Monday, October 31, 2011

wychwood brewery

Well, it wouldn't be a proper halloween if we didn't celebrate it here on SCBC. Michael and I are watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on DVD, and drinking a Wychwood Brewery Scarecrow Ale in honor of this festive holiday. And of course, Halloween parties galore!

We even had our first snow in NYC this weekend, which I think makes the season weirdly complete. It might be a little early for snow in NY, but a beer and some awesome cartoons always makes us feel better.

Enjoy the holiday and have some candy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

world series

And now, for a special guest blog post from Michael:

There are only two times when I tolerate Budweiser: when on the brewery tour, and when the St. Louis Cardinals are in the postseason. In July, while on the Budweiser brewery tour with Lauren, I figured that I should enjoy the cold Bud at the end while I could, since the Cardinals were mired in mediocrity at the time with little hope of making the postseason. They had the talent--Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina--but couldn't put it all together. Even when the team made a run in early September, I blew it off as too little too late. Lauren and I went to a game in Philadelphia with her uncle in mid-September in which the Cardinals were blown out in spectacular fashion. I bid adieu to the team there.

Then, unexpectedly, they went on an unprecedented tear at the same time that the Atlanta Braves, the wild card leaders, swooned. As was fitting, the Cardinals waited for the last day of the season to clinch a playoff berth. I figured that it was going to be a short-lived series, considering how badly the Phillies beat the Cards at that game we attended. But they somehow dispatched of the Phillies in five games, and as readers of this blog know, went on to face the Milwaukee Brewers in the Suds Series. If every there was a time for Budweiser, this was it.

It was the beer-iest series in baseball. The Cardinals play in Busch Stadium, the Brewers play in Miller Park. The Cardinals were owned for decades by the Busch family, who used to parade out on a beer wagon pulled by Clydesdales every year on opening day. The Brewers mascot is a beer-maker who slides into a vat of beer each time the Brewers hit a homerun. What more could Super Cool Bottle Caps have hoped for?

Well, a Cardinals victory for one, which happened in six games. So it was on to the World Series. Thankfully, the Clydesdales still make an appearance in the World Series, parading onto the field as a reminder of St. Louis's proud beer history. Never does Budweiser taste better than when the Cardinals are in the World Series.

Of course, the Cardinals stretched the series to the limit, going so far as to almost lose the sixth game twice before improbably rallying back in extra innings. Lauren had long since gone to bed by then, but I was so amped afterward that I woke her up and babbled on until three in the morning. The deciding game was almost anticlimactic in comparison, decided as much by the Rangers' sloppiness as the Cardinals' greatness. But a win is a win is a win, and once the last out was recorded, it was definitely time for a Bud. I should enjoy it while I can; it might be a while before a Bud tastes so, well, triumphant.

So raise one high for the Cardinals and for the brewery that's sponsored them for so long. They deserve it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

taking a few days off

I'm taking a few days off -- unexpected travel.

Check out some of these stories in the meantime:

Beer for One, Beer for All

What's On Tap

Gothamist Beer Month

ted's root beer

It was certainly a stellar week in bottle caps for me. Not only did I get a great shipment of bottle caps from Greg, I also got a few from Michael's mother (in a package of things containing, among other things, a full season's supply of sweet potatoes). My mom also took me on a beer/soda run. More about that later this week.

But the best thing was this weekend when Michael and I went up to my parents' house for our annual trip upstate to visit our favorite apple orchard and purchase fruit, pies, freshly made donuts, hot cider, all natural peanut butter and other delicious things for the fall. We peep leaves, listen to 80's rock on the radio, and just get out of the city for a few hours. It's a nice annual tradition that I've been doing since I was a kid, and I'm glad that Michael is game for continuing the tradition every year.

Down the street from Salinger's Orchard, there's a Barn Sale. Some woman sells pumpkins, old milk bottles, light-switch covers, and junk from her basement, along with some tin signs that may or may not be vintage (I think not, but I could be wrong). Usually, the Barn Sale is good for a laugh, but generally a bust in terms of actually finding fun stuff to buy.

Last year that changed when we found an awesome replica tin sign for Michael's dad -- which we were able to get signed by Stan the Man Musial. The streak continued this year when I found...yes...4 bins full of cork-lined soda caps. You could probably hear my squealing with delight all the way up the hill at Salinger's. They didn't know what was going on!

I'll be sure to make a note in the labels below when I'm blogging about a Barn Sale bottle cap, but the one that I'm most excited about, which also ties in well with last week's Suds Series, is Ted's Root Beer, a line of beer made by Moxie in the '60s.

