Monday, November 12, 2012

A Drinker's Notebook No. 2: Albarino of Beers

Yesterday, a friend invited me to go with him to the Raiders-Raven football game at Baltimore's M&T Stadium. Before we took our seats on a bright, sunny afternoon, we decided to each have a barbecue sandwich and the first of a couple of draft beers. As we munched on the sloppy but delicious sandwiches, I was struck by how satisfying the cold Bud Lite was - crisp yet creamy and what the French would call "fresh" if they were dissecting one of their wines. It also took me back to when I first "learned" to drink beer years ago when I was attending Morris Harvey College in Charleston, WV. A commuter student, I had a steady ride home with Eddie Halstead, who was a couple of years older and much more world-wise than I. We would stop by Joe Christian's place along Elk River Road and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. Once I got past the "fills you up" phase when you wonder how can someone drink a full glass of this, I began savoring how refreshing beer was. I had the same feeling a few years later when Joe Milner and I would go drinking with our students at Mag's Ham Bun in Scottsdale when we both taught journalism at Arizona State. In those years, teachers and undergrads would party together without fear of permanment banishment from academe or being judged politically incorrect. Anyway, the cold Coors on tap was great to cut the dessert heat outside, even as we bemoaned the reactionary politics of the Coors family at that time. A boycott was discussed, but the idea was lost after the first pitcher. So as I finished my Bud yesterday and contemplated another, I thought about how, in our current beerophile stage we seek out lumbering, ponderous, monster beers from exotic ingredients, we ought to occasionally just relax and enjoy a simple, one-note draft beer the way wine lovers learned to relax and order a glass of refreshing Albarino. It might make a good slogan: "Bud Light - The Albarino of Draft Beers." Or perhaps not. (By the way, the Ravens obliterated the Raiders, 55-20.)

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