Been drinking some of this grog of late, Beck’s Blue. 0.05% Alcohol by volume. 19.1 calories per 100ml. Now you might think I’ve been necking that because I’ve turned soft or even thoughtfully listened to the perspective of Don Shenker and reduced my booze intake. Actually I bought a load of it because it was cheap, on special offer and I’d been meaning to try it for a while. Unlike my cheeky little flirtation with Cobra Zero, here, it wasn’t prompted by the squeeze but arguably off my own back. It was a beer I fancied trying.
In social situations where I get the short straw and end up driving I’m always a bit stuck for what to drink. I like most soft drinks but it is entirely unnatural to drink a lot of liquid. You drink as much as you need of water, tea, Vimto because you happen to be thirsty and that is the liquid that floats your boat. In such situations I have a soft drink but it really only serves the purpose of having something in my hand when it appears socially necessary to do so. Whether in someone’s home or out for a drink with friends it feels more natural to have nothing, and if you have something it is because you are thirsty and not because you can’t sit there and have nothing. Social convention dictates its is rude to have nothing and not being a rude sort of person I have drank numerous cups of tea around people’s houses I didn’t actually really want but didn’t want to be rude and it’s no real skin off my nose to throw a cup of tea down me.
We could get into the whole social convention of beer drinking and why I’m conditioned to neck a pint because I’m a bloke and that’s what blokes do. As a tool for getting pissed beer is pretty inefficient, there are far more trips to the toilet involved that appears civilised. I quite like getting pissed and I’m not about to pretend otherwise. The fact that beer contains alcohol is one of the things about it I like. You can if you want lay claim to only drinking it for its taste but I suspect you’d never have gotten a taste for it if it wasn’t inebriating. As a tool for getting pissed, wine is far nicer. You can neck a far amount without numerous trips to the toilet and if you neck it at the rate of beer you’ll get pissed pretty quickly.
I’m happy to admit that one of the reasons I often do not wish to get pissed is related to sexual function. Plenty of single blokeish mates will tell me stories of having a skinful, pulling a bird and enjoying the natural sexual function in a state of inebriation. I cannot manage it when pissed. I did once wonder whether this was sexual dysfunction and contemplated a trip to the local GP but decided against it when I ran through the probable conversation in my head. After explaining my concern regarding sexual dysfunction but noting that I was otherwise fine and that it only occurred when I’d drank a skinful I presumed the doctor would simply advise me not to drink a skinful before sexual congress and not give me some tablets that allowed me to make love whilst pissed. If you know different and think it worth a trip to the doctors, let me know as I’d like to drink more and not have it affect the loving nature of my relationship.
So the test for me was not only whether I liked Beck’s Blue but whether it was something I’d be happy to sink a few of in a situation of not getting pissed. Over the weekend I conducted my experiment. As a drink Beck’s Blue is arguably more like a beer than any other alcohol free beer I have drank. The absence of alcohol is notable in the taste profile but in all other respects the stuff tastes like a cold bottle of lager and not an odd fake lager. For authenticity I’d rate it higher than Cobra Zero, but I’d put the taste of Cobra Zero as a drink slightly higher. I could arguably drink a few more of these than Cobra Zero due to its dryer taste and lower sweetness. My experience of alcohol free beer isn’t that comprehensive. I’ve tried this, Cobra, Kaliber and had a swig of a few German “alkoholfrei” beers that German friends opted for. The Hofbräu & Schneider’s alkoholfreis are not common on the UK market, though, and in all honesty I didn’t especially rate them when I drank them nor would I seek them out. Alcohol free beer is arguably a distress purchase. As a distress purchase I go for Beck’s Blue again and sink a few over and above diet cokes, mineral waters & orange juices. A nice one I quite liked.