I had been coveting this bottle cap via eBay for some time now, and kept threatening to spend up to $10-$15 for the bottle cap. But I knew that this was just way too much for a crown, so I held off. Thank goodness I did.

This bottle cap is pretty amazing. It has a lot going for it: endorsed by a celebrity, it has "stitching" like a baseball, it's a root beer bottle cap, and it's cork-lined. Who knows if it is authentic, but it wasn't expensive, and damn, it makes me happy.

This might be a contender for the HOF! Even without an animal on it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I love my loyal fans here at Super Cool Bottle Caps. About two weeks ago, I received a DM on Twitter from @PourCurator (Greg) saying that he'd slipped some bottle caps in the mail for me. YAY! I've always loved coming home to a package full of crowns. I couldn't wait to see what they were!

One of the cooler bottle caps of the bunch was Otto's Pub and Brewery's own bottle cap.

It's simple, but it works. Script font across a black bottle cap. When in doubt, I always say go for simplicity. Or an animal. Either one works.

While doing a quick scan of the Otto's website, I noticed that they also have a great video showing their bottling plant at the brewpub.

As I learned many years ago from my obsession with the show Unwrapped on the Food Network, any show or video that features assembly/bottling lines is instantly entertaining. But the bottles (and crowns) that they use in the video don't seem to be the ones that Greg sent. Are there more out there? Were they using generic bottle caps before, and now have custom? Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S. Those glass beer mugs with "Otto's Pub Club" etched in look very cool. Otto's, do you sell them? I didn't seem them in your "gift shop"!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

suds series vol 5

Readers of SCBC know that I love me a good microbrew. What better way to continue our series than with some old fashioned head-to-head (or maybe crown-to-crown) action via microbrews from our respective cities?

Schlafly and Six Row, I'm pitting you against Sprecher and Lakefront.

I have written about Sprecher here, here and here. Clearly they are a popular topic of conversation in the Lauren Walles household. They have a crap-ton of different types of bottle caps that are excellent for collecting. And did I mention that their root beer is delicious, so creamy and smooth. My only complaint is that it's rare to find Sprecher in my neighborhood.

Schlafly, you are harder to find in NYC than Fitz's, and that's tough to do. I have not been to your brewery, but according to your website, you have a BBQ Shrimp Po Boy, which I can only imagine is delicious and goes well with beer. My friends in St. Louis swear by Schlafly and have turned me on to the tastiness of their beer. Thanks to them, I have a lovely collection of Schlafly bottle caps, and I'm hoping to tour the brewery the next time I visit St. Louis in December.

Lakefront, oh man. I had a delicious Lakefront brew in Milwaukee in the Public Market, and I'm still thinking about it. Such a great experience: beautiful Germanic architecture, amazing food stands in the market, tons of Wisconsin cheese, and a full-bodied Lakefront. Heaven. The bottle cap rocks, too -- it comes complete with a frosty beer mug! Really, it doesn't get better than that.

And finally, Six Row, your beers are tasty, your logo is really clever, and your menu looks amazing.  Can I come have some mac n' cheese? I admit that I have not seen your bottle cap. What gives? Do you have one? Is it the 6 with the wheat? This could tip the scales one way or another.

Six Row Brewing Company

Hmmm, this is the toughest of them all. Honestly, this should be a tie; I'm a fan of all these microbrews. But if I were forced to choose, I'd go with Schlafly. The brews are varied and interesting, folks in St. Louis seem to love it, and, most importantly, the bottle caps are way cool, which is an important criteria here at Super Cool Bottle Caps. 

So let's say that this was an extra inning contest that St. Louis barely squeaks out.

And so, with that, I announce the winner of the best-of-5 Suds Series 2011......

ST LOUIS!!!!!!! 

St Louis 3
Miller 2

I hope you enjoyed this little experiment, and next week, we will be back to our regularly scheduled bottle cap posts. Have a great weekend everyone. Watch some baseball, and of course, drink something tasty. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

suds series vol 4

Next up on our Suds Series: the ever important Brewery tour.

Yep, I'll admit it: I've been on the Budweiser Brewery Tour 3 times: the first time I traveled to St. Louis,  when my sister came to visit, and when my parents came to visit. It never gets old. The tour is your classic indoor-outdoor walking tour (all downhill! And then a trolley takes you back UP the hill!). You meet the Clydesdales, and sometimes the dalmatians. You see beautiful red-brick architecture, learn about how to make crappy beer, and ultimately, get to drink crappy beer for free. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: "They couldn't pay me to drink that swill."

