I first heard this expression when, as a bartender, I asked a patron who'd ordered a pint if he wanted to see a menu. His response: "I'm all right, thanks. There's a pork chop in every beer."

I've since read variations on this expression. From whence does it come? And is it common (in variation) on both sides of the Atlantic and equator?

  • 2
    Guiness (Irish stout beer) used to run an ad saying something like a meal in every glass. Not true, apparently en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinness – Dan Feb 1 '15 at 8:25
  • There may be a link to the old "a chicken in every pot" campaign slogan. – Hot Licks Feb 1 '15 at 23:14

The three main versions of this saying that a Google search finds are "There's a pork chop in every beer," "There's a sandwich in every beer," and "There's a steak in every beer." None of them appear to be very old sayings. Here's the rundown on each one.


'a pork chop in every beer'

A posting from September 23, 2000, at StraightDope.com titled "The New and Improved Signature Thread," which collects "favorite signatures on the board," lists as one of them "There's a pork chop in every beer."

An October 2, 2002, question at the message board of the same site asks whether a (12-ounce, presumably) beer has the same nutritional value as a pork chop, a question that suggests why someone thought of equating beer and pork chops in the first place. (One answer the the Straight Dope query made the seemingly sensible observation that, although the total calories from the two items might be roughly equal,the pork chop's calories come from protein and fat, while the beer's come from carbohydrates and alcohol.)

The 2000 match is the earliest one that my Google search could find.


'a sandwich in every beer'

The earliest Google match for this phrase is an October 9, 2003, comment on Fark.com, which says simply "There's a sandwich in every beer."

However, a Google Books search finds an instance from Robert Seidenberg, "Menace to Propriety," in Ski magazine (December 1995):

4:10 Last run of the day. "In every beer there's a sandwich," philosophizes Crane. "And I'm hungry. It's time for the 'Menace to Sobriety' part of the equation."


'a steak in every beer'

This expression, which appears to be especially common in Australia, has an earliest Google search occurrence of February 17, 2002, at the Bodybuilding.com forums, where a poster says "No way. They say there's a steak in every beer. More beer I say"


Conclusions

It seems highly likely that one of these three expressions supplied the inspiration for the other two, but the earliest recorded instances I've been able to find for each variant are fairly closely bunched: "sandwich," December 1995; "pork chop," September 2000: and "steak," February 2002. I suppose that "There's a sandwich in every beer" is the current top contender, but a periodicals archive for the 1970s through the 1990s might contain older instances of every one of these expressions.

  • related - barley sandwhich. 1995 sounds about right. I was sitting on a dock in Key Largo about then when I first heard it. – Phil Sweet Sep 4 at 1:50

I think that the origin of this saying is not specific but it derives from the fact ( an old belief actually) that beer is also considered a 'sort of food' because of the nutritional elements and the calories it contains:

  • Of course beer is a beverage, as the majority of its composition is water; however, given that it's also made with cereal grains, hops and yeast, all of this combined goodness is oftentimes a meal in itself. Ever have a rich, luscious beer that just about fills you up on its own? You know what we're talking about.

  • Monasteries and beer have a long history, and to this day many orders of monks still brew their own beer in order to have a tasty and nutritious drink to accompany their meals and to sell to the public but most importantly to sustain them during periods of fasting. Fortunately, drinking beer is not considered breaking the fast. Um ... break the fast, breakfast, monks drinking beer, we often drink beer for breakfast ... coincidence?

From (Is beer food).

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