Deadspin definitely had it right with Coors Banquet Beer. You really want it to suck so you can drink it once, say you tried it, and then dismiss it because its taste is just not to your liking. If beer paralleled politics, Coors should taste like a warm, skunky Rolling Rock that has been sitting in a cooler in the trunk of your car for a month, but sadly, Coors Banquet tastes righteous. In a good way.
I did not always feel this way. Back in college, when I was a beer snob, my friend went to college with Melissa Coors, Pete’s daughter. In fact, she was dating one of his roommates. During parents’ weekend senior year, Pete came to a house party for which my friend ponied up the dough for a keg of Yuengling Porter. Sounds of The Bogmen played in the background. This keg, of course, had a velvet rope around it and you had to be a VIP to get any, so my friend carefully poured a full goblet (read a red Solo cup) of the dark, full-bodied goodness with a perfect head on it. Pete took a sip, set his goblet down and pronounced his verdict: “We do not have to worry about these guys.” My buddy had to be restrained at the card table so as not to kick Pete and his sorry-ass palate into oblivion.
There is a saying that every man is a revolutionary in his youth and dies a conservative. I must be getting old because the days of mugs and mugs of Yuengling Porter are in the rearview mirror and the twilights on the porch with a case of Coors Original are upon me. I was a true firebrand years ago in the early days of the Beer Revolution. In days of yore, I drank with relish a brew that tasted like you were chewing on a Cascade hop. Now just make it cold and crisp as a mountain stream and I am a happy man. A simple kind of man. Pardon me if mix beer metaphors here. Different mountain but you get the idea.
As I sip a Coors Original, my thoughts often wander to Ezra Pound. He is the Coors Original of modernist poetry. You want him to suck, so you can read him, say you tried, and then dismiss him because his poetry is not to your liking. Pound should read like a Rolling Rock, but he does not. I am a Pound guy. No, I do not drink the Kool-Aid like Hugh Kenner, but I have read The Cantos and, like a cold Coors Banquet, I enjoy reading through it every once and awhile when I get the urge. Sometimes, reading Pound’s letter and reading about him in the teens and twenties running lit mags and establishing the taste for experimental writing in America, I think Ole Ez might sit in a bar with the guys and knock back a Coors, but probably not. He is a lambic-type of guy. A sour beer with fruit in it. No doubt an apricot. Served in a sophisticated glass. It is the troubadour in him.
As for me, a couple of days ago I pulled down my trusty Norton Modern Poetry from the shelf and popped a Coors Original from the fridge and read the first poem of The Cantos on the deck as the sun went down. My dog had dug a hole in the yard and into this pitkin I poured a libation for the dead and listened for a loon to call its mate home. And it was epic.
And as it got dark, I took a pull on my commemorative 1936 Coors stubby, looked at the label, and my thoughts immediately went to the epics of Leni Riefenstahl and Olympia. With Coors and Pound, you just cannot shake the past, which buzzes in your ear and nips at you repeatedly like a mosquito, until the epic spell is eventually broken and you run inside to the house slapping yourself straight into the shower.