Monday, January 31, 2005

Mixology: a new, jittery fermented beverage

Is this a sign of The End Times?

Anheuser-Busch is adding caffeine, ginseng and a Amazonian berry used in Brazilian soft drinks for a new brew called "B to the E," or Budweiser Extra.

Small breweries, inspired by the popularity of Red Bull and vodka, already have tried this angle. Now Budweiser is jumping on the caffeinated bandwagon.

Taste reviews are mixed. And The Washington Post's Peter Carlson wonders about the long-term implications.[WP]

Alas, there is a potential downside to this great breakthrough. Drinking too much beer sometimes makes people do stupid things, such as fighting with strangers. Or sleeping with strangers. Or calling your ex-girlfriend at 3 in the morning to tearfully beg her to come back -- a supplication frequently accompanied by a dubious promise to stop drinking.

Until now, beer guzzling was a self-regulating activity. Sure, drinking too much made you do stupid things. But drinking too much also tended to make you fall asleep before you got into trouble. Passing out is nature's way of saying you drank too much, and it has saved many a beer drinker from acute embarrassment. But with caffeine keeping beer drinkers cranked up, there's no end to the fun. Which could get ugly.

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