Drink Up Me Hearties…

If you’re in UK or have ever visited the UK you’ll know that one thing we Brits like is to spend time in the pub.  It’s the national pastime, when we’re not complaining about the weather (it’s either too hot or too cold) although most of us manage to combine both – who says we can’t multi-task?

Anyway, there has been a lot of press lately relating to the high levels of alcohol related diseases and deaths and Scotland is about to set a minimum price level for a unit of alcohol to try and make it more expensive for teenagers to get drunk as well as curtail the huge profits that supermarkets make by selling cheap rot-gut alcohol products at below cost price as they wage wars between themselves to lure in customers, after all with those party packs of 12% lager you’re going to need a few packs of overpriced tortilla chips and salsa dips…right?

Now, those of you have been keeping up with my intermittent blogging will also know that this year I decided to make a few New Year Resolutions, one of which was to go without alcohol for all of 2009, 92 days so far and it’s going well. Before anyone shakes their head in pity, I just had to add up the days with the aid of a calendar, I haven’t been counting the days in my head!

I’ve given up drinking alcohol before usually for periods no longer than 9 months and usually they involve me not going out as much as I usually did, not so much because my tolerance for drunks was reduced when I wasn’t as drunk as them but more because I got sick of getting to choose between overpriced, often fizz free, cola, lemonade or fruit concentrate. This year I decided to give the alcohol free lager options a try, when I can find them.

Quite a few bars stock alcohol free Becks, it’s not bad, not good but not bad. Certainly a lot better than Kaliber which tastes like there’s a spoonful of treacle in every bottle and is enough to drive you to drink the super strength gut-rot I mentioned earlier! But by and large those are the only two options to be had and even then, in a relatively small number of establishments. It seems that even though there is a desire to wean people off the high alcohol products, there is nothing much for them to be weaned on to. One popular identi-kit bar chain branch proudly boasted Beers from 34 countries available no prizes for guessing that not one of them was alcohol free, no wonder the chain is called All-Bar-One…shame on you!

Supermarkets fare a little better or a lot worse, depending on your viewpoint. My local Tesco has a range of around 30 lagers and as many ales, not one of them alcohol free, they do however stock alcohol free wine, so I should at least give them a point for trying but less than 30 metres away is a small family run off-license which still manages to stock Kaliber. Incidentally while I was trying to find alcohol free lager in Tesco a couple came along and were browsing the aisles behind me when I heard the wife say to her husband, “I can’t see any alcohol free stuff anywhere!” which shows I wasn’t the only odd one out!

Waitrose however must be crowned alcohol free kings as they stock no less than 4 different alcohol brands and not one of them is Kaliber! So far my favourite is Cobra Zero a tasty drop of alcohol free lager, it’s quite confusing however to glug away and then look at 6 or 7 empty bottles and have not the slightest muddling of movement or thought. Now, if only they could come up with some alcohol free vodka or Jack Daniels :)

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