The best part about the brewery tour is how the tour guides really seem to love Budweiser. And I bet they do. Regardless, they're basically spewing beer propaganda, musing about how Budweiser is the greatest beer in all humanity, which I find really amusing. They take themselves a little too seriously at the Busch brewery.

The Miller Brewery tour, is a totally different animal. As I've said before, Michael went to Milwaukee without me on a baseball trip a few years ago. When he went on a brewery tour at Miller, the promotional video that they played before the start of the tour began with several shots of cavemen looking glum and bored. A voice-over narrator intoned: "From the Dawn of Time, Man has yearned for Miller Time." Instead of canned discussions of corporate responsibility and the number of fresh ingredients that go into each brew, the video had intentionally hilarious re-creations of the birth of Miller and flashbacks to the old Bob Uecker commercials from the 70s and 80s. That is how I want my beer company to act.  Not too seriously. They know they're not a great beer, but they know that they have a good thing going. Miller Time, baby. Miller Time.

But when Michael took me to Milwaukee to go on the Miller Brewery Tour, Miller had changed its tune. They talked about how they gave back to the community. They talked about how they're green. They talked about boring things like brewing beer. They did NOT talk about Miller Time. Nor did they show cavemen. I was very disappointed.

So how do we judge this? I WANT Miller to win this because in the very recent past, they didn't take their brewery tour so seriously. And honestly, if I hadn't gone to Milwaukee earlier this year, and was doing this Suds Series anyway, I would be basing my opinions on Michael's story about cavemen and Miller Time. And I want to be able to forgive some sins.

So Miller and Milwaukee, I am going to give this one to you. I hope that you'll bring back the cavemen. It will be good for your image. And it will give me a reason to go back to Milwaukee.

St. Louis: 2
Milwaukee: 2

Next up: microbrews!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

suds series vol 3

Today is my favorite blog post of the series so far. We get to look at the advertising campaigns of Budweiser and Miller and see if we can figure out who has done it better over the years.

Miller, you have one of the best ad campaigns in history (according to Advertising Age) with your "Great Taste, Less Filling" one-liner.
You also have the Wiener Dog Drag Racing Commercial, which I remember from my childhood:

But honestly, it's the ONLY campaign I remember from Miller. Readers, you may feel otherwise, but I have never been as impressed with the ad campaign for Miller as I have been for Budweiser.

Budweiser has, among other things: the frogs. Who doesn't remember Bud-Weis-Errrrrrr?

Sure, there was the irritating Wassup commercial:

But I think ultimately, one of the best ad campaigns in recent memory was actually radio commercials that aired in the Midwest. Real Men of Genius. Below, my favorite of the series, Mr. Rolling Cooler Cooler Roller. You have to listen to the guy singing in the background, and his asides, to get the full effect.

Miller's radio campaign that can compare just isn't as funny, although you can tell that they're trying.

Budweiser also had the ULTIMATE ad campaign going for many years during the Superbowl. Budweiser or Bud Light in the BudBowl? When I was a kid, and didn't understand football, I would watch the Superbowl just to see the BudBowl. I always thought growing up that Bud Light won every year, but according to Wikipedia, it was Budweiser 6, Bud Light 2.

This one isn't even a question. Budweiser, you may lose a few points for the "Wassup" campaign, but you redeemed yourself. The Wiener Dogs just can't beat Real Men of Genius. You win this round!

St Louis: 2
Milwaukee: 1

Tomorrow: brewery tours!

Monday, October 10, 2011

suds series vol 2

Tonight, in our ongoing Suds Series, St. Louis vs. Milwaukee, we look at mascots: both in the baseball realm and in the beer realm.

First up, baseball. The Brewers have Bernie Brewer: A blonde haired, blue-eyed, mustachioed drunken man who slides down a beer slide every time the Brewer's hit a homerun. In theory: awesome. But in practice, not quite as cool. Why, might you ask? Well, when actually at the game, Bernie has to stay really close to his "dugout" in the outfield so that he can be ready to slide down his slide whenever the Brewers are up. This limits the amount of interaction that Bernie can have with the fans. He leaves it to the Bratwursts to hang out in the stands and throw t-shirts to the crowd. Sure, the Brewers gave us the Sausage Race. But do you really want a hot dog dressed up in a baseball outfit or a bratwurst  wearing lederhosen giving you free things? Well, maybe.

The Cardinals have the ever-popular FredBird. 

