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Soup of This Day #122: I Love To Have A Beer With Bob

January 15, 2012

Yakima Valley Hop Yard
A hop yard in the Yakima River Valley, Washington State. In the background you can just make out Mount Adams, named for the 2nd President of the United States, John Adams. Although not related to Samuel Adams, both were signatories of the Declaration of Independence – Photo: Williamborg, 2009. Williamborg is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This post is a frothy torrent of golden words about beer and sport. It’s in part been prompted by me watching the Patriots and the Broncos face off in a Divisional playoff this morning, Western Australian time. Roughly at the same time Australia is playing India in the 3rd Test at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground. Both contests are sponsored by brewers.

The NFL’s beery sponsor is Anheuser-Busch via their Bud Light beverage.

I’ve never gotten Budweiser. To be honest I haven’t really gotten American beer full-stop. There was a brief Miller thing that swept Perth, Western Australia but I passed when they started serving it with a slice of lemon. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not ruling out American beer – I do have some friends who swear by Samuel Adams.

The beer. Not the Founding Father. Although I’m sure his friends would have testified to his stoutness in a difficult situation.

The Denver Broncos could use some Samuel Adams right now as they trail the Patriots by 7 to 42 early in the 3rd. The stout guy rather than the beer. Although if we are talking stout, as in beer, I was always fond of Brass Monkey Stout, brewed by the Sail & Anchor in Fremantle, Western Australia. It was best enjoyed on tap at the Brass Monkey Pub, just down the road in Northbridge, central Perth’s entertainment precinct.

The Brass Monkey was a favourite haunt but even so they once denied me re-entry after I’d stepped out on a mission. I was hungry and didn’t want to pay the big bucks they charged in-house for tapas or something similarly trendy. Nope, I wanted some good ol’ fashioned hot chips. So I ambled down the street to a food hall, acquired a couple of buckets of potato-ee goodness and then sauntered back to the Monkey.

Where I was barred at the door by the house security, who were concerned that I might be lowering the cool factor with my old school eats. Given the choice of sacrificing my chips or losing a night in the Monkey drinking stout I opted to jettison the food. Stout is after all, a meal in a pint glass.

I didn’t feel right about just wasting the chips though so, thinking on my feet, I stepped a couple of metres over to a new-age busker who was tapping out a hipster beat on some bongo drums behind a sign imploring everyone walking past the Monkey to consider Karma. After a quick back-and-forth the drummer took the proffered chips and I rejoined my friends inside the pub.

A short while later I was chatting to someone near a window when I noticed a monotonous repetitive banging sound that was intruding jarringly on the Monkey’s funk soundtrack. Since the noise was emanating from outside I took a quick look through the glass – Sure enough the busker was carefully and slowly feeding a chip at a time into his mouth with 1 hand while the other hand mindlessly thumped on the bongos.

Which I think lowered the cool factor of the ambience much more than me eating chips ever would have so there was definitely some Karma in play there.

Fast forward to today and Karma has clearly deserted the Broncos as they have crashed to a 45-10 loss to the Pats. A tepid 2nd half failed to take the edge off of Tom Brady’s record 6 TD completions in the 1st half. Tim Tebow and co were simply outclassed. The Pats to meet the winner of Houston or Baltimore next weekend for the AFC title.

Beer has a role in other codes of football too – The AFL Premiership is sponsored by Carlton & United Breweries while in England Liverpool were sponsored for 18 years by Carlsberg, the Danish brewing giant. This did lead to an interesting collision when Liverpool played European matches in France. The French ban alcohol advertising at sporting events in a manner similar to the ban on tobacco advertising elsewhere in the western world. This meant that for a handful of games Liverpool played in plain jerseys, shorn of a sponsors name. It was actually a nice flash back to the pre-corporatisation days.

