Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, "God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy." Judge Brett Kavanaugh, by his own admission, wanted to be very happy. In his Senate testimony last week, he mentioned beer 29 times, by some counts.
Ben Franklin didn't actually say that about beer (it was more likely wine, according to the Franklin Institute), and today's essay is not going to be about the divisive politics of the Supreme Court nomination. It is going to be about the brew, the beverage, that hopped into the national spotlight.
Unlike Kavanaugh, I don't like beer. Oh, sure, I drink it occasionally, but I lean toward — this will enrage Joe Sixpack — either the light stuff like Corona, or Blue Moon (each served with a slice of fruit), or a thick, malty Belgian that doesn't have the "beer" taste that Kavanaugh craves. That's present tense, because he is still a beer man, although I don't know how much he is feeling the draft.
His tastes are with the majority: 42 percent of Americans like beer best, 34 percent choose wine, and 19 percent reach for spirits, according to Gallup. "Beer has almost always been Americans' preferred alcoholic beverage since Gallup began tracking this question in 1992," the company says.
One thing I have not seen reported is the brand that Kavanaugh favors. Is this a cover-up? Is it in the FBI report? Is crafty Kavanaugh holding out for an endorsement deal?
I also don't know if the extreme exposure has been helping or harming beer sales.
I need to ask an expert, and in Philly, who better than Dublin-born Fergus Carey, proprietor of Fergie's Pub on Sansom Street and co-owner of Monk's Cafe on 16th Street?
Like me, he's been wondering what was, and is, Kavanaugh's brew of choice.
"I've been talking about this: a) What beer was he drinking when he was 17, and b) He still likes beer, he has told us that many times — what beer does he like now?" asks Carey, better known as Fergie.
"What's the beer that he goes to when he goes home tonight and he opens the fridge?" asks Fergie. This will tell us a lot about the man, he says. If we are going by sales, it would likely be some Budweiser product, as gigantic Anheuser-Busch controls 41.6 percent of the U.S. market.
For the record, Fergie's go-to fridge beverage is a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Mine is a pitcher of Crystal Lite lemonade. (It had been Diet Pepsi, until the soda tax.)
The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18 and Fergie swears he had no more than two drinks before reaching 18. Fergie notes that in addition to drinking too much, by Kavanaugh's own admission, the teen also was drinking illegally.
"I'm assuming he was drinking total crap when he was a 17-year-old in Maryland, but has he graduated?" Fergie asks.
Fergie doesn't think beer sales have been hurt by Kavanaugh's indiscretions, "but I think people in the beer world don't want him as a beer spokesman," says Fergie, cruelly adding, "You don't want a blubbering, crying guy representing you, talking about beer.
"He has destroyed the term 'sober as a judge,'" says Fergie.
A Beer Institute spokeswoman tells me the trade group could not provide details of beer sales following the Senate hearing because such reports take about a month to prepare.