A Return to Seriousness: 7 Best Songs About Beer; Or, God Bless the Pope

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The Pope has a cold one


John Lee Hooker/George Thorogood, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. Intelligent or regular readers will recognize this tune from Chapter 3 of Breaking the Law of Averages. The original Hooker version can be found here.



Bob and Doug Mackenzie, 12 Days of Christmas. By the finish of this merry carol, the boys will have consumed half a case, which is only a meager six pack each, a paltry amount, it being Christmas. I have quizzed recently two people who called themselves natives of the Great White North, yet they claimed never to have heard of Bob and Doug. Naturally, they were lying.



Walter Ostanek And His Band, Beer Barrel Polka. I’d prefer the Schmenge edition if it existed, but it doesn’t, so I can’t. However, if you can’t enjoy this Walter Ostanek version (a band from the semi-fictional land “Kanada”)—if you can’t seriously picture yourself stein in hand clapping and singing along in full throat—it is sure proof you have no soul. Cancel your subscription to the New York Times immediately and begin enjoying life.



Dr Demento, In Heaven There is No Beer. This is a Satanic song, and no doubt why the Pope himself quaffs in plain sight of cameras, to give Hope to us all. The best version—which I have not been able to find—is by Da Yoopers, a group from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Incidentally, the poor people who live in the Lower Peninsula are called Trolls, because they live under the bridge (Mackinaw, that is).



Todd Snider, Beer Run. “B, double-E, double-R, U-N, Beer Run…All we need is a ten and fiver, a car and a key and sober driver….” I defy you—yes, defy—not to sing along with the chorus.



Roger Miller, Chug-a-lug. The only thing that keeps this one from being first is that Miller waxes poetical about spirits other than the fruit of the hop. Miller is almost forgotten, but I can’t imagine how this could be so. At one time his magnificence guaranteed him an appearance on The Muppet Show.



Tom T. Hall, I Like Beer. “Whiskey’s too rough, champagne costs too much, and vodka puts my mouth in gear. This little refrain should help me explain; as a matter of fact, I like beer.” Of all songs about beer, this one most closely resembles a hymn, and thus justifies our semi-theological theme.

(Mysteriously, the song starts after Bob and Doug have a play.)



“Say! I notice you have forgotten Weird Al Yankovic’s The Beer Song. What about that, Briggs, you fool?”

Answer — I did not.

“You didn’t say too much about the pope. Once again, you have written a misleading headline.”

His Holiness is hefting a Franziskaner Hefe, amen?

“I listened carefully to Chug-a-lug and there isn’t one word about beer.”

You must be bureaucrat; your mother must be proud of you.


  1. Rich

    I notice you’ve included songs in English only. “Bier hier” is readily available on youtube and is the only song which may result in you getting served. Not in England though.

  2. Les Johnson

    Irish Rovers. “Wasn’t That a Party?” This was actually a hit in Canada.


    The Rovers (originally `The Irish Rovers`)

    Could have been the whiskey, might have been the gin.
    Could have been three or four six-packs,
    I don`t know, but look at the mess I`m in,
    My head is like a football, I think I`m gonna die,
    Tell me, me oh me oh my,
    Wasn`t that a party?

    Someone took a grapefruit and wore it like a hat,
    I saw someone under my kitchen table, talking to my old tom cat,
    They were talking about hockey and the cat was talkin` back,
    Along about then everything went black,
    But wasn`t that a party?

    I`m sure it`s just my memory playin` tricks on me,
    But I think I saw my buddy cuttin` down my neighbour`s tree,


    Old Billy Joe and Tommy, well they went a little far,
    They were sitting in my backyard blowing on the siren in somebody`s police car.
    So you see, your honour,
    It was all in fun,
    That little bitty track meet down on main street,
    Was just to see if the cops could run,
    Well, they run us in to see you,
    In an alcoholic haze,
    I can sure use those thirty days to recover from the party.

  3. Wade Michaels

    I’d take “Alcohol” by Brad Paisley over some of those, if only because it references weddings, which sometimes are God + Religious Processionals + Alcohol (Beer) = Fun.

  4. Earle Williams

    The Frank Zappa tune didn’t make it onto your list? Pity.


  5. There’s A Tear In My Beer — Hank Williams

    “I’m gonna keep on sittin’ here until I’m petrified.
    And then maybe these tears will leave my cryin’ eyes.”

    Beer, Bait And Ammo — Mark Chesnutt

    I Love This Bar — Toby Keith

  6. Briggs

    Mike, I like the video of Bocephus and his dad. Still, it can’t beat out the polka for swilling beer.

    Thanks for the other suggestions, everybody. I should note that I discovered my list whilst under the influence. This is how you can know to trust it.

  7. Hank Jr. for President in ’12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I simply don’t understand how some many otherwise intelligent and caring people can waste so much time and energy considering liquid refreshments during this designated period of international mourning over the tragic and untimely loss of the most talented and caring individual to ever grace this planet. Karl Malden. May he rest in peace.

  9. D Johnson

    It isn’t exactly high art form, but I’ll bet more people have sung “99 bottles of beer on the wall” than any of the other beer songs mentioned.

  10. Joy

    D Johnson,
    There’s something funny about that song, or rather hearing a group of drunks singing it. Such optimism that they’ll reach the last lonely, sorry bottle.
    I Once had the displeasure of hearing a group of fellas who ought to have known better singing
    “I am the Walrus” ”I am the egg man” “coocoocerchew!”
    in the most untuneful and loud manner in a confined space for what seemed like hours, Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as it was four in the morning. . It was the first time I’d ever heard the song as well. Thought they’d gone mad.

    The Pope probably likes Bishop’s finger anyway.

    Based in Faversham in Kent this brewery makes some delicious beer and this comes from a non beer drinker. For best flavour warmer is better.

  11. Briggs

    I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking about the Beatles’ music, Joy. Those gentlemen were probably, in the only way they knew how, trying to improve the original. Daunting task, that.

  12. rmark

    Later tonight I’ll have a beer in Karl Maldens honor.

  13. Some times when I drink too much
    The next day I can’t think
    Sometimes when I drink too much
    The next day I can’t drink
    Sometimes when I drink too much
    I feel like throwing up
    And sometimes when I drink too much
    I cannot get it up

    Keep your hemp & your mushrooms
    Your smack & nebutal
    Me I’m into fruit & grains
    Give me alcohol
    Call thirsty, call me oral
    Call me what you like
    But when I’m sober call me Loudon
    Do not call me Mike

    Loudon Wainwright III

  14. SteveBrooklineMA

    The Schmenges! Awesome. Totally awesome!

  15. John

    “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me thana frontal lobodomy”

  16. brett

    Mario Lanza ” Drink, Drink, Drink”

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