Saturday, September 22, 2007
All these marketing articles a few years ago said that the way to sell wine was to put animals on the label. So now, everything has a bird, a lion, a kangaroo, whatever.
Well, animals don't work for me. At least not so much. What seems to work for me is ... World War II airplanes. I have this thing for World War II airplanes. And my favorite of the bunch, just happens to be the P-40, often known as the Warhawk, though it went by several different similar names depending on the version. I don't know why I love it - it was a great big, slow, overly armored obsolete dinosaur before the war even started. But ever since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated by the P-40. It looks cool. And it has the unusual distinction of being the backbone of the Flying Tigers, who used this out-dated plane time and again to get the better of the Japanese flying the white hot new Zero, which by all rights should have slaughtered the old American planes (the trick, apparently, was to fly very high, wait for the Zeros to appear below, the use the huge weight of the P-40 to come screaming down out of the sky, blasting everything in your path. Then you hope like Hell you've done enough damage to slow the Zeros down, all the while relying on your great slabs of armor to keep you alive).
So what do I see on a beer store shelf this week? Warbird Pale Ale from some place in Indiana. I don't know anything about it. And I am usually not fond of a straight pale ale; I prefer big India Pales Ales. But it has a great big pretty picture of a P-40; the 8-year-old in me wouldn't let me leave without this beer (good thing they didn't card my Inner Child).
And guess what? It's good. Very good, even. Powerful without being overpowering. Flavorful, with a nice hoppy aroma, musky and floral. I might have bought some more sometime even without the really cool airplane picture.
Now, I gotta go to Indiana and check out Warbird Brewing. I might even be tempted to try some Thunderbolt Wheat,even though I don't like wheat beers. And I'd love to try the Mustang Golden Ale. Damn, these guys have my number.
Commenter Cub corrects my romantic, yet historically hazy, vision of the P-40s role in the war over China.
Cub, otherwise known as Dan Ford, writes:
Ah, but the Flying Tigers never met the Zero in combat. For the full story, see
Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942, just published by HarperCollins.
That said, I'll keep an eye out for Warbird ale. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Which of course points up the danger of relying on comic books as your source of historical information. But it does nothing to diminish my prepubecent admiration for the sleek likes of the poor old P-40.
at 4:55 PM