Letting some of our favorite writers talk about sports, food, beer and bars.
Bewildering Big Beer Branding Blunders By David Rooney
There's never a shortage of silly marketing ideas in the mainstream beer world. Be it a new packaging "innovation", a strong impulse to persuade us their beer is the coldest, or a poor attempt at a craft beerlike offering, I'm always intrigued by what some of these companies choose to sink millions of dollars into in an attempt to get me or you to grab their subpar product off the shelf. Accompany me on this magical five-minute journey as I comment on some of the worst, and downright insulting, beer marketing ideas of the last fifteen years or so. 1. The Heineken Mini Keg In theory, this idea is actually kind of cool. The green and silver keg holds 5 liters of beer (which, as you know off the top of your head equals 1.32086 gallons) and fits nicely on top of a table so you and your friends can easily access the Dutch goodness inside. But after you assemble the damn thing and realize that after tumbling around your backseat for a half hour, a third of the vessel holds nothing but foam, you're going to wish you went with glass bottles instead. 2. Coors Light's Vented Wide Mouth Can "It lets in air for a smooth, refreshing pour", says the commercial narrator. No one is pouring their Coors Light into a glass. If anything, they're pouring it into a plastic bottle and taking it to the gym or on a long bike ride because it's basically water. In 2013, the brand doubled down and added a second vent for, I assume, more smoothness. With any luck, the overpaid associates who suggested the vent idea were strongly reprimanded by their superiors years later. 3. Miller Fortune Miller Fortune was released about ten years ago in a response to the onslaught of higher alcohol craft beers that were rapidly gaining in popularity. The Miller Fortune commercial was dark and foreboding and featured the beer being served in a rocks glass for some odd reason. The beer clocked in at 6.9% (surprisingly high) and was "undistilled", which literally means nothing. The brand folded Miller Fortune after two years. I've honestly never seen one in real life, ever. 4. Foster's 24 ounce "Oil Can" Just kidding, this is a great idea. 5. Coors Light's "Mountains Turn Blue" Cans The idea behind this new package design was that when the mountains on a Coors Light can turned blue (when the beer reached about 40° F), the beer inside was "as cold as the Rockies" and ready to drink. Luckily, most humans enjoy the sense of touch and can determine for themselves when a beer is cold or not. To my dismay, this gimmick garnered a lot of attention when it was unveiled and likely made Coors Light’s parent company oodles of money. 6. Miller Lite's Vortex Bottle Finally, the most ridiculous "our consumers are so stupid they'll buy this concept without question" marketing ploy was Miller Lite's Vortex Bottle. The neck of the bottle featured spiral grooves that, wait for it, "let that great pilsner taste flow right out". Insane? Yes. But appropriately named as it no doubt made consumers' heads spin (much like a vortex) upon seeing this commercial for the first time. Ah, mass market beer companies, don't you know that it's what's on the inside that count
By: Pete Henson
Thanksgiving. The holiday everyone is trying to forget about by playing Christmas music the second the weather drops below 50 degrees. Personally, I think this has been a cruel ploy by Mariah Carey to bolster her Christmas album streaming numbers. Big Christmas does NOT want Thanksgiving to continue to be celebrated, and I think it’s time we all address what is going on here. I, for one, simply will not stand for it. Also, its hard to beat a giant feast the day after the biggest drink holiday in the world on Thanksgiving Eve.
Thanksgiving Day is one filled with beautiful, life-long traditions that bring everyone together. You start your day off with a turkey bowl football game with your long time, washed up friends where you drink 10-12 Kennys before stepping on the field. Others opt for a more relaxed yet confusing route, by watching the Macy’s day parade with family but this at least gives you plenty of time to drink some Kennys before dinner. Next, you have the slate of NFL games, where you can watch the Lions, and hopefully Cowboys, get destroyed while you enjoy a couple refreshing Kennys. Somewhere along the way, you inevitably find yourself in an argument with that one uncle who loves interjecting his opinions into the conversation without a single person asking. Finally, you have the main event of Thanksgiving dinner. When you’re stuffing your face with a humongous Thanksgiving feast, nothing pairs better than a Kenwood Beer. To end the night the right way, you can always throw on a Thanksgiving classic such as Pieces of April, Tadpole, The Ice Storm or Hannah and her sisters, while sipping on a nice, cold Kenny as a night cap.
