Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Piss Beers of Upstate New York: Part 2, Utica Club (Uncle Charlie)
I need to immediately preface this post (follow up to Part 1: Genny) with some disclaimers. By saying "piss beer" I mean no insult and I am not being a beer snob or puttin' on airs. I have a soft spot down deep in my heart for Utica Club (in the wiki, scroll down for info on UC), and I actually think it is one of the finer beers in its genre (American Lagers). I am saying this to avoid the torrent of hate mail that I would receive from proud Uticans if they actually thought I was insulting UC. I don't know what it is about Uticans, but they are a touchy folk. Two of my most trafficked posts are the Utica specialties Chicken Riggies and Utica Greens. I took a couple liberties with both of the recipes and the response, ahem, was a little venomous (someone told me to die). So anyways, I like Utica Club.
I like everything about Utica Club starting with the golden box. Just look at that proud design with "Utica Club" splashed across the front in crimson. Utica club is a beer with a storied history (you should really read the wiki). Brewed by the Matt Brewing Company (brewers of the venerable Saranac family of beers), "Uncle Charlie" has been around for quite a while. In fact, it was officially the first beer in the United States sold after prohibition. I'm not lying, just read the box.
Utica Club and I go way back. My dad has been a die hard Schultz and Dooley mug collector for as long as I can remember. I think he has all of them, plus a crap ton of the newer ones. Not that I blame him, Schultz and Dooley are pretty much the best brand mascots of all time. Come on folks, a German mug and an Irish mug who argue? That's good stuff. Here is one of their old commercials, there are more on youtube.
Behold UC in it's golden vessel.
I didn't do a pour shot, but Utica Club is a pale gold much in the vein of Genny, High Life, or any of the other usual suspects. In flavor it is slightly sweet, with only a hint of hops. This beer begs for a cooler full of half melted ice. Drunk ice cold, for my money Utica Club is one of the classics in American style lagers, meant to thoroughly refresh you on a balmy New York summer day.
You can criticize away, and drink whatever you choose, but don't tell me that Utica Club is crap. I have worked in a craft brewery, I brew my own beer, and I am a true lover of good beer and I will remain unconvinced. I just like the stuff, and as I said about Genny the other day, it has its place. They drink a lot of good wine in France, but on the other hand, a lot of the stuff they drink on a daily basis is plonk they buy in milk jugs at the market. You don't always need to drink the high test. There is a place for craft beer, and there is a place for affordable American Lager. We should not look down our noses.