The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Beer? No. Lambic? Oh yeah.

One of the good things about not being pregnant is that I can drink alcohol guilt-free. Giving up alcohol is not a big deal for me, as there is actually very little alcohol that I like. The reason for this twofold. First of all, my father was an alcoholic (I would say is an alcoholic, but he's dead, so he was one). Because of that, I've always been wary of alcohol. From a young age, I was of the opinion that alcohol was bad, and that it could possibly lead you down a destructive and dangerous road. And that leads to the second reason: I just don't like the taste of much of it.

So while kids generally feel excitement at their first taste of beer, I felt cynical and apprehensive. Most will agree with me on this point: When you first tasted beer, it tasted nasty. I've asked many people why they seem to enjoy it when it tastes so bad, and they all answer the same thing: "Drink enough of it, and it starts to taste good." That logic never worked for me. In my mind, alcohol was a bad thing. So if it tastes bad anyway, why would you want to keep drinking it and drinking it until it tasted good if it was inherently bad? Didn't make any sense.

Other versions of alcohol didn't do anything for me either. I don't like the taste of bitter beverages or foods, and alcohol is rather bitter...except for mixed drinks, etc., which basically hide the taste of the alcohol. By far, however, beer is the worst tasting of them all. It smells like urine, so I always imagined that it must taste like urine as well. Then a professor of mine told me that urine is composed of almost the exact same things as sweat. He pointed out that armpit sweat stains in white shirts are...the same color as urine. He then asked me if I'd ever tasted sweat on my lip. Yes, of course. And it wasn't bad. Mostly salty. That's when I realized that BEER ACTUALLY TASTES WORSE THAN URINE.

This was the same professor who, when I confided in him that I was quite depressed about school, told me I should start drinking. A serving of alcohol has been reported to be good for your health, after all. He recommended beer. Eck. When he found out that I'd only had cheap beer like Budweiser, Coors and the like, he said, "No, no, no. You must try a good beer." And he then proceeded to recommend Samuel Smith beer to me--in particular, the Oatmeal Stout and the Nut Brown Ale.

Here's my review of these beverages: like beer, only thicker and nastier. Oh, and let's not forget that Sam Smith beer is about 20 times more expensive than the aforementioned Budweiser and Coors.

I felt despondent. Clearly, the answer to my troubles laid with consuming more alcohol--preferably beer. And yet, I couldn't stand it.

And then the Bread Winner introduced another "beer" into my life. A wonderful beverage classified as Lambic. This "beer" (it is so much better than any other beer that I have a hard time labeling it with such a degrading term, but I guess I must) comes from the tiny country of Belgium. I won't go into all the details of what makes Lambic better than other beer, but if you're curious, you can check it out yourself. Basically, two things set it aside. First of all, lambic is made using "aged hops" (three years aged) so it is not as bitter as other beer (which is usually made using "young hops"). Secondly, it is fermented twice: once traditionally, and a second time with a fruit.

Many people have not heard of lambic. I can't recommend it enough. It is pricey, and therefore not something you are likely to consume every day. Yesterday, I picked up six 750ml bottles of it for our Thanksgiving meal. Actually, five are for Thanksgiving, and the other one was enjoyed by the Bread Winner and I last night. It was a flavor I hadn't tried before: Kriek (or black cherry). It was quite tasty, but I'd have to say that I still prefer the framboise (raspberry), and there certainly isn't anything wrong with the cassis (black currant) either. We've got two bottles of each of these (one more of the Kriek), so Thanksgiving this year should be a fun affair indeed.

(As an aside, I also got two 12oz bottles of beer from Dogfish Head, a local Delaware brewery. I got their fall season beer, Punkin' Ale. Have to see if we get any takers on that around dessert time. I'm all set with the lambic.)

18 Comments:

  • At one point on my year out before uni, I spent two months in the middle of nowhere without a single cold beverage. The first thing we did on return to civilisation was visit the closest bar, and that first sip of cold beer after 10 weeks was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I kid you not. You're missing out, Oz.

    Oh, and I think that professor who told you to drink to get over depression is quite staggeringly irresponsible. What was he thinking?!

    By Blogger Fyse, at 9:31 AM, November 11, 2004  

  • This post brought to you by the good people at Lambic brewery. Ha ha.

    I couldn't disagree with you more about beer. I absolutely love it. If I had the choice, I could drink beer all day long. However, this habit has started creating adverse effects as I grow older... mainly the production of a small, but prominent, beer guy. I've cut back a lot as of late. Where I used to have 2 or 3 Bud Lights a night, I know only have them when we go out to eat... or friends come over.

    Bud Light is my default favorite, although it used to be Coors before I moved to St. Louis. Of course, I like all kinds of other beers too. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is go to World Market and buy a 6 pack of 6 different beers from across the country and/or world. I could go on and on and on, but I won't, b/c it makes me look like a lush.

    By Blogger Dan, at 9:45 AM, November 11, 2004  

  • 'A small, but prominent, beer guy.'

    Is that a diminutive yet charasmatic drinking buddy, or a typo?

    Also, what is a 'lush'?

