Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Taste test


     Harry Caray stopped drinking in July 1994 after a fall in Miami landed him in the hospital.
     "Hey doc, when can I have another drink?" his widow, Dutchie Caray, remembers him asking. The doctor replied: "When the Cubs win the World Series."
     So from then on, until his death in February 1998, the great Cubs broadcaster had a bottle of Budweiser placed in front of him but would really be sipping Anheuser-Busch's nonalcoholic beer, O'Doul's.
     Harry didn't have a lot of choice. Many bars don't stock NA beer at all, and those that do tend to have a choice of one, so people who drink nonalcoholic beer, for whatever reason, are left hanging.
   

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14 comments:

  1. I find alcohol intersting because it doesn't do anything for me except make me tired. On some level I almost feel like people must be making it up that it provides a feeling of pleasure and smoothing out the edges. It would be like most people Telling you that broccoli does this for them. I'm sure you'd think " I know they aren't lying,but really broccoli? How is this possible"

    I've never had an issue with people urging me to drink. Once you say "I don't really drink because I get no pleasure from alcohol" they really shut up about it and probably think I'm some sort of mutant.

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    1. My sentiments exactly, Annie.

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    2. Consider yourselves fortunate. For many, alcohol is the Only Thing in the World.

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  2. One of my favorite beers is Bitburger Drive . Presumably the product gets it's name because you can drink it and drive, without worrying about being impaired. The strange thing about non-alcoholic beer is, if the store clerk is a teenager, they need to have an adult employee scan the item as if it was alcoholic.

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  3. Stella Artois and Warsteiner both make near beers that taste rather good.

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  4. This is reminding me of one of the jokes in the Simpsons episode where Springfield undergoes alcohol prohibition. The head of the Duff Brewery is at a press conference, announcing that Duff will go on making NA beer, and that he's confident that Duff customers will stay loyal because they drink the stuff for its rich, smooth taste, not its alcohol content. The next scene, subtitled "Thirty Minutes Later," shown him hanging a "Going Out of Business" sign on the front gate.

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  5. I know it would be heretical to suggest that, "One beer won't kill you." And I certainly wouldn't say that to someone who had just told me that the the pretend beer was ordered in fear of a resurgence of the person's alcoholism. Nonetheless, I don't think a beer is like a shot of heroin leading to an inexorable and inevitable spiral into full blown addiction and imminent ruin. Of course, don't drink just because the guy sitting next to you urges you on, but have a beer or a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey from time to time just to show demon alcohol that you're in charge. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE!

    john

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    1. John, perhaps you've never had someone with this illness in your life An alcoholic is NOT in charge, and consuming the chemical can indeed lead to a downward spiral. Why would someone who's worked so hard to overcome this take that chance?

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    2. I'm a heretic. There have been plenty of alcoholics in my life and I can say I got a generous taste of the life style when I had to take a half pint of white port to work with me to get through the day. But now the only reason I avoid alcohol is that they're not a good mix with blood thinners.

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    3. Yeah John, you're dead wrong on this one. One doesn't take a drink, not just because it will lead to some death spiral, though there's that, but because it reawakens the craving that will haunt you for days or longer. Whatever minutes of pleasure a drink gives is not worth stiff-arming craving for days.

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  6. Hi, Neil. I still enjoy my craft beer, but sometimes want a N/A option. I gave up on near beer, but (don't laught, pls) hopped Kombucha was really good. One of the local companies makes it--I sampled it as a skeptic, and was converted. It's got a little bit of bitter bite to it that works, for me. Probably tough to get in restaurants, but works great at home with pretzels, hot dogs, and the sort.

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  7. The blind tasting brings to mind a time in Glasgow when a similar contest involving whisky sponsored by the Glasgow Herald was won by Suntory. Such lamentation had not been heard since the Duke of Cumberland routed Bonny Prince Charlie's forces at Culloden.

    I do like a cold lager on a hot day or a room temperature pint of bitter ale in a British pub. But one is usually enough.

    I was convinced long before reading Neil's excellent memoir on the subject that alcoholism is a very real affliction. And that total abstinence is the only sure 'cure.' However, that it was not really recognized as such, and that different standards once applied, can be assumed by these well known lines of Thomas Love Peacock's:

    "Not drunk is he who from the floor
    Can rise alone and drink some more.
    But drunk is he who prostrate lies,
    Without the power to drink or rise."

    Tom Evans

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  8. I stopped drinking almost 3 years ago. I truly believe that drinking n/a beers helped keep me on the straight and narrow. There are certain days when I just crave the taste of a cold beer and the thought that I could never quench that craving would just increase it. Drinking one or 2 of the premium n/a beers that you mentioned satisfy that craving and I don't feel deprived. I would also like to mention to the domestic beer fans that Busch has an n/a beer that in my opinion taste the same as Busch regular beer, unlike O'Douls and Sharps that taste like a beer that you opened and then put it back in the fridge until the next day.

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