Monday, May 19, 2014

Rant: The Dark Secret Of Beer & Wine Love

Why do you enjoy beer and wine? And be honest.

Check the beer and wine reviews that you find in magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other websites. Ask your friends and family. Speak to the staff at beer & wine stores. I bet the vast majority of them will describe the various flavors you find in those beverages. For example, they might describe the hoppy flavors of an IPA or the cherry tastes of a Chianti. Some will even rhapsodize with a lengthy litany of aromas and flavors they discern in these beverages, sometimes using descriptors which seem to make little sense to other drinkers.

In all those descriptions though, one important element is usually omitted, possibly a legacy of our puritanical heritage. It is the dark secret of beer and wine consumption, that aspect we dare not speak aloud. However, it is a secret most of us share, and it makes little sense to conceal it. We shouldn't deny the reality of our drinking.

Be honest. You can do it. We all know that you enjoy beer and wine because it contains alcohol. You like that apparent sense of euphoria provided by alcohol. You revel in how alcohol makes you feel, altering your perception. Frankly, you probably wouldn't be drinking beer and wine if it didn't include alcohol. When is the last time you drank a non-alcoholic beer or wine? How often do you consume non-alcoholic beer or wine?

While reading beer and wine reviews, you might see a brief mention of the alcoholic content of that beverage but the reviewer won't discuss the effects of the alcohol. Some writers complain about high alcoholic wines but those same writers don't admit that they actually enjoy how alcohol makes them feel. Maybe we should talk about this subject more, to stop hiding it in the shadows. It is an important element of what we drink so there is no need to deny it.

It probably doesn't seem like proper etiquette to discuss our enjoyment of the effects of alcohol. It seems more refined to discuss the various aromas and tastes rather than explore how the alcohol affected us. If we discuss our enjoyment of the effects of alcohol, we might be perceived by others as having a problem. Those who actually discuss such effects, like Anthony Bourdain, are usually seen as rebels and bad boys. However, as so many people actually enjoy the effects of alcohol, it should be the norm to openly discuss it. It shouldn't be perceived as bad.

If the alcohol didn't matter, then non-alcoholic beer and wine would be hugely popular. And though the popularity of non-alcoholic beer has grown over the last five years, its popularity is greatest in regions like the Middle East. In the U.S., nonalcoholic beer and wine is still a tiny niche market. So step up and admit the truth, that you drink wine and beer, in part, because you like the effects of alcohol. It certainly is not the only reason we enjoy these beverages, but it plays a significant factor. And maybe by discussing it, we can better avoid problems with the abuse of alcohol.

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