Now Liverpool is sponsored by a bank so France will have no problems with that. Europe is ok with banks, right? Oh… A European sovereign debt crisis… I see…

At lunch on Day 3 of the 3rd Test at the WACA Ground, here in Perth, Western Australia and the Australians are grinding their way towards a 3rd straight win over an Indian Test side that was ranked 1st in the world just 6 months ago. The tourists managed a paltry 161 in their opening dig as an all-pace attack from the Aussies ripped apart their top order. In reply, Australia closed Day 1 just 12 runs adrift for no loss as openers Ed Cowan and Dave Warner took full toll in just 1 session. Warner in particular finished the day with a century. It came off just 69 balls, the 4th fastest in history and the fastest by an opener. The belligerent knock featured 3 6’s and effectively knocked the stuffing out of India and this Test as a realistic contest.

On Day 2 Warner eventually fell for 180, still swinging for the fences, while Cowan went much cheaper at 74. Although the rest contributed not much more, the damage had been done and Australia posted 369 all out, a lead of 208. In reply India’s top order again failed and although there has been a middle order fightback of sorts the visitors sit down to lunch at 6 for 165, still 43 runs shy of making Australia bat again.

In the likely event that Australia wins they will follow a time-honoured tradition and 1 of their number will lead the team in a post-match sing-along of the Australian Test team’s victory song. Sung with a beer in hand it is more of a chant and goes something like:

Under the Southern Cross I Stand
A sprig of wattle in my hand,
A native of my native land,
Australia you bloody beauty.

The honour of leading the team in song is currently held by Western Australian batsman Michael Hussey. The ceremony is largely private however photos will leak and no doubt the beer featured will be that of the team’s main sponsor, Victoria Bitter, or VB as it is more commonly known locally.

Beer and cricket have gone glass in hand as long as the 2 have existed. Cult figure David Boon, aka Boonie, is as famous for consuming 52 beers on a Sydney to London flight in 1989 as he is for his stats accumulated on the field of play. And he was a decent opening bat for Australia for 12 years, knocking out 21 centuries in that time.

Beer has also spread it’s influence to administrators of the game and indeed of the country. Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who led Australia for 8 years also had another title – The future Rhodes Scholar once downed 2.5 pints of beer via a yard glass in 11s at the University of Western Australia, where he studied law and economics. After his study he became a trade unionist of note before snaring Australia’s top job in 1983. He was just in time to celebrate Australia winning the America’s Cup in yachting, an event so significant that Hawkie told us all via national tv that, ‘Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up to work today is a bum.’

Nice jacket there Bob.

Hawkie was also fond of his cricket. Traditionally the Prime Minister annually selects a team, usually to play touring sides in a warm-up match. Bob Hawke insisted on going a step further and actually playing, once to the point of sustaining an injury when hit in the face top-edging a hook shot. John Howard, who led the country from 1996 until 2007 was arguably a greater cricket tragic but he didn’t have Hawkie’s propensity to get stuck in. The contrast was marked.

Fortunately Hawkie didn’t see fit to extend his ‘lead from the front’ attitude to all sport. That might have been awkward with, say, the Australian Synchronised Swimming team for example.

Although as I type that it occurs to me that the world might be a better place if all of our leaders competed in synchro aquatics.

Bob Hawke is a fitting personage to end this post with, principally because of a video captured at the 2nd Test between Australia and India, played just over a week ago. In the footage below you’ll see an 82 year old ex-Prime Minister being escorted through the crowd by his minders. A punter in the crowd manages to hand him a beer and true to form Hawkie just can’t resist a guzzle.

For the country. Apparently.

Ladies and gentlemen, former Australian Prime Minister, Robert James Lee “Bob” Hawke AC GCL.

While I’ve been typing this Australia has returned from the lunch break to clean up India’s remaining 4 wickets in just 20 balls for 6 runs. Game over then and officially it’s a win by an innings and 37 runs.

Australia, you bloody beauty.

I Love To Have A Beer With Bob

One Comment
  1. I love that video of the former PM downing his beverage “of choice.” Priceless.

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