As I alluded to before, the NFL always has a great* slate of games during Thanksgiving Day. As if you hadn’t disappointed your mom enough with your Thanksgiving Eve performance or the early morning festivities, why not double down and bet the house on the NFL games to really hammer it home? Besides, there is only so much you can talk about with your family before opting out and sitting on the couch to watch 6 straight hours of football. Let’s get to the picks.
**Disclaimer: I am the worst sports gambler in the world. I have been known to be faded heavily and others have told me this has brought them great success. Please continue cautiously**
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears (-3.5) (o/u 41.5)
I hope the food smells good because this first game stinks out loud. Who in their right minds wants to watch Tim Boyle vs. Andy Dalton UNLESS they have money on the game? Even the people in Detroit aren’t tuning in to have one Thanksgiving in peace, especially after their comeback last week that almost led to their first win of the year. The Bears might have to start Andy Dalton and their offense is still playing poorly, even with the return of David Montgomery. This is tough one to choose, because both teams are horrible, but they tend to keep the games close. I trust Andy Dalton about as far as he can throw a football nowadays, but he is matched up against a dude named Tim Boyle. If both teams can establish the run and score some early points, it may turn into a game with only 15 punts collectively. I would give the edge to the Bears here because they are coming off a tough loss, their defense is starting to come alive, and their starting quarterback isn’t Tim Boyle. OK defenses and bad offenses smell like an under to me.
Picks: Bears (-3.5) and the under (41.5)
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys (-7) (o/u 51)
Both these teams are coming off a bad loss where they failed to score many points. Both defenses are susceptible to giving up a ton of points. Both quarterbacks have been struggling as of late. Both fan bases love wearing jorts. These are all common themes in this Thanksgiving match up, but the Cowboys are heavily favorited for good reason. The Raiders offense hasn’t score more than 16 points in the last three weeks against bad defenses and the Cowboys really underperformed on Sunday vs. the Chiefs. While it wouldn’t shock me if the Raiders came out strong in this game, especially with everyone already writing them off, it feels like the chalk is the way to go here. The Cowboys always play tough at home. Although it pains me to say it, I think this one is a blowout and the over hits.
Picks: Cowboys (-7) and the over (51)
New Orleans Saints vs. Buffalo Bills (-4) (o/u 46.5)
This matchup is one between some of the most interesting fans in football. You have the crybaby Saints fans who love nothing more than Marches against Goodell and then the beautiful people of Buffalo, who never saw a table that they didn’t want to pile drive in half. This tailgate would be one of the better scenes of the year. Both teams are trending in the wrong direction but at least the Saints have an excuse, playing with a backup quarterback. Josh Allen looked unstoppable earlier this year, but their lack of a ground attack is hurting the offense a whole. Trevor Siemian is not a good QB by any means, but he has been able to string together some solid games, aside from last week’s beating. Both defenses have been gashed the week prior and I think that trend continues here. I think the Bills are a better team, playing way below their potential, and the Saints are pretty banged up at the moment. I would never bet against a guy with a rocket arm for a guy with a candy arm.
Picks: Bills (-4) and the over (46.5)
The Eagles tailgate scene rules the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Eight times per year (well, 10 times during the magical 2017 season), a desolate wasteland of empty parking lots and post-industrialization real estate turns into a party that lies somewhere between barbaric chaos and a feast for the Norse gods.
Wild tailgating does not need to be, nor should it be, limited to the Birds.
It’s a different animal entirely when it comes to scheduling for the NBA, MLB and NHL, sure. Home games aren’t guaranteed every weekend and sometimes the biggest matchups of the season fall on weeknights. Still. When the opportunity is ripe, getting rowdy for a Sixers tailgate can give you the same rush as pulling up to Jetro.
