I went on a binge last night. Or at least I may have.
It was St. Pat's so I decided to check out the local Irish Pubs, the Blarney Stone and O'Malley's. Both were good, but the former was better by a long shot. More authentic, smaller, cozier and the barman threw in a free shot of Jagermeister because my meal was late. It was the Jagermeister, my fifth drink, that turned the evening into a binge. On top of that, I had four pints of Guinness between 19:00-22:00. That would be five drinks total which, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, would be a binge:
Bingers were defined as male students who had at least five drinks in a row on at least one occasion in the two weeks before the survey, or women students who downed at least four drinks in a row. A "drink" was defined as 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 4 ounces of wine or a 1.25-ounce shot of liquor
Christ, that means half the time Lisa split a reasonably strong bottle of Shiraz at dinner we're "binging." We do that almost every night.
I prefer the 'binge' definition of the UK's Royal College of Physicians. That would put last night well below binge level:
Personally, I've always thought a binge was measured in a temporal, rather than volume, measurement. Specifically, "how many days did the bender last" or "how many hours of memory had vanished."
Definitions of 'binge drinking' vary. A report of the Royal College of Physicians (2002) defined binge drinking as: 'a man who regularly drinks 10 or more units in a single session, or a woman who regularly drinks 7 or more units in a single session.'
Still, the divergence between the two sides of the Atlantic may explain why I tend to use UK colloquialisms - such as 'flat' for 'apartment' - rather than US/Canadian ones. Brits drink more than Americans. I drink more than Americans. Ergo, on a late night of 'binging,' Brits usually surround me at closing time. The English English language is absorbed through drunken osmosis. [You know I've tried to explain that before by saying I prefer economical language. Why use the multi-syllabic term "suspenders" when you can say "braces?" Why stick all of those extra 'u's everywhere when spelling words like flavor? But it's probably because I've been hanging around too many Brits socially and writing for mostly American companies.]
Anyway, a keen study on international alcohol consumption guidelines is here. Here are some of the notes on recommended male alcohol intake levels from around the Anglosphere:
- Australia: for a healthy man, four standard drinks per day with two alcohol-free days per week is regarded as low risk.
- Canada: no more than seven drinks per week.
- Ireland: Three units per day.
- New Zealand: no more than 21 standard drinks per week and no more than six on any one occasion.
- UK: Regular consumption of between three and four units a day for men of all ages "will not accrue significant health risk".
- US: no more than two drinks per day.
Happy belated St. Patrick's!
This week we have received new inquiries from Japan and Slovakia about forwarding posts about the local brew scene. Please feel free wherever you are to send a note, a photo or a voluminous tome on your heart's desire to this blog's gmail account. We (meaning me) will help with editing and where required with simple coding.
One other note. We do like photos and would encourage the use of the camera without the flash. Beer and bars tend to be shining objects and all you get are shadows and glare. Longer exposures with natural light tend to be better, especially indoors. Get artsy. Most bartenders don't mind as long as you ask.
The trouble with Ontario is really expressed in its beer distribution system: it is too big. Half the nation lives here, half the office space and half the bears as well. It goes from the arctic to the Carolinian forest, from the western prairie to a few miles from Montreal. The effect on beer distribution is a focus on localization so that if you want to find one of the beer from the handful of brewers in the province you have to drive. Driving on the weekend for other reasons, I took the opportunity to test the LCBO stocks in Guelph, north on highway 6 just past the Sleemans Brewery, four hours drive to my west.
This beer was worth the drive. A dark ale that actually tries to be something other than a darkened lager like the quite foul Waterloo Dark. Dark ale is not really a style so much as a place there by brown on the lighter side and porter on the richer. It is a small place and this beer settles there well. The body is heavier than the average Canadian ale - as the automotive oil name would imply. It is however fairly fresh with bright, if twiggy, hops cutting quite a sweet rich malt profile. Within the malts there are grainy pale malt flavours as well as some chocolate. Amongst those there is also a treacle note and perhaps a little hint of licorice. A brighter and lighter Theaksons's Old Peculier? Here is what the advocates say.
Perhaps not the most amazing ale but - for those named dark - the best I have had from Canada.
In 1516, the Reinheitsgebot or Law of Purity was decreed in Germany. It is apparently the oldest still-active piece of food health legislation.
"... we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities' confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail."
However, legal action in Germany with respect to beer dates back to 1165.
I am a huge fan of the not blog Forgotten New York and its regular and comprehensive investigations of some aspect or another of New York's architectural heritage. This week we have a study on some of the oldest bars in New York City.
- Total attendance at movie theatres and drive-ins with sales of $1.2 billion in 2002/03: 15.3% of beer.
- All wheat at $2.47 billion: 31.5% of beer.
- The estimated budget of the Government of Nova Scotia for 2003 of $5.327 billion: 68% of beer.
- All charitable giving of $6,500,000,000: 71% of beer.
- Beer is smaller than the military, however, which has a $13.5 billion budget for 2006: 171% of beer in 2003.