Sunday, April 25, 2010

Near but so far beer

I like my beer.  At some point, likely during gustatory nerve-washing in college, I developed a taste for the stuff, and now, I do enjoy a cold one as much as anybody.  Beers of all kinds have their place, but I favor the ice-cold-pilsner-served-up-with-pizza-beer, and, most preciously, the rich-snack-in-itself-porter/stout (preferably imbibed in a tall, walnut booth within a dim bar accompanied by one who has an equal appreciation of that moment).  So, I guess I miss beer, and I miss the beer-experience.

We do a fair assortment of non-alcoholic beverage here.  The hospital DFAC even offers something from Germany called Astra, which is completely detestable, and gold-labeled Coors, which is tolerable when taken immediately from the freezer where it must reside for at least 20-30 minutes.  These "beers" are free.  The BX about 1 mile from where I work and sleep has the finest selection to include Lowenbrau and Becks.  If you are going to drink near-beer here, those are undeniably the best, and can be had for $1 a piece.  [I usually buy no more than a six pack at a time as I have to walk with it for a mile, and access to a refrigerator only at work].

There is a pizza trailer/restaurant called Ciano's, which serves mediocre pizza, and unsavory Italian food (though I have a high standard), and if you coordinate things properly, you can enjoy a cool pauci-Lowenbrau with some passable pizza.  If you close your eyes, you can imagine that you are back in the US, but the hordes of M-16 toting soldiers eating their own personal 8 slices decked out in full battle gear belies this mirage quickly.  Plus, there is no warm-fuzzys after this near beer.  That is the near beer-experience

I am a scientist but unfamiliar with the chemistry involved in making beer without alcohol.  It likely is not very difficult, but there is just something wrong about removing the fermentation of dextrose from the final product.  More is lost than just the alcohol content.  The taste suffers, but powerfully (and strangely) the experience is diminished.  And maybe this is psychological, and I still drink it.  That is what we have.

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