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Together We Can Do This – Matt Martino

Together We Can Do This

I, like most Americans, am a simple, honest, hardworking individual. I go to work three, sometimes four days a week. I mow my own yard. I watch football on Sundays. And I enjoy a cold, refreshing beer from time to time. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

If you were to inspect my aluminum can recycling bin (I can thank my tree hugging friend Diesel Dick Hagglestein for showing me the benefits of recycling), you would find that my favorite flavor of oat soda is Pabst Blue Ribbon. Yes, oftentimes Dennis will bring over a 12 pack of Miller 64 or Michelob Ultra, claiming he has to watch his figure (as he guzzles down every last one). But I won’t touch that Pollyanna, sissy juice. I’m a REAL AMERICAN and that’s why I drink REAL beer. Not third place. Not second place. FIRST place. Blue ribbon, baby.

However, this was not always the case. Back in my younger days when I was wild and uncouth, I developed a hankering for a stronger nectar. While my friends ordered Miller Lites and Budweisers, I asked the bartenders of Carbondale, IL for bright, golden cans of cold, delicious Stag beer. They usually replied with, “Uh….we don’t have that.” But on the occasions we frequented establishments that did, a good time was had by all.

Well, not “ALL”. You see, my sissy friends back then were much like Dennis is now. Their dainty livers were underdeveloped and unprepared for the sheer strength and vitality that a can of Stag contained. On the occasions that they came over and Stag was all I had at the house, they grumbled and protested but drank, albeit reluctantly. My friend Ash, no doubt inspired by the picture of a giant, 100 point buck (no exaggeration) on the front of the can, once commented that a can of Stag always went down “horns first”. They could not change my mind though. I knew Golden Quality when I tasted it.

Part of Stag’s appeal was it’s “no nonsense” approach. At a time when other brewers were striving to win customers by littering television and billboards with talking frogs and women in bikinis and big Clydesdale horses walking around performing various human activities, I was drawn to Stag because it didn’t bother with those tactics. It didn’t have to. I’m sure they could have gone on and on about the finest hops and time honored brewing traditions and whatnot…but there was no need. Those fine hops were in there. I knew it from the first taste. And they always have been….since 1851. 1851, people. That’s a long-ass time. And dancing frogs and horses belong in the woods. Not on television. Except for some PBS nature special, maybe. Or National Geographic. But that’s none of my business.

When I left Southern Illinois Stag became tough to find. It is, I discovered, distributed only regionally. And to a very small region at that. They didn’t even ship it to Chicago. So I choked down Miller Lite for years with the rest of the soulless bastards that wouldn’t have known a quality beer if it came up and bit them in the ass. When I arrived in Nashville I discovered it wasn’t available here either, to my utter dismay. In fact, the closest distributor of Stag to Nashville is located in Carbondale, IL. However, it was by that necessity that I discovered PBR, a quality product brewed by the Pabst Brewing Company. It was a compromise I learned to live with. Years went by…..

But then….something very peculiar happened.

Sometimes I enjoy some physical activity. Crazy as it sounds it actually makes me feel good. “Wellness” I think the yuppies call it. Not too much, mind you, but enough to keep the old ticker ticking the way it should. So early last week I decided to ride my bicycle to work, as I do from time to time. It was then, while pedaling steadily towards my destination, I saw a sight on the ground that made my heart race even faster. There, nestled gently in a pile of leaves was an empty, slightly dented golden can. I hit the brakes and my back tire skidded around me, leaving a long, black streak of rubber and making an ear piercing shriek, just like action heroes who ride motorcycles do in the movies. I read the can out loud: “Stag”.

The can was new. Recently discarded, I surmised. It showed no signs of weathering whatsoever. It was as if someone had just cast it out that morning, perhaps after enjoying it with a hearty breakfast. I scratched my chin and stared into the sky….my mission lay before me. I looked back down to the can in the leaves and the giant deer looked back up at me. “Find me, Matt”, he said. “Find me…and drink me.” The deer’s voice was just like Sam Elliott.

With help from the internet, I learned that Stag really hasn’t gotten any more popular since I left Carbondale. No new distributors had cropped up in Nashville. So, that leaves only two possibilities, neither of which seem terribly likely…..

One: someone returned with Stag from Illinois or some other location where Stag is available, drank and discarded the Stag can here in East Nashville. Since I THOUGHT the closest place you could buy Stag was three hours away, that seems unlikely to me, but not impossible. Or….

Two: Stag IS available somewhere in Nashville. Perhaps their website is out of date.

Which brings me to you.

My local search for Stag has begun, but I am only one man. I need your help. I know there are at least a few Nashvillian readers of this blog who enjoy a drink from time to time. Help me. And help yourselves. Find Stag. You’ll understand why it’s important when you taste it for the first time. It’s Pure. It’s American. Don’t fight it. Together we can do this. We can make this right. This is real. Life is now.

Help me search. It will likely be near the end of the cooler, near the Keystone and Natural Light. Probably right next to the PBR, actually. If some local retailer is carrying Stag beer, I know that with teamwork, we can find it. This is the most important thing in the world times a thousand. What we do in life echoes in eternity. Help me find Stag.


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