Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rainier Beer and Hardy Reels

The Seattle Sick’s Brewing and Malting Company or Rainier Brewery was established in 1884 in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Though Rainier is no longer brewed there, it is still an iconic symbol of Seattle and the beginnings or a rich history of brewing here in the Pacific Northwest. The brewery was closed in 1999 after being purchased out by several companies, Pabst Blue Ribbon being the last. Though no longer being brewed in Seattle, Rainier Beer can still be purchased in the stores today.

I still remember the first time I drove to Seattle and saw the huge neon Rainier Beer sign next to the highway while being stuck in traffic. Today that sign is found in Seattle's Museum of History and Industry. Though Rainier is no longer brewed at the Seattle brewery, the brewery is now used to roast coffee beans for Tully’s Coffee. Coffee being the hip beverage for yuppies and socialites throughout the United States, it is only fitting that they were able to use this brewery and a piece of history for their needs.

A sign at Red Lodge on the North Fork Nehalem River. A home for a secret society of Oregon Steelheaders.

Vitamin R has lasted over a century, surviving several world wars, the Great Depression, prohibition and significant social change here in this country. Though brewed now in California, its cold refreshing pilsner taste is no different then decades past and you don’t have to worry about it turning into some sugar coated fruity micro brew that are around today. It also comes from the Yakima Valley's finest hops.

The rich history of the House of Hardy began in 1872 when gunsmith William Hardy started making firearms in his home in Alnwick, Northumberland, England. Soon after the addition of brother John James, they started working on their real passion, fishing equipment and by 1892 the first Hardy Perfect was patented. The exquisite design and quality workmanship of these reels make them very collectible and newer models made today still highly sought after.

In modern day standards, Hardy Reels are not the fanciest or most intricately made reels out there. What they lack in engineering and a modern drag, they make up for in personality and functionality and sometimes a loud and annoying ringing sound that forever gets you hooked on these click pawl reels. These reels are highly sought after for both fishing and a collectors market.

The history of the House of Hardy is very rich and has overcome two world wars and metal shortages during those times. During WWII they even helped to make munitions to help in the war effort. For those of you that are into the history of WWII, the most valuable defensive weapon that the British had to fight off the daily bombing raids from Germany was the use of a fighter plane called the Spitfire. It was the use of this fighter plane that England was able to win the Battle of Britain. Years after Hardy used recycled metal from these Spitfires using them for their reels.

Though Rainier Beer or even Pabst Blue Ribbon which also has been around for over a century is labeled more as a beer for the blue collar worker and Hardy reels more of a fly fishing tool for royalty or nobility, they are very similar. Both have lasted the test of time and both have been enjoyed by steelheaders here in the Pacific Northwest for the last decade. The simplicity and hard craftsmanship of both has labeled them as icons in their own trade. Though both are outsources today, they both hold a place of tradition and have not sold out to their roots to the new or fancy high tech or fruity sugar coated alterations of today's world. Now get one!

Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Sweet memories Mike!I remember that commercial too!

Rainier pounders got me through high school. I want one now!