It’s my Granny’s birthday today but my mum says we don’t have to make a cake because she’s dead. (I was thinking sherry trifle.) I think my mum is just trying to be a hardass, but she’d better hope none of Granny’s relatives are reading this. “And why would they?” she asked. “Why would anyone read it?”

Since my mum is being so liberal with abuse, let me tell you about her latest beer purchase. Thinking she could appeal to all tastes at LBHQ by buying yet another sampler box, she cruised the liquor store seeking a package that did not contain anything weird or fruity. I’ve mentioned before how limited my parents’ beer bandwidth is. My mum is anti-fruit and my dad is anti-IPA—which eliminated most of the sample packages in the store.

What remained was Lighthouse Brewing’s Premium Pack. Promising three ales and a Bavarian lager, it seemed innocent enough, so my mum plunked down $23 and took it home.

First out of the box: RACE ROCKS ALE. Considering the ordinariness of the packaging along with its lack of informative tasting notes, how could anybody expect weirdness? We were geared up for a run-of-the-mill ale with an ordinary hop/malt interplay. But it wasn’t to be.

Pouring amber-red with creamy foam, RACE ROCKS ALE puts you on immediate notice of wannabe intentions. But what does it want to be? Lighthouse Brewing designates it a craft beer, but OMG, any day now MOLSON CANADIAN will start calling itself that—it doesn’t mean anything, my fellow inebriates. If anything, RACE ROCKS ALE seems to be channeling the Belgian style with its rotting-orchard redolence.

You know when you’ve peeled a bunch of apples and peaches and whatever the hell else, about a day has gone by—a hot day—and gradually, slowly, you begin to notice that the kitchen smells? Well, I wish RACE ROCKS ALE were that subtle. While it’s certainly not as in-your-face as Unibroue’s product line, the fruit is there nonetheless, shaking its ass in your beer.

Okay, weird mixed metaphor, but this is a strange beer.

Get the $*#&@!#^! out of my beer!

On the tongue the ale redoubles its aromatic fruitiness. It’s no longer deniable; the overripe peaches can’t be ignored. Now, this is okay for my dad, because he gets all the remaining RACE ROCKS ALE and possibly its fellows if it turns out the fruit thing is something Lighthouse does with every beer. Score for my dad, but now we all have to live with my mum, who can’t blame anyone but herself for buying the case.

And what did I think of it? Holy crap, you know I loved it, people—I love all beer. But I love some beers less than others, and this is one of those (the ones I love less).

Nor did I like the way my mum pounded her bottle to make it go away. I had to be fast to get any at all. (She said it wasn’t bad enough to throw out. And yes, she does wear ten-year-old jeans for the same reason.)

Ignoring my angry mother, what did my dad think? “It kind of reminded me a little bit of U-BREW,” he said, damning Lighthouse Brewing further.

I guess this means I get all the RACE ROCKS ALE to myself. Too bad I can’t open it. If I could, I’d offer Granny a toast.

Pee in the fridge, and FRÜLI too

Who says you can’t congratulate a kid too much?

Miss V received so much praise for providing a urine sample on Thursday that this morning she took the second empty sample cup out of the Biohazard bag and filled it up too. She even put it in the fridge.

I don’t think anyone’s allowed to get rid of it. She wouldn’t understand.

Next thing you know she’ll be looking for alternate sample cups—Rubbermaid and Tupperware containers that she can micturate into. The fridge will be full of piss.

Fortunately there’s room because we eliminated some near-piss last night. I know, I know—that sounds harsh—but every once in a while a beer gains entry into LBHQ that is almost undrinkable. (And then I drink it strictly to take care of tremors.)

The beer in question was Van Diest FRÜLI, a strawberry Belgian white fruit beer ringing in at 4.1% alcohol. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be grateful to my dad for buying only one bottle of beer, but in this case it would have been tragic to multiply the $2.45 FRÜLI price tag by more than 1.

We went through a fruit beer phase a little while ago with the UNIBROUE sampler pack, which, while a good primer on Belgian-style high-gravity brews, is nevertheless an acquired taste. For drinkers who tend to choose easy-drinking ales and lagers, a beer like MAUDITE, with its bottle-fermented orchard overripeness, can be overwhelming. But it is still a beer. However cloying its fruity characteristics may seem, it is hoppy, grainy, and malty. FRÜLI, on the other hand, is a complete departure from beer.

For one thing, it’s cloudy maroon. There’s no mistaking the strawberry component; the stuff smells stronger than a Strawberry Shortcake doll’s hair. It could compete with strawberry Jell-O or Kool-Aid (powders that should rightly be combined with vodka). Without even taking a sip, you know this beer is not right.

If you’re also an alcoholic, you’ll probably want to pound your bottle of FRÜLI. Classic WYSIWYG: smell and taste line up exactly in an uncomplicated strawberry assault. Let me quote Meet Strawberry Shortcake:

Soon the girls were loading the pink wagon with cookies. Strawberry Shortcake was berry, berry happy—not just to have cookies, but a new friend as well!

OMFG!!! Arghhhhh!!! Drinking a 250mL FRÜLI is like reading 250 pages of Strawberry Shortcake! It’s sappy, sweet, cloying, insipid, and candy-like. Its lack of resemblance to beer is offensive, people. Not even its weak alcohol content redeems it.

Now, perhaps I’ve had a bit more exposure to Strawberry Shortcake than some people. Fact is, if you like fruit but don’t care much for beer, you could drink FRÜLI. You could also put a scoop of Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s in it and call it a float, but it’s not a beer, dammit.

But it gets worse, my fellow inebriates. I visited Beer Advocate to see what my fellow reviewers think of FRÜLI. One of them said it was…sessionable.

That’s because you’d have to drink a CASE of FRÜLI to get drunk. You could get more punch-drunk reading a marathon session of Strawberry Shortcake books to two enraptured little girls, all the while questioning your parental judgment in letting them absorb such mind-numbing rubbish, than you could drinking FRÜLI.

The only thing that upsets me more than FRÜLI is…O’DOUL’S.

FRÜLI is the first beer I’m not sad to see vacate our fridge. It is not welcome back there! Miss V can put ten pee samples in there for all I care, but another FRÜLI …shudder.