FredBird is admittedly more fan-friendly (and kid-friendly) than Bernie. He hangs out in the stands, runs around with flags when the Cardinals win, has a build-a-bear (bird?) store in Busch Stadium, and likes to touch people with his beak -- in a good way, of course. Michael's niece and nephew both love FredBird.

Sausage Race? Beer Slides? Or touching fans with your beak? Hmmm. Let's think about this while we ponder the mascots of the breweries.

Budweiser has a slew of mascots: Bevo Fox, the Dalmatian, the Clydesdales, the Eagle (All American!), Spuds MacKenzie, the frogs, the lizards, the penguins. I think there isn't an animal on earth that Budweiser hasn't used to promote their beverages. Next thing you know they'll be using red pandas or something.
Bevo Fox
And yet, when I google Miller Beer mascot, this is the first thing that comes up:

Miller!! Seriously?! It's a beer bottle holding more beer bottles. Yes, you have The Girl in the Moon. And apparently a beer bottle mascot type thing. But I don't think it's going to cut it against all of those animals listed up there.

So where does that leave us? I think that because Miller can't even come up with a decent mascot, despite the beer slide and bratwurst race at the stadium, it's tipping in favor of Budweiser.

We are all tied up:
St. Louis: 1
Milwaukee: 1

Tomorrow: advertising!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

suds series vol 1

Michael Lober here. As some of the loyal readers of Lauren's blog might know, I hail from the great beer city of St. Louis, where Budweiser and the baseball Cardinals are religions. Our baseball stadium is named Busch, the only beer available there carries the label "Bud," and it's surprising that our mascot isn't a pint. In all honesty, I find Budweiser rather terrible--a watered-down, tasteless alcohol liquid--but it's MY terrible beer.

Anyway, I bring this up because the mighty St. Louis Cardinals suddenly find themselves locked in a battle with the Milwaukee Brewers, those hosers from the north that claim the title of America's brew-town. Granted, they love their beer up there in Milwaukee and there are some excellent microbrews, but I'm not interested in that now. It seems to me that the only fair way to contrast the cities is through a showdown between their flagship beers: Budweiser vs. Miller. It's on.

I never buy Budweiser, think Bud Light Lime is just crappy beer dashed with lemon juice, and would choose pretty much any beverage over Bud Light; but if someone says that Miller is better than Budweiser, I suddenly become an irrational champion of my hometown brew. Budweiser is the best! Miller is just Lake Michigan water put through a strainer! Come on, it's not even a comparison!

OK, obviously, I can't be a judge between the two companies. But Lauren can. So I propose the following this week at Super Cool Bottle Caps: a Suds Series between Budweiser and Miller, the arch city of St. Louis vs. the beer-and-cheese berg of Milwaukee. Best of five, with categories ranging between mascots, advertising, local microbrews, brewery tours, varieties, and, of course, bottle caps. I'll have no hand in the outcome, nor will the outcome have anything to do with the Cardinals vs. Brewers series. Lauren is the judge, juror, and jailer. So take it away!

Hi, Lauren here!  Obviously, I  have written about St. Louis and Milwaukee before on this blog (probably ad nauseum), BUT what better time than now to discuss all things St. Louis vs. Milwaukee and base it entirely on beer? I will be impartial. As always, I would love to hear my dear reader's thoughts -- that is what the comment section is for!

So let's start tonight with the most important -- to me, at least. Bottle caps. Obviously I don't have every bottle cap at my disposal from the many years of brewing for both of these storied breweries. But I have what I have, and I have a *little* bit of knowledge outside of that. For this series, and this one only, I will be pulling some images off the web to fill a few gaps in my collection.

Budweiser Classic Bottle cap vs. Miller Classic Bottle cap:

So, what do we have here? And how far down the chain do we want to go? Just stick with classic? Does the Girl in the Moon count as classic or is it really just MGD? Do we want Bud Light and Miller Light? Miller High Life and Bud Light Lime? There are so many ways to go. As Michael mentioned above, this is a 7-game series, so I say stick with the classic -- and let's make it a fair fight. We can always come back for more.

Budweiser: we have the bowtie, the A with the eagle, the proud line: "King of Beers."
With Miller, dark background, some gold, some white lettering. No mascot, no logo. Just text.

I feel like if you look at both, Miller just has a stronger, bolder look to it. Sure, there is no mascot, but do you need it with that bold, black forceful bottle cap? I don't think so. Sure, the beer may taste like Lake Michigan water (Michael's words, not mine!) but damn, don't you want to drink it if you just took a look at that bottle cap?? The Budweiser - eh, it kind of looks off-center, it doesn't flow...