Let’s use this game for an example: Saturday, December 11. The Warriors come to Philly for an 8:30 p.m. national television game that will air on ABC. Golden State is 10-1 as of the time I’m writing this. The Warriors used to play in Philly. It’s Curry brother vs. Curry brother. This is the battle for which team gets to claim Wilt Chamberlain. The Wells Fargo Center parking lot better be lit up like it’s a 4:05 p.m. Eagles-Giants game.
(Maybe we actually need a Kenwood tailgate for that game?)
I’m getting increasingly amped as I type this. It’s mid-afternoon and I’m attending a Sixers game tonight. Yeah, I’m about to crack open a Kenny and then bang out the rest of this article.
Okay, I’m good now and have the mojo flowing.
You know the “I can’t wait until it gets colder so I can really start dressing” meme? That’s more true for basketball than any other spectator sport. A basketball jersey over a hoodie? That’s an all-time undefeated cold weather look. Go to Mitchell & Ness and grab a windbreaker. Go to your parents’ house and dig out your older brother’s Sixers Starter jacket in their basement. Stock up on all the Sixers City Edition Spectrum merch you possibly can. For Eagles games, you’re usually dressing for warmth. For Sixers games, you’re dressing for maximalist late-fall/winter vibes.
People aren’t going to be breaking out the grill like they usually do for Eagles tailgates for Sixers pregame festivities. Who cares? Grab a hoagie tray from Fink’s, carb load and start throwing those Kennys back.
You also need to find my dude Collin in the parking lot. That’s the guy who walks around selling koozies. He has every koozie imaginable. Jason Kelce Super Bowl speech koozies. Joel Embiid pumping up the crowd koozies. Tom Brady dropping a wide-open pass koozies. Allen Iverson rookie year jersey koozies. He even has X-Men and Avengers koozies. My three favorite things in this world are Marvel comics, Philly sports and slugging Kennys. It’s the Avengers: Endgame portal scene convergence of all my brands.
Here are five Sixers tailgate rules to live by:
1. No Ben Simmons gear.
2. No drunk driving. You’re allowed to leave your car in a Sports Complex parking lot overnight. Uber or take the subway down the next day and grab it.
3. Throw on a tailgate playlist that appeals to everyone. For every new track you have from Expensive Pain, you need a ‘90s alt-rock jam like “Graduate” by Third Eye Blind.
4. No multinational conglomerate light beers. It’s Kenewood or GTFO.
5. Bring your favorite people. Sports are the ultimate communal experience for Philadelphians. LIVE IT UP!
Sixers Tailgate Scene
By: Shamus Clancy
The Best Fictional Beer Brands In Video Games
By Jason Fanelli
Look, there is nothing in the world better than sitting back, cracking a cold one, and diving into a video game. Whether it's a hot new title fresh off the shelf or another session of a multiplayer game with friends, beer and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly.
However, sometimes when you're playing a game, you see the beer your character is drinking and you think "man, that sounds good, I want one of those" or "wow that's a funny name, what if that was real?" It's happened to me a few times, and this list here are just a few examples of the best fictional video game beers.
Pisswasser (Grand Theft Auto)
A beer that continues to be in the spotlight thanks to GTA V's multiple re-releases, Pisswasser follows the grand GTA tradition of beers named after ol' number one (see also Dusche Gold). Pisswasser is described in-game as a "cheap 11% ABV fighting lager brewed in Germany for export only from rice, barley, hops and the fresh urine of Bavarian virgins." I could do without that last ingredient honestly, but the rest sounds pretty cool.
Nanbou (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
I'm including this one for two reasons: one, you should play Deus Ex: Human Revolution if you haven't before. Second, the in-game description of this beer speaks for itself: "Nanbou goes down easy, like a good beer should. It looks good. It smells good. You'd step over your own mother to get one. But you don't have to stop at one! Nanbou now comes in 48-packs! Nanbou... Have another." Brilliant.
