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Great American Beer Effluent Dept.: This year's GABF promises to be the biggest and best yet. At press time, festival director Marcia Schirmer estimates that some 265 breweries will pour over 1,100 different beers, 850 kegs will be tapped and 3,300 bottles opened, requiring 70,000 pounds of ice and... oh yes, some 20,000 gallons of human waste to be disposed of. Let's all try to make our own personal contribution...

Meanwhile, the ad folks at Bud Dry have a TV spot running network-wide with a generation X-er quaffing a light beer and trying rather unsuccessfully to get into the bathroom. The voice-over (according to The Wall Street Journal) has the announcer saying, "In case you didn't know, Bud Dry is dry brewed, using less water than light beers. And less water means more beer taste. Besides, who needs more water anyway?" The message, "Dry beers don't make you pee as often" may be funny but is scientifically wrong! All beer - in fact, all alcoholic beverages act as a mild diuretic. (I think we all