Friday, July 17, 2020

Nor any drop to drink

About a year ago, I wrote about not drinking alcoholic beverages because of medication I’m on. I talked about non-alcoholic wine I’d tried, and said it was “quite good”. Yeah, well, not so much now.

The alcohol-removed wines I’ve tried aren’t like the real thing, and some are very different—and not in a good way. As in June of last year, I still like their “sparkling cuvee” the best, but it, too, just isn’t the same, though it’s better than most similar ones I’ve tried.

Since then, I’ve tried some no-alcohol beers, too: The DB Export Gold 0.0% was pretty dreadful, mainly because it’s oddly sweet. The Heineken 0.0 (referred to as “Heineken zero”) is very, very good—in fact, of all the no-alcohol substitutes I’ve tried, that one is the one that’s closest to what its alcohol-laden cousins taste like. Actually, it’s probably the only one that does.

Early last year, I praised it when Heineken started advertising against drinking and driving, though I never mentioned the brand by name, which is good since that video is now private. They later used similar ads to promote their 0.0 version, but those aren’t online, either (maybe the contracts of the famous people in them expired?). Their current ad is much more traditional [WATCH].

In July of last year, I updated the teatotalling post (link is to the specific section of that post), and I noted:
People don’t drink wine or other alcoholic beverages just for the taste, even if that’s one reason. If we’re truly honest, most people drink it—at least in part—because of the pleasant effects that come from it.
But when those “pleasant effects” are missing, does that diminish the experience? No, not really—at least, not in my experience. I’m now used to not experiencing those “pleasant effects”, and, instead, I can enjoy the social aspects with others who are drinking the real thing, but without the negative effects (like hangovers). Until I switched to the Heineken 0.0, though, it wouldn’t have been for taste, too, as it is now.

Which isn’t to say that I never want to experience those “pleasant effects” again. In fact, some ten weeks after I made that July 2019 post, Nigel died, and if ever there was something that might make someone want to drink alcohol, and probably for something beyond the “pleasant effects”, that would be it. And yet, I never did. That was partly my resolve to stay the course, partly a “that’s not my way” sort of thing, and partly that I was just too busy to even think about it.

Nowadays, I don’t mind not drinking alcohol, but I wouldn’t rule it out in the future once I can drink it again. But one thing that’s the same as in my post in June last year is that I still plan on “keeping it as one of my choices after I’m off this medicine regime”, though now “it” is more likely to refer to the beer. I’m also more likely to think of this switch as permanent, rather than as merely a no-alcohol substitute to have whenever others are having the real thing. For me, it’s kind of become the real thing.

Things are now quite different, in so many ways.

The title of this post is, of course, from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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