck to Budweiser, and Kelly had a Bud Light Golden Wheat followed by a Stella Artois. Meanwhile, our tourmates the Lady Mavs, whose college affiliation and sport was unknown, were settling for sodas.
As we enjoyed our beers, we tried to figure out why these girls who were clearly under 21 had chosen to go to a brewery for their Saturday morning entertainment. One suggestion was that maybe they wanted to see the Clydesdales because the Lady Mavs are a polo team, but that theory was quickly discarded. Kelly and I noticed a couple of the Lady Mavs not too inconspicuously grooving on Scut Farkus, although I’m not sure Scut Farkus did.
On our way back to the car, we stopped for a snack at Gus’ Pretzels, which I found disappointingly unremarkable. Then it was off to visit the Gateway Arch.
Gateway Arch Marketing Team, here is a gimmick for you: As mentioned above, you get free beer at the end of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour. When people come down from the top of the Arch, why not give them a free Arch Deluxe?
Just think about it.
Next Time on Lunch Blog: A couple of nice glasses of wine at dinner. A couple of Gin & Squirts at a dive bar after.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery: 12th & Lynch Streets | St. Louis, MO 63118