Each St. Patrick’s Day Americans consume more beer than any other day of the year. A recent industry study estimated that one percent of beer sales in the U.S. happen on March 17. This year, as you raise a glass, make it a melodious one with our top five brews that have or had ties to opera and classical music.
1. Rheingold beer
In the 1950s, Rheingold beer was New York’s blue-collar beer of choice, whether for its taste or its catchy jingle. Unlike its name, the tune did not reference Richard Wagner. After going bust in the 1960s, Rheingold was revived in 1998 with a Miss Rheingold contest. The current owners, Drinks Americas of Wilton CT, purchased the brand in 2005. Last summer, at San Francisco Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the character Wotan sipped from a can of Rheingold.
This summer Cooperstown’s Glimmerglass Opera will join forces with another local institution, Belgian-style brewery Ommegang, to create a new draft. The two groups canvassed operaphiles and beer fans for an inspired moniker. The result will be unveiled for the opera’s upcoming 2012 summer season.
3. Amadeus Blanche Bier
Our first import on our list, Amadeus Blanche Bier, is brewed in France despite its Austrian moniker. This crisp white ale has a low alcohol content and recommended to be served with a squeeze of lemon—a nice light and slightly acidic option to pair with a Mozart comedy.
4. Billy Budd Brown Ale
One of the most successful American craft brewers, Dogfish Head, pleases Herman Melville and Benjamin Britten fans with its Billy Budd brown ale. Coincidently, this Delaware brewery (which once produced a beer called Verdi, Verdi Good) is at least the second one to fashion a beer after Melville’s doomed character. Now defunct Caught-On-Bleu brewery from New Hampshire sold its Billy Budd beer from 1999 until Anheuser Busch sued the smaller company in 2002 for infringing on its Budweiser “Bud” trademark.
5. Falstaff Beer
There are beers named for Verdi and ones named for Shakespeare, but a favorite character of both figures provided the inspiration for Falstaff Beer. Founders the Lemp family chose Sir John Falstaff as its mascot because the rotund character represented the merrier aspects of drinking. Pabst Brewing Co., which acquired the St. Louis-based brewery in 1983, stopped producing the label in 2005.
Weigh in: What beverage do you find enhances the listening experience? Tell us about it below: