Not beer blogged for a few days as I’ve not been drinking beer. Been in the lady squeezes bad books since Sunday due to some irresponsible binge drinking. Now I didn’t vomit anywhere or piss in a cupboard. All I did was spend Sunday with a stinking hangover and in her words spoil Sunday’s Mother’s day lunch by looking ill, eating very little, not saying a lot, and sitting silently sipping iced mineral water. It’s not like I’m the life and soul of the party on a good day. Sitting silently is what I do best.
Most of my drinking is safe responsible drinking. That’s because I do it at home and away from irresponsible uncontrolled pubs. At home you can stock up on lots of cheap lout but there is no social pressure to drink anymore of it than you want. A few is my limit as I tend to be more interested in coaxing the squeeze upstairs. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin but with a different pipe.
On Saturday I got dragged into irresponsible and uncontrolled pub based environments where socially irresponsible landlords want to sell you as much beer as possible due to a lack of social conscience driven by the profit imperative. Pubs are irresponsible places. There are rules in pubs. Rules about drinking in rounds, standing your round and matching your mates pint for pint, drink for drink. You can’t opt out with a soft drink, to do so makes you a puff. You have to get smashed; it’s like the law or something. Pub landlords are happy to serve you, regardless of how smashed you get, and if you find yourself in an incapable state then it’s all the fault of Tesco as the incorrect assumption is made that you were drinking before you went out. No one in their right mind would drink before meeting up with my pals. Actually no one in their right mind would drink with them full stop, but that's the way men make friends. You meet some people at school and university and these people become your friends and stay your friends regardless of whether you still have anything in common now you're all grown up. We don't really make friends as adults as we don't really want any, as the initial requirement based on childish insecurity no longer exists.
The round system has another effect on pubs and bars namely making them incapable of policing any form of responsible approach to alcohol. One example being on one evening not long ago, one pal of mine passed out by the dance floor of the Krazy House in Liverpool, and was coaxed awake by another pal in order to be handed another pint of strong lout. He vomited but felt a lot better for it and was able to continue drinking. Nice and as I said, all the fault of Tesco.
As you’d expect, I awoke pretty wretched on the Sunday and not really in the mood for much really, with the squeeze in a bit of a sulk in regard to my state. Sorry to disappoint the ladies out there looking for a cooking lager enthusiast to get with (we tend to be better dressed, clean shaven and generally more hygienic than real ale enthusiasts and we have our own hair conditioner and moisturiser and will not steal yours), but she didn’t give me the Spanish archer, just a bit of the silent treatment which when you’re feeling like crap isn’t that unwelcome.
My reward, as I discovered when I raided the fridge for a beer last night, was the disappearance of my lovely lout and the appearance of alcohol free lout in its place. A short discussion about me cutting down on the booze and the assurance that my lovely lout hadn’t been chucked away but instead been put in the garage, and I thought “why not, let’s give it a go”
So Cobra Zero, what’s it like? Actually quite nice. I was expecting a vile nasty tasting piss like Kaliber, but found this to be drinkable. Now I have questioned before the point of Alcohol Free beer. Why would you want to drink it when you can drink something nice like Vimto? To be honest I haven’t the answer, and you can get Vimto in pubs these days, but drinking it in a pub would no doubt involve paying through the nose for it and being called a puff by your mates. I love Vimto, I’d describe it as my favourite drink, bar none. Maybe I’ll start a Vimto blog.
But Cobra Zero was by the standards of Alcohol Free grog, not that bad. My only experience of alcohol free grog before was nasty Kaliber and a not bad (though not good) Alkohol Frei Schneider Weiss German attempt at grog free grog. By both standards, I like the Cobra attempt.
It had a malt sweetness on the first swig followed by what I can only describe as a carbon aftertaste. Not entirely like beer, but not entirely unlike it, and quite pleasant. The ingredients mentioned water, barley, hops, yeast, colour e150c and modified hop products (like what?). The e number I found to be just plain old caramel.
I’d guess that it is fermented and then a form of distillation removed the ethanol alcohol to be flogged to aftershave producers and then the resulting liquid is made to look and taste as much like beer as possible before being fizzed and bottled.
As we are in an age that considers 40% alcohol beer to be beer despite the impossibility of fermenting to 40% and thus having to up the alcohol content either by grogging or some form of distillation process (heat or cold), who’s to say this is not actual beer?
By the end of the bottle, I was quite in the mood for another. I quite liked it. At £2 for 4 it wasn’t that bad but I told the squeeze that she should have bought Becks Blue as that’s £2 for 6. I might be trying that if she buys some. I won’t be buying it as I’m not a puff but if she puts it in the fridge I’ll neck it.