Earlier this week, Portland native and “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening revealed that Springfield, the geographically ambiguous city where the show takes place, was actually named for Springfield, Ore. You would think a show that takes place in Oregon, a craft beer mecca, would have a better signature beverage than crappy old Duff Beer.
People are crazy for craft beer in Oregon. The state has one brewery for every 31,662 residents, the second-highest concentration in the country. Milk is listed as the official state beverage, but visit Portland or Eugene and you’ll find that the drinkable dairy scene is not nearly as vibrant as the craft beer scene. It comes as no surprise that the state fish, the Chinook, shares it name with an aromatic hop grown in the region. Oregon is a craft beer state, through and through.
There are certainly a few craft breweries that have been around since before “The Simpsons” debuted in December of 1989. Why not drink up Deschutes Black Butte Porter or Full Sail with Captain McCallister as a mascot? I can hear him saying, “Arr, try the Glass Eye-P-A.” Heck, even a Rogue brew would be more appropriate – they could call it Brogue and have Groundskeeper Willie ripping off his shirt on the label. Anything but Duff, right?
Well maybe not. After all, it’s hard to parody something wonderful like craft beer, but something cheap and nasty like an industrial lager creates plenty of opportunities to have some fun. Groening and the gang have had quite a bit of fun with the fictional Duff Beer in the past 23 seasons.
For a refresher, take a look at Duff's Wikipedia page. It’s amazing to see a bunch of Duff Beer references collected in one place; the show has built a powerful lampoon against mass-produced swill and America’s affinity for hyper-marketing over the years.
I laughed out loud a few times while reading it, especially when I got to Tartar Control Duff, and when I was reminded of the Seven Duffs – the theme park mascots at Duff Gardens – Tipsy, Queasy, Surly, Sleazy, Edgy, Dizzy and Remorseful. Poor Remorseful!
Giving it some thought, I’m happy we don’t see Homer knocking back a Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and that Barney’s belches aren’t fueled by Bridgeport Blue Heron. While it’d be nice for craft beer to get its due on the show, it’s more fun to watch them stick it to the big boys, something many an Oregon craft beer lover would enjoy doing.
Can I get an “Oh yeah!” Duffman?
What’s your favorite Duff Beer moment from the show? And what are your favorite Oregon brews? As always, let us know below!
Jim Galligan is co-founder of the Beer and Whiskey Brothers blog, where he and his brother Don cover the ever-evolving world of craft beer and distilled spirits.
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