davidd (davidd) wrote,

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Hic Heil!

I engaged in a discussion with a friend this evening via email in which I was lamenting the sorry story of the reaction I received from "other household members" to my desire to attend La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain, again in 2008. The logic of my intent was compared by my household members to the same logic employed by suicide bombers who murder innocent civilians. "It makes exactly the same sense," I was told, rather harshly I thought, "to spend three-thousand dollars to go throw tomatoes for an hour" as it does to strap on a bomb and assassinate civilians. Indeed, it was intimated that attending La Tomatina was on par with the senseless murder of Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King.

Needless to say, I've since been in somewhat somber spirits. My friend's response to the situation: "there's nothing you can do about it... except have a beer."

Good advice, that. As I sat sipping my Samuel Adams Brown Ale I found myself wondering, if attending La Tomatina is as purely evil as blowing up civilians in Iraq or Pakistan or London or Afghanistan, then since I'm drinking beer, I should be drinking a seriously evil beer. Sure, Arrogant Bastard uses an evil-ish marketing theme, and the Rogue Dead Guy brand features a dead guy on their label, but when it comes to truly evil beer the ultimate question has to be: what would Hitler drink?

Because I have no life, or at least, what little life I have I prefer to devote to frivolous, pointless, time-wasting daydreaming rather than to more practical, albeit prosaic, matters like housecleaning or car-washing, I have spent the last ninety minutes researching Hitler's Favorite Beer. Now, the answer to most factual-type questions can usually be found within moments through a properly key-worded internet search. Not so Hitler's favorite beer. Rather, a combination of research, reasoning, and deduction on par with that of a Dan Brown character were required to resolve this issue. And resolved it is, at least to my satisfaction. Here, then, are my conclusions, and the reasoning behind my selection of the most likely candidate for Hitler's Favorite Beer.

My first source was joesixpack.net, where I learned about Rocky Balboa's favorite beer, as well as the preferred libations of other quasi-fictional characters, like James Bond, who has, so I read, forsaken "shaken, not stirred" for Heineken. As an aside, Heineken, I can state from personal observation, is the favorite half-empty beer bottle for drunken army soldiers to throw from the windows of speeding cars in the dead of night to shatter on sidewalks and in bike lanes for joggers and children on bicycles to navigate through the next morning. Somehow, I can't picture Hitler doing that. Besides, Heineken is Dutch, not German, it's a pale beer, and it's force-carbonated. Hardly the stuff of The Master Race.

As a fictional character in a short story by Richard Grayson, a youthful, handsome Hitler prefers Beck's beer. Other sources suggest Beck's was a staple aboard the Third Reich's U-Boat fleet during the Second World War. My research suggests, however, that Beck's is not a likely candidate for Hitler's "favorite" beer. His preference was for, and his experience was with, true München Bavarian beers rather than sailor's beer from Bremen.

Some sources describe Hitler as an ascetic eschewing spirits, but the bulk of historical documentation suggests The Führer "drank beer and diluted wine frequently."

The Beer Hall Putsch is often marked as a significant turning point in Hitler's political career. Back in Hitler's youth, beer halls in München were popular gathering spots for the public, and served as convenient locations for large gatherings, including political rallies. Two of Hitler's "favorite" watering holes were located in München. "Munich's most historic drinking sites include the Hofbräuhaus and the Bürgerbräukeller, both of which carry local associations of everyone from Adolf Hitler to the boy or girl next door," notes Frommer's travel site.

The Bürgerbräukeller, even in Hitler's time, was a subsidiary of Löwenbräu. Could Löwenbräu, then, be Der Führer's brew of choice? This is unlikely for two reasons. One reason: the Bürgerbräukeller was the site of an attempt on Hitler's life in the late 1930s. The location was never rebuilt after a bomb intended for Hitler badly damaged the structure. More significantly, however, several sources suggest Hitler preferred dark beer, and Löwenbräu does not not brew dark beers.

Hofbräuhaus, however, has been brewing beer, including dark beers, since the 1500s. This location, too, was known as one of Hitler's hang-outs. While the current Hofbräuhaus web site fails to mention Hitler, a quick Google search for Hofbräuhaus reveals numerous travel blogs in which the writers inevitably note that the brewery tours highlight the well-known connection with Hitler. Significantly, Hofbräuhaus still brews a traditional dark beer. This beer may well indeed have been one of Adolf Hitler's favorite distilled beverages.

Period sources suggest that as Hitler's power grew, his tastes became more refined. "After he became prominent he had a special dark beer of less than 2 percent alcohol content especially brewed for him in the Holzkirchen Brewery of rural Bavaria." The Holzkirchen Oberbräu Brewery is still extant, having been saved from oblivion some years ago by a concerned group of brewing connoisseurs and investors. Among several varieties produced today is a mild, dark beer closely matching the description of Hitler's "especially brewed" dark beer. Holzkirchner Laurenzi Export Dunkel, from the brewery probably commissioned by Hitler to produce a custom beer particularly suited to his discerning palate, may well be the closest beer available today to that preferred by The Führer himself.

While München's Hofbruau Dunkel likely lubricated the proto-führer's inflammatory rhetoric in the early days of his ascent to political power, my careful, scholarly, brown ale-inspired research suggests Hitler's beer of choice was a mild, dark, low-production craft beer from the heart of Bavaria akin to Holzkirchen Oberbräu Brewery's Holzkirchner Laurenzi Export Dunkel.

P.S.: just for the record, if you check the Wikipedia article on La Tomatina, you'll see a photo of some guys greasing a wooden pole. That's my photo. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people who have attended La Tomatina over the past few years, and out of countless thousands of photos taken of the event, only two photos appear at Wikipedia, and one of them is mine. I guess that makes me some kind of authority, huh? Nevertheless, it's frivolous, pointless, and utterly evil for me to consider a return trip. So much for Dave's contribution to world knowledge. I wonder if Albert Schweizer's relatives gave him grief for going to Africa? More to the point, maybe I should forget Tomatina and plan for Oktoberfest; I'll spend a month in Bavaria tipping back liters of Holzkirchner Laurenzi Export Dunkel, Hitler's Favorite Beer.

(Cross-posted from my not-yet-ready-for-primetime embryonic site-in-development)

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