When I think of the history of military aviation a few iconic images come to mind. The eponymous “high and tight” haircut, olive-drab flight suits, black and white battle footage from WWII, that one really cool episode of “Amazing Stories” with the belly gunner, unfortunate Kenny Loggins songs that will never go away… Perhaps most iconic, at least for me, is airplane nose art.
Nose art originated as a means of quickly sorting out friendlies from enemies. By the Second World War, animal motifs evolved to the pin-up girl. GI’s in Europe and the South Pacific were receiving photos of stars like Ava Gardner, Dorothy Lamour and Veronica Lake along with illustrations from Coca-Cola ad artist Gil Elvgren whose whimsical images of stocking-exposed damsels remain among the most acclaimed of the genre. The boys “over there” certainly missed the ladies back home and, I suppose a connection could be made, painting one of the girls next door on the side of their plane had psychological benefits. After all, don’t we refer to our vessels as “she”?
Similar to many images found on the sides of B-17’s and B-24’s, Southern Star Bombshell Blonde Ale features a cowboy-hatted Texas belle astride a descending explosive. It’s a creamy-textured ale comprised of pale German malts. Unfiltered and non-pasteurized, the color is like Carol Lombard’s hair: shimmering white-blonde. An ultra-tall cap of fluffy foam stays around for days.
The smell is of unbaked bread and lemon with a slight grassy note. Flavors of citrus and honey with a hint of hazelnut balance out the oh-so-slight hop bitterness at the finish. Sweet but not sugary. The creamy mouthfeel and approachable alcohol content combine for a full-on session beer. Or, as a co-worker put it, “I would want a few of these after mowing my lawn.”
Bombshell Blonde Ale is definitely worthy of a gentlemanly tip of the hat accompanied by a clandestine wolf-whistle. A tribute to the memory of Peter Driben, Alberto Vargas, The Memphis Belle, the 91st Bomb Group, Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow.