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.

Looking for the hair of the dog? Try MAUDITE

My Fellow Inebriates,

The kids are fascinated by bottlecaps and were on the verge of fighting over the lone one they found on the counter this morning, which came off a bottle of MAUDITE, a Quebeçois offering from Unibroue, makers of TROIS PISTOLES. Four-year-old Miss V was so heartbroken when Miss P seized it that she said very earnestly to our parents:

“I just wish you guys could have a beer.”

My kind of kid! I certainly was wishing for a beer at that matutinal moment, hurting as I was from a Friday night of drunken revelry that began with MAUDITE, progressed through a very nice bottle of Spanish wine, and culminated with BOWMORE 12 and a small amount of vomiting.

My parents don’t often cut loose, but the stars lined up for me last night. They’d been stressed out all week by work, transportation, medical and dental issues, and then my newest friend Robert showed up bearing booze.

Catching the aroma

Lest you think our family unwholesome I should mention the kids were safely tucked into bed before the wine was finished and the whiskey came out. No one blacked out except me, and Robert stayed the night in our guest room instead of mowing down pedestrians or planting his car in a ditch.

Going from grain to grape to grain is risky business, or so they say. But who are “they” and do they know what they’re talking about?

Not Robert or my dad, but having more fun than both

Thank goodness for ibuprofen or I wouldn’t have managed to research the topic. Ninety-five percent of what I found on mixing grain-based and grape-based alcohol was purely anecdotal, but at last I found an interesting study in which three Melbourne lads (presumably of similar build) volunteered to get drunk at a bar.

Prior to heading out, each had his blood sampled for C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation, the partial culprit in a hangover. Then:

  • Ben drank white wine all evening.
  • Justin confined himself to beer.
  • Brad drank both white wine and beer.

The next morning all had blood tests again.

The verdict?

Only Ben, who drank white wine exclusively, showed evidence of a bad-ass hangover, with a CRP jump from 1.5 to 1.9. The other two guys’ CRP levels actually went down (from 0.4 to 0.3 for Justin and 1.2 to 1.1 for Brad).

Dr. Jeffrey Wiese

This seems to dispel the theory that mixing drinks leads to worse hangovers. Dr. Jeffrey Wiese of Tulane University, who analyzed the blood-test results, agreed, adding that if mixing drinks leads to hangovers it’s because when people do so they tend to drink more alcohol in total. Congeners—impurities found in darker drinks such as rum and red wine—are the more probable culprits. If Justin and Brad had enjoyed dark drinks all evening, they probably would have needed ibuprofen the next day.

If they’d been drinking MAUDITE instead of Foster’s Lager (the way I picture it), their CRP levels might well have increased as their wine-drinking buddy’s did. MAUDITE is a deep and hazy coppery brown with a liquorstorebear-colored, persistent head. Its aroma is ripe, floral and orchard-like. On the tongue fruitiness emerges with complexity—a touch of spice, a suggestion of grassland and some background coriander perhaps. It’s dry and complicated—hard to put your paw on which flavors are which as they merge in splendid balance.

MAUDITE has an extraordinary mouthfeel and a mellow smoothness that effectively conveys its 8% alcohol to your liver without seeming very boozy. It’s a real creeper that way and could land you on your ass if you drink several without checking the label.

I wonder what Dr. Jeffrey Wiese would think of MAUDITE. The winner of 21 international medals, MAUDITE is bottle-fermented, and its higher alcohol content acts as a natural preservative, so I wouldn’t implicate it as a big hangover beer because it seems less likely to be the toxic soup of congeners that so many cheap beers are.

My parents should take little Miss V’s suggestion and crack a MAUDITE right now. We all have wretched hangovers to address, and this wonderfully complex brew would probably solve the mutual problem. And then Miss V would have her very own bottlecap.

I love the kids but they have no idea how loud their voices are today. Still, they wouldn’t judge us for embracing the hair of the dog.

But my parents are boring, my mum especially so. (She didn’t even like MAUDITE! What a philistine.)