20 February 2009

The Friday Belt

Trad Sister (actually she's more Bohemian than Trad) found a belt that was given to her by Trad Grandmother (actually she was more Continental than Trad) that belonged to Trad Dad as a high school kid in the 50s. I assume the belt was given to my father by Trad Granddad (more a Roaring 20s type) but I'm not sure. This was the German infantryman's buckle in WWII. Gott Mit Uns or God is With Us has always confirmed my suspicion that government BS is a full time job. Then and now.

From a design perspective it's a masterpiece. Cheaply made from stamped aluminum with that ever common sentiment among those cretins who send soldiers to die, "God is on our side." God sure has been on a lot of sides. Anyway, I can't wear this with my favorite Ralph Lauren khakis but it'll be placed in the sock drawer with the whistle my Grandfather carried in WWII and the sterling silver jump wings my father wore in Vietnam. I like to think of the three of us and what we all have in common. A love of beer.

Ballantine Ale is a lot like a Nazi belt buckle - - somewhat embarrassing with an ancient graphic and an underground following. I know Trad Dad drank it. First brewed in 1840 I assume my Grandfather had one or two as was well. Only available in a handful of States today --I just rediscovered it. The best part? Like that Springfield Rifle Sling belt...at $17 a case it's a steal.
Today the brand is owned by Pabst but made by Miller in Milwaukee. Oddly, you can't get it south of the Cheese Curtain in Chicago. I'm not sure what the Brand Manager of this stuff is up to but I have a feeling this beer is gonna take off soon. If it doesn't - - he should be fired and I should be hired.

I was always a fan of hoppy beers. In the last ten years the IPA or India Pale Ale has taken the beer market by storm. Many sell for $10 a six pack. In the New York City of 1985 I drank Ballantine Ale for one reason. It was cheap. Ten years later I rediscovered the beer in Chicago. An IPA, it was made in Ft. Wayne and it was still cheap. Then it disappeared.
It was the beer of choice for Trad Dad in Central Asia and just when I thought it was long gone it finds me again. Not as hoppy as the Ft Wayne IPA but what do want for .70 cents a bottle? This is a great everyday beer. Perfect with cheap Port Wine Cheese and Triscuts. There's something about that chalky processed cheese being cut with cold Ballantine that I just love.


Effortlessly Trad (FT) said...

Ballantine Beer Ad from the 50's. Warning: The stupid jingle will get stuck in your head and you may go into a bar and "make the three ring sign".


Anonymous said...

Sweet nazi belt, dude.

phred Dad said...

Tin-Tins phred Dad

The German Army (Whermacht?) didn't have much use for the Nazis. Notice there's no swastika on the buckle, just the traditional German eagle and wreath.

W.Essex said...

^ Aren't the eagle's claws on a swastika?

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Great post. I think Hemingway once wore such a belt.

Anonymous said...

Was Hemingway a big supporter of genocidal dictaitorships, too?

phred/dad said...

Tin-Tins phred Dad

Shame on me! I haven't seen that belt in over 50 years and should have looked closer.
It does have a small swastika under the eagle.
I guess the German Army had to obey
the Secret Police.
So it goes.

Giuseppe said...

I remember seeing the old guys drinking Ballantine Ale in the summer with ice cubes at our local dump bar when I was underage.

I love the satisfactionof a proper cheap beer. A few years ago someone relaunched Narragansett, a local New England cheapie from the old days. At $5 for a six pack of tall cans, what's no to love.

Beers like this are simple, honest and refreshing, and they offer a dose of character that Budweiser never will.

poloist12 said...

How can anyone miss the swastika?
It was the first thing I saw.

tintin said...

I rejected another comment that I didn't mean to. Easy and Elegant Life is always Easy and Elegant with his comments. This recent comment rejection business has much to do with using a cell phone to publish and hitting "Reject" by mistake. That I'm driving while doing this and just moments ago almost rear ended someone can also have some influence...I have learned my lesson. So here's Easy and Elegant-

"LBT's got it right. That was Hemingway's everyday belt. I imagine he liberated it right after he liberated the bar at The Ritz in Paris. Splendid piece of kit.

My cheap beer, when I accidentally lived in Muncie, IN, was a case of Little Kings. The smaller bottle made me feel like an pro football player. There is a place for cheap beer (in the freezer until almost solid, in my opinion. Or college. Or right after yard work...) In the meantime Guinness is good for you.

Cheers. "

Anonymous said...

Let's give a 1983 shout out to the preferred uber-cheap beer of this future Trad blogger....
National Bohemian.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Glad to hear you won't be blogging whilst driving anymore, Tintin. I got my first whiff of Ballantine from my paternal grandmother. She taught us how to play solitaire on Ballantine coasters. She had actually made a deck of cards out of them. 52 of 'em.

Anonymous said...

Dollop of Carolina sturgeon roe atop 1/6th slice of fried !BACON! nestled in a microchunk curl a semi-melted smoked gouda cheez product reclining on a ever so lightly toasted Triscut. A Lash La Rue lunch box full. Washed down with a half dozen them wide mouth Roller Rock, chugged within half hour. Bubber, Gstaad

dandy nihilism said...

The German eagle actually goes back to medieval times. It's featured on the Holy Roman Empire's coat, as well as the German Empire's coat. The Weimar Republic (interwar) also used it. With the downfall of Weimar was the rise of the National Socialist, and we can easily see they utilized it.

Curiously the West Germans continued use of the symbol after the war, whereas the East (communist)Germans didn't care so much for the bird. After unification, the East was essentially subsumed, sociopolitically, by the West and the eagles remains in use until this day. I believe it's referred to as the 'federal eagle' now.

Anonymous said...

One day you dish Harvey Weinstein, the next you pay homage to Nazi memorabilia. Is this coincidence or Antisemitism? Not that the average Jew (self included) give a crap. We're out-working and out-investing you, while you blog (verb?) your observations about people and clothing. Yawn.

tintin said...

Anon - Thanks for the comment. I understand less than 1% of a blog's readers bother to post a comment. I appreciate yours... but you're wrong. This blog is about soul. Whether it's a belt, bar, restauarant or button down. I try (really hard) to keep from being too negative while focusing on what's still available out there. I only hope you dig a little deeper around here...If it's still a yawn let me know.

Jonty F said...

The German word for Army is Heer - Wehrmacht is the word they use in war comics for the army; it just means Armed Forces.
I have always hooked on the mementoes that guys brought back from any war - it is not about anti semitism, it is about trophies and totems; there must have been kids knocking around in Sparta with the the belts their dads took off dead Persians.
Still the best style blog on the net and one of the few things I actually bookmark and make a point of reading.


Jon F

tintin said...

Jonty F-

Hard for me to disagree with your keen insight and good taste in blogs. Thank you.

The Bellhop