If you were born later than 1965, there are likely two distinct periods in your life – the time before you saw the movie “Jaws,” and the time after you saw the 1975 killer shark thriller.
Before “Jaws” the world was your oyster – any body of water held the promise of splashy summer fun with your friends. After “Jaws,” you wouldn’t jump into a land-locked community pool without double-checking to make sure there wasn’t a dorsal fin gliding silently across the water’s surface. Duhhh-duumm…duhhhh-duumm.
The folks at Narragansett Brewing Company have a special place in their hearts for this summer blockbuster, because their flagship beer – Narragansett Lager – has a special place in the film. It was featured in a scene where Robert Shaw’s crusty captain Quint tries to intimidate marine biologist Matt Hooper (played by Richard Dreyfuss) by crushing a can of Narragansett Lager he’d just polished off. Not to be outdone, Hooper crushes the empty paper cup he’d been drinking out of, albeit with less macho effect.
Now you can recreate this classic scene with the release of retro-styled Narragansett Lager cans, which look almost identical to the one crushed by Quint (minus the toe-slicing pull tabs that littered the beaches back in the day). If you want to make things even more authentic, point your shark hunting boat off the shore of Cape May, New Jersey, where you very well could have a great white encounter of your own.
Like its label, the beer inside the can also harkens back to a simpler time. In an age of gonzo IPAs and beers brewed with everything from licorice to grapes to wasabi, there’s something refreshing about a well-made American Adjunct Lager. Narragansett Lager pours a little darker than your standard macro lager, and treats your taste buds to an unpretentious mixture of bready malts and a sweet hint of corn, followed by a spicy little tickle of hops on the back end. Nice, easy and tasty. Sometimes it’s fun to drink Dad Beer.
Narragansett isn’t the only brewer waxing nostalgic for the days of muttonchops and polyester. In December, Miller Brewing Company released a throwback version of Miller Lite, resurrecting the iconic white can (Tastes great! Less filling!) that put it on the map. The rollout coincided with the release of the retro-romp “Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” and lifted sales of the beer so significantly, Miller has extended the end of its run from March of this year until September 30.
Like Narragansett, Miller is also using a decades-old blockbuster to draw attention to their retro can this summer, with billboards proclaiming “All Other Light Beers: I Am Your Father.” Clearly they want to pat themselves on the back for creating “the original light beer” (Dr. Joseph Owades, who created Gablinger’s Diet Beer over a decade earlier, would disagree) while making us think of poor Luke Skywalker hanging off that scaffolding in Cloud City crying his little Jedi eyes out.
If you’re waxing nostalgic for a taste of simpler times gone by, then Narragansett and Miller Lite have you covered. If these don’t float your boat (or charge you lightsaber), there’s always Pabst Blue Ribbon, whose sales might suffer this summer now that hipsters have more options for ironic beers to enjoy.