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Oct 25, 2014

Beer Break

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Beer Break Vol. 1, No. 17
Facing up to the morning after

Dec. 28, 2000

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Let's face it: Hangovers happen, particularly this time of year. Maybe you had a beer to two more than your head thinks you should have; perhaps you were drinking spirits or were mixing alcoholic beverages. We certainly hope you didn't get behind the wheel of a car, but don't think you deserve to suffer.

There are more hangover "cures" than there are styles of beer. For instance, back in the Middle Ages one cure called for a mixture of bitter almonds and raw eel. Then there's the suggestion that you mix together vinegar and raw eggs, and swig them down with a giant gulp.

You might find the advice Michael Jackson offered in his 1979 "Pocket Bartender's Guide" a bit more useful and certainly more appetizing. His suggestions, slightly abridged:

- If you can think about measures beforehand without spoiling your evening, then the precautionary glass of milk really is worthwhile. It will retard the absorption of alcohol, and protect your stomach against the worst consequent irritations.

- If your are prepared to be bored, drink only vodka or one of the other relatively pure continuous-still spirits.

- Some vermouths and digestifs may contain tiny traces of toxic compounds deriving from their plant content, though this is open to argument. The same is held to be true of fortified wines, and to a lesser extent of ordinary wines and beers. Only the latter are likely to be drunk in quantity, but it is worth watching out for labels that bring headaches.

- Alcohol causes dehydration because it is a diuretic. So is coffee, which may therefore make you feel worse. Drink water before you go to bed, and leave some handy in case you wake up in the night. Dehydration also causes that trembly feeling.

- An irritated stomach may produce acid. That is why antacid patent medicine can be helpful (though caution is advised if they contain aspirin). Mineral water are alkaline as well as being quenching, so they are doubly useful.

- Sleep helps the body recover. For the same reason, a tired or unfit drinker is especially vulnerable to hangovers -- and no two people respond in quite the same way to each different drink.

- A bath is refreshing, and cleanses the soul.

- Vitamin C help the liver detoxify the blood, and B vitamins may be beneficial.

- Fructose helps the body metabolize alcohol. It also replaces blood sugar, which may be low in the morning. A low level of blood sugar makes you feel weak. Eat bread and honey.

- Jewish remedy: To combat dehydration, upset stomach and hunger, drink chicken soup.

You'll find links to more about hangovers below in "good reading."

Tasting notes

SAMUEL SMITH WINTER WELCOME
Brewed by the Samuel Smith Brewery in Tadcaster, England

Tasting notes from Real Beer:

Tiny bubbles give this British import a creamy texture. Smooth, with fruity aromas, an excellent beer to have with a Christmas dinner of goose or turkey. Each year a new label is designed by Merchant du Vin founder, Charles Finkel, and this year's features a Yorkshire Hare, now an endangered species in Northern England.

STILLE NACHT (17 YEARS OLD)
Brewed by De Dolle Brouwers in Belgium

Stephen Beaumont's tasting notes:

Based upon my brief encounter with the beer, I am able to say that it boasted a hugely refined and complex character, with a mix of spicy and leathery notes that was simply awe-inspiring. Without question, it was a beer well worth the seventeen year wait.

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