I am clearly a Standard Lager fanatic. Iím not clinically insane about it, but I am pretty damn close. That was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when I was recently officially informed by the MLCC that the ďManitoba OriginalĒ had been abruptly discontinued.
I flew into a panic, racing around town, cobbling together what few cases of the delicious nectar remained upon vendor shelves. I started filling the space beneath my basement stairs with precious 12-packs, plotting the moments down through the coming years when I would pull out a bottle to share with an old friend.
I donít know why Standard Lager is my favourite. Sure, there are other great Canadian beers like Labattís 50 and Keithís and Moosehead. But an ice cold Standard is just the best. It always has been. If youíve been handed one every year at 6:00 am Monday morning in the Winnipeg Folk Festival campground, you know what Iím talking about.
I suppose thatís what itís all about: tradition. There are some people who find a great joy in simply celebrating where weíve come from, and then thereís all those idiots who are just looking to get somewhere else.
Itís not surprising that Standard has long been the beer of choice amongst home-grown Manitoba music lovers whoíve made the Winnipeg scene by far the most happening one in the country. You canít go to an Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices or a D.Rangers or a Perpetrators show without seeing Standard bottles everywhere. Standard to those people is about as necessary as water.
And now it was gone. I phoned the Molson reps, and left them nasty messages, saying stuff like, ďIím not looking for a fight, I just want whatís right,Ē declaring that I would lead a city-wide boycott on all Molson products.
But revenge served cold required the right beverage. What would happen now? Would we focus on other great local beers like Fort Garry and Half-Pints? Or would we have turn to Saskatchewan for their Pilsener and their Bohemian, or to Ontario for their Export?
I was practically shaking, I was so shocked and feeling so helpless and betrayed. After all, as a bartender, I had served well over 100,000 bottles of the stuff in my day. It was my friend, my confidante, one might even say my true love (well, letís not forget the bourbon). But it was no more.
And then, just in the nick of time, the Man From Molson called me at home to report that my loveís demise had been greatly exaggerated. Contrary to all official reports, although the two-four would be no more, Standard would continue to be available in 12-packs.
I was numb. I had seen my life flash before my eyes. But it would be okay. Iíd faced the deepest feelings of aloneness, and I think Iíd become stronger somehow. Or maybe that was just the beer talking.
As that great beer drinker in the sky, Baron Munchausen, once said, ďAnd that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience I donít hesitate to strongly recommend.Ē