And even if you compare it to the Miller High Life bottle cap, which also has the bowtie thing goin' on, it just doesn't have that bold look:

 Sorry Budweiser. You lose the first round. Luckily we have 6 more to go!

St Louis: 0
Milwaukee: 1

Tomorrow: Mascots. (Beer AND Baseball)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

three stooges

When I first realized there was a Three Stooges beer, I was in St. Louis at the restaurant Blueberry Hill (owned by Chuck Berry). In the hallway near the bathrooms, BH has some fascinating display cases with pictures of famous people who have been to the restaurant and also some great collections of tv, music, and movie memorabilia. My favorite was the Beatles display, but, on my way out, something else caught my eye: a display of Three Stooges memorabilia, complete with the Three Stooges Beer, made by Panther Brewing Co.  Clearly, I missed the boat on this beer when it was being made, but that didn't mean I couldn't go on a quest to find the bottlecaps, which feature Larry, Moe, and Curley on them.

It didn't take too long, what with the internet and all. A search on eBay produced exactly what I wanted: a complete set of Three Stooges bottle caps -- with BOTH Curley crowns.

I have spoken about TV shows and their fake beers before and how there needs to be more fake-to-real beers made. I have also spoken about Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale and the awesomeness that is their bottle cap. But this is the first time I've seen the actual TV/movie stars ON the bottle caps. And who better than the Stooges? Maybe the Marx Brothers, but that might be asking a lot.

Is there a Beatles Beer that I'm not aware of with John, Paul, George and Ringo on the bottle caps? Someone should get on that, stat.

By the way, I think it goes without saying that these are definitely Hall of Famers.

And a last note, here is Moe, Slap Happy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

colt 45

Michael and I love to explore a new neighborhood. Recently we visited a friend who just bought an apartment in Clinton Hill, and we were on our way over to have dinner on his fabulous roof deck and check out the new pad. Apartment envy set in.

But on our way over to the gorgeous new apartment, I was scanning the streets for new and unusual bottle caps -- something different than the Heineken, Smirnoff, and Coronas that I usually find on my street.

Just my luck: a (slightly beat up) Colt 45 was right in front of me, glinting in the sun.

Colt 45 is one of those beverages that I am HAPPY to pick up off the street, if it means that I never actually have to drink one. And it's not to be confused with the other kind of Colt 45, which I hope no one ever finds on the street. That's just dangerous.

Anywhoo, this malt liquor bottle cap is fancier than I thought it would be. It has a bold blue Colt 45, proudly announces that it's malt liquor (why would you do that?!) and also has a horseshoe and a horse, bucking in said horseshoe. There is also the background silver/white Colt 45 name repeated underneath the blue. It's almost TOO busy for its own good. But I admire what they're trying to do there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

goose island

I will admit it: My mom totally encourages this blog. (Hi mom!) She sends me emails when she likes posts, and you may have even seen a comment or two from her on here.

But mostly, she tells me that she's been on the lookout for bottle caps for me, and now, every time I go home, there's a pile of crowns and usually a beer or soda for me to bring home with me. She even promised that she'd take me on a beer run in a few weeks. Score!

Last time I went home, she presented me with a nice haul. One of the crowns included in the pile is Goose Island, a beer hailing from the Windy City.

Goose Island also makes soda, which I've managed to find on my own.

Both of these bottle caps fit the bill, but I'm guessing, dear readers, that you can pick out which one I like better.

Yep, its the one with the goose on it. How can you not like a goose head on a bottle cap? It goes nicely with a Duck-Rabbit bottlecap. Maybe the goose and the duck/rabbit can be friends? Someone should write a children's story about it. I'm telling you, that idea is GOLDEN. Almost like a goose that laid golden eggs.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Sometimes, you have one of those days where everything just lines up the way you want them to.

As I believe I've mentioned before, Michael is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. In 2006, when the Cardinals won the World Series, he had a few superstitions going, one of which included drinking a Schweppes Ginger Ale while watching every game.

When I mentioned to this to my mom this morning, she said that I should definitely blog about Schweppes, and I said that I couldn't because I didn't have a Schweppes bottle cap!

Lo and behold: today, on our walk to the deli to get a Schweppes, what did I see on the ground, calling up to me?

A Schweppes bottle cap! Now, I swear, I have NEVER seen Schweppes in a glass bottle in my neighborhood. Yet, there it was, top-up in a tree planter.

I think it's a sign that the Cardinals are going to win tonight. I hope I didn't just jinx it.