Turning off light-beer tap

Kevin Cowherd

September 20, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

After years of feeling oddly out of sorts and not knowing quite why, I am giving up light (or lite) beer and going back to regular beer.

The main reason for this decision is: I don't get hammered anymore. Well, not as much, anyway.

And unless you're worried about getting hammered, there is no point in drinking light beer.

People say they drink light beer because it's less filling or because they're watching their waistline, which, of course, is a bunch of hooey.

The fact is, most men drink it so that at the end of the evening, there exists a chance that they won't be slumped underneath the pool table, singing "Turkey in the Straw" with their arm draped around the family basset hound, who is wearing a silly hat and reams of confetti.

Getting hammered in the old days was loads of fun, I'll grant you that.

But there comes a point in a man's life when he no longer finds it amusing to pound eight Heinekens and stumble home, only to be awakened at 6 in the morning by a 3-year-old bouncing on his head and screaming: "We're going to the zoo today!"

Two hours later, the poor fool is pushing a stroller around the zoo in 90-degree heat with a king-hell hangover.

Let's face it, even in the best of times, you can stare at a gorilla only for so long.

With a hangover, the gorilla becomes so ugly and repulsive that you will actually find yourself begging to move on to the aardvarks.

Later, as you sit on the little kiddie tram, with your knees tucked painfully under your chin and your head pounding and the sweat pouring off you and 60 little brats yelling, "Whee! Whee!" you will actually find yourself looking to the heavens and whispering: "Take me now, Lord."

So except for special occasions, I stopped getting hammered some years ago. Yet for some strange reason (probably because I'm not very bright), I kept drinking light beer, even though I didn't like the taste.

The first time I tried light beer was at a party back in 1982. The beer tasted like dishwater. I was about to point this out to someone, but then I noticed that all around me people were sipping light beers and spearing carrot sticks into the yogurt dip and talking about their next 10K race.

Some poor woman lit up a cigarette a few minutes later and the hostess nearly ran her through with a fireplace poker.

It was that kind of party. Incredibly boring.

At one point, listening to a man talking at length about what aerobics had done for his cholesterol count, I actually found myself dozing off into the fresh vegetable platter.

So I felt this was not the place to make a scene by pointing out how lousy the beer tasted.

As the years went by, though, I found myself drinking light beer more and more frequently, mainly because it was the only beer being served in many cases.

And the fact is, I also bought into the myth created by all those commercials for light beer.

The commercials were always filled with "active" people with full heads of hair and flat, washboard stomachs and deep tans.

And they were always doing active stuff like playing beach volleyball and surfing and hang-gliding and roping calves.

Even though I liked the way they looked, all this activity was something I could never understand.

It seems to me that after slamming back three or four beers, about the last thing you feel like doing is diving in the hot sand after a volleyball.

Having never gone in much for surfing or hang-gliding or calf-roping, I can't say what that would be like after a few beers.

But . . . OK, you take calf-roping. You mean to tell me that after two or three beers, you would have the energy to climb up on a horse, chase after a frightened calf, lasso him, jump off your horse, tackle the damn calf and tie him up in knots?

Huh? Could you do that after a few beers? I'd have trouble finding the horse, never mind climbing up on him.

I don't know. Mainly what I feel like doing after a few beers is sitting in a lawn chair under a large shady tree and listening to a Van Morrison tape.

Or taking a nap.

Anyway, it's back to regular beer for me. No more light stuff. Or, God forbid, non-alcoholic beer.

I don't understand non-alcoholic beer. What exactly is the point here?

Is the point to drink a vile, sour-tasting brew and get bloated, but without that annoying buzz?

Doesn't that sound appealing.

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