Ballistic Bock (Fallout 76)
The Fallout franchise actually has a proud tradition of unique beers dating back to 1998 and Fallout 2's Gamma Gulp. The more recent games, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, have expanded the inventory of Fallout original brews, with the latter even letting you brew your own beers at a brewing station. My favorite is the Ballistic Bock, brewed with gunpowder and adding 15% damage to all ballistic weaponry for five minutes. A little fire in the belly gives you more firepower, and that's never a bad thing.
Lothar Beer (Rage)
These two choices are less "I wonder what this beer tastes like" and more "I wonder what that beer is made of?" The world of Rage isn't exactly brimming with nature, so I'm legitimately curious what goes into either of these beers. At least in Fallout 76's post-apocalypse you have a clear ingredient list and a brewing process, here it's just random bottles strewn about the wastes. What are you, Lothar Beer? You fascinate me.
Midas Gold (The Wolf Among Us)
Admittedly this entry is cheating as Midas Gold appeared first in the Fables comics series before coming to video games via The Wolf Among Us, but I dig this beer so much. The main hero Detective Bigby Wolf's beer of choice, Midas Gold would make for an excellent real-world golden ale. If goldens aren't your preference, Midas Lime could substitute instead. Like Deus Ex this is a game that needs to be on your radar if it wasn't before, and when you play see if you can spot Midas Gold.
Jason Fanelli has been writing about video games and esports for a decade, with bylines at GameSpot, MMORPG.com, Esports.GG, and more. He also produces and hosts Cheesesteaks and Controllers, a weekly video game and esports podcast, for Fox PHL The Gambler 102.5 FM
Kenny Gainwell needs to be the Eagles’ RB1
By Shamus Clancy
The only thing more infuriating than the Eagles’ offense during the first three quarters of the game against the Panthers might have been their inability to kill the clock late.
With the Birds attempting to put the nail in the coffin with under two minute remaining in Charlotte, Miles Sanders had not one, but two blunders that had me pulling my hair out. Sanders, the Birds’ third-year starting running back, ran out of bounds on back-to-back runs as the Eagles were on their way to running out the clock and cementing a victory. The lack of football IQ displayed there made me nauseous. Doing so just once is rough, but doing it yet again blows my mind.
Dude… what the heck are you doing? That’s something taught to players at the lowest level of the sport. HOW? I would know to do that if I was playing at the rough touch league at DVYAA on 19th and Johnston. And I STUNK as an athlete!
The Eagles, rightfully, took Sanders off the field following those gaffs. Kenny Gainwell, the fifth-round rookie out of Memphis, came in, showcased some juice on an outside run for 12 yards and, most importantly, stayed in bounds to let that clock burn out. I was doing the worst Chris Berman impression of all time screaming, “TICK, TICK, TICK-TICK-TICK,” after Gainwell zoomed up the sideline.
The Eagles’ coaching staff’s complete disinterest in running the ball is perhaps the biggest takeaway from fans of all backgrounds this season. Even as someone who wants to be a progressive football guy and knows teams should be slinging the rock with a high frequency, I feel like I’m turning into my 60-year-old Uncle Pat when I look at the box score after these games. He still screams about Jordan Howard not being on the active roster in the top section of the Linc!
I’m left wondering if this new coaching staff increasingly doesn’t trust Sanders or, even worse, doesn’t see the talent there that the previous coaching regime did. Though the same front office remains in place, Gainwell is a rookie just as Nick Sirianni is a rookie head coach. It’s telling that they felt more confident in Gainwell, a guy in his fifth career NFL game, handling late-game duties than Sanders.
Gainwell has had only 21 rushing attempts this year compared to Sanders’ 48, but Gainwell actually has a higher yards per rush at 4.8 while Sanders is at 4.5. The passing game feels like the area of the game where Gainwell truly outclasses Sanders. Gainwell has already out-targeted Sanders as a receiver and I can only envision that continuing as Gainwell becomes more acclimated to the NFL.
Sanders is a talented player. That’s not in question. Gainwell, however, feels like a better fit for this Eagles’ offense that’s predicated on screen plays instead of between-the-tackle running. Maybe the Eagles deal Sanders in the offseason or even before the trade deadline next month. Either way, I’m more comfortable with Gainwell on the field than Sanders at this point.