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.

SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER—not sessionable, and not for wankers

I don’t get up early enough to verify this, but apparently the morning ritual around here involves the kids begging for “honey spoons”—spoonfuls of honey that precede breakfast. Any bears who are up at that time have to suffer, watching them gobble up the precious stuff. Even though I don’t really do solid food, honey makes me salivate as all good bears do when they catch sight of a beehive, but in my case it also makes me think of SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER.

I’ve mentioned this elixir before as a good go-to beer that measures favorably against a host of craft-beer variations on the honey brew. I like it, peeps; it’s refreshing and clean-tasting, with just enough weight and a nice long finish.

But beer wankers disagree with me. They disparage it!

What do they dislike about SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER? Well, wankers say it reminds them of high school, that it’s so “macro,” and that it doesn’t taste good warm—i.e., they can’t have a long, drawn-out beer-wanking “session” with it.

I didn’t know what “sessionable” beer was until I read beerbecue’s skewering (ha!) of the term. His contention that “session beer” is a pretentious term elicited 19 comments—more than he likely would have netted had he proposed adopting a Soylent Green policy or suggested we all kill a puppy.

If you’re not familiar with the idea that a <5% ABV qualifies a beer for a “session” during which tasters may sip and consider its qualities without getting thoroughly trashed, check out the article. But for alcoholics like me and probably some of my friends, a word like “sessionable” is utterly meaningless. A beer session for somebody like me goes on until the beer is gone or I pass out. If the beer is COORS LIGHT the process takes a little longer, but it still happens. I only weigh a few ounces, my fellow inebriates, so I don’t emerge from any drinking session unscathed, and nothing—save an abomination like O’DOUL’S—dilutes the eventual drunkenness that is in fact the express purpose of opening a bottle of anything, sessionable or not.

Being a live-and-let-live bear, I don’t mind what terms are bandied about concerning beer. But when the house is dry, I tend to surf the net and read about beer. And what I see is my fave daily beer being trashed by “session” beer drinkers. OMG! They say they wouldn’t have bought it but “it was in the house” (magically) or “someone brought it over” (lucky) or they “thought they’d give it a chance” (decent of them).

Here’s the skinny on SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER. It’s a gorgeous, clear amber with off-white foam and some lacing. The scent is slightly malty with honey up front, an aroma that pays off as this effervescent brew hits the tongue. Generous caramel notes open up as the fizz settles in the mouth with a crisp, quenching mouthfeel and a nice balance between sweet and bitter. The taste lingers satisfyingly, making for an interesting taste experience that categorically differs from most so-called “macro beer” experiences.

Yes, it is a mainstream beer with a reasonable but not bottom-shelf price. It’s refreshing in summer but weighty enough for winter (unusual for a lager)—and therefore ideal for spring and fall too. I totally love SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER.

But supposedly honey itself is almost more awesome. Did you know that honey is a natural antibacterial agent? Scientists are testing its potential to combat hospital-borne strep infections (constantly evolving to be one step ahead of even the most powerful antibiotics) and finding that honey kills off most strep cells. Wow!

Admittedly, I prefer SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER slightly to honey, which means that if I ever get a strep infection I might be an idiot and make a poultice with beer instead of honey—and end up as bear meat for flesh-eating disease. Wouldn’t that be disgusting? And then it would travel to my brain and turn me into a beer wanker.