    By Blogger Fyse, at 11:12 AM, November 11, 2004  

  • Fyse & Dan, Yes, I know many people love, love, love beer, but do you remember your very first taste of it as a kid? Most people remember not liking it, but they kept on drinking it because everyone else was, and eventually they got to the point you are both at now where it's the greatest thing ever.

    Fyse, I found it amusing that the prof suggested that I drink, too. Very dangerous advice for many, I assume. For me, I so dislike alcohol (except very expensive lambic which I could not afford to drink every day anyway), it was harmless enough.

    Dan, Just FYI, lambic is a style of brewing that can only be done in the Brussells area (because of the micro-organisms in the air there which cause the first spontaneous fermintation), not a brand name. The links I gave you went to Lindemans lambic style beers. Lindemans is a brand, and I am happy to endorse them. :)

    By Blogger Oz, at 12:54 PM, November 11, 2004  

  • I meant to say "small, but prominent beer GUT" not GUY.

    A lush is another term for someone who drinks too much.

    By Blogger Dan, at 1:26 PM, November 11, 2004  

  • I still can't build a taste for beer. I get this shudder down to the base of my spine every time I try to swallow the stuff. It's even worse when it's warm.

    Besides, beer isn't purchased. Rather, it's rented. I'll stick to iced tea.

    By Blogger Carmi, at 4:45 PM, November 11, 2004  

  • Thanks for the post - I learned something new.

    I shall keep my eye out for it so I can give it a try.

    By Blogger Diva, at 3:07 AM, November 12, 2004  

  • Beer=gross. It didn't like it the first time I tried it, so I stopped trying it. I haven't acquired a lot of the "adult" tastes yet. I'm don't like beer or wine, and I've only recently learned to appreciate the flavor of coffee. I'm with you, why keep drinking it if it tastes so bad? Though I can see the appeal in a way. I'd kinda like to be able to sip wine with my mother-in-law and actually enjoy it. When I think about it, the real appeal is to be an adult, don't you think?

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 8:11 AM, November 12, 2004  

  • Diva, It's pricey and a little hard to find, but I highly recommend it (obviously :)

    Kerrie, I totally agree with you. It's all about wanting to seem "adult" or "cultured" or wanting to be those beautiful people in the Budweiser commercials. They're just so darn happy.

    By Blogger Oz, at 12:08 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • funny.. i was just talking about this with my friends last night too. i HATE beer. i can't stand it. yet i need to "learn" how to drink beer, just because it's such a social thing, and i hate having to always get mixed drinks just to have a drink, while everyone else is drinking beer.. plus it's cheaper. hmm. i wonder if they have lambic type of beers in bars out here..

    i'll have to give it a try :)

    By Blogger Jean, at 12:10 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Jean, I imagine that it would be hard to find lambic at a bar, but you never know. You won't save any money though. I'm sure it would be just as expensive as a mixed drink. Good luck!

    By Blogger Oz, at 12:54 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • I've been talking about lambric beer all day, btw. The husband and I are going to look for it this weekend at the "fancy" grocery store. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 3:06 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Kerrie, I left a comment on your site about an hour ago, but right now it's saying 0 comments, so I guess blogger is taking its time. Anyway, in response to your post on your blog, go check out Pepsi: Holiday Spice while you're at the grocery store. And good luck finding the lambic. Getting beer in grocery stores still seems bizarre to me. I've always lived in states where all alcohol is confined to liquor stores. But anyway, you're in for a treat if you find it. It's got a cork and everything. :)

    By Blogger Oz, at 5:43 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Oz, I'm totally with you! I never understood the point of drinking. My parents got me to try champagne or wine or something once or twice on New Year's Eves. I hated it. I didn't have my first beer until I was 20, mostly because of the smell. When I did finally taste it, I hated it. It was one of the most god awful things I'd ever tasted. I still really don't like it and only drink the stuff occassionally. I prefer mixed drinks, or as I like to call them, fruity drinks. Kinda' fits the theme of my trademark hawaiian shirts.

    At any rate, I never understood the point of drinking and getting drunk. Why would you purposely drink somethign that tastes like liquified ass in order to lose control of your mental faculties????

    Made no sense to me, and I used to be a stick in the mud anti-drinker. I've loosened up considerably since then (read: in the past three years) and now I don't have a problem with it really, as long as people drink responsibly. I even enjoy evenings out with friends where we all toss a few back. Oh, and I've only been drunk once. It wasn't all that bad, but I'm not really in any rush to do it again. If it happens it happens, if not I'm okay with that too.

    By Blogger Newell, at 6:27 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Oh! And I totally forgot...

    Dan's a lush!!! Tee hee.

    By Blogger Newell, at 6:28 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • The first two responses were from beer-loving people, so I thought I was all alone in the world on this one. Now I have company! And thank you, Newell. You are the first man--I think I've ever known--to say that he doesn't like beer.

    By Blogger Oz, at 7:12 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • You're welcome.

    I don't like it, and never will. I don't buy into that "you get used to the taste" stuff at all. It's all a heaping pile of horse patootie.

    By Blogger Newell, at 9:04 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • If you're ever in Chicago there's a bar called The Hopleaf on the north side that specializes in Belgian beers. I had a raspberry Lindemans this weekend--on tap! Yeah, it is expensive though, $7 a glass.

    By Anonymous Megan, at 5:59 PM, February 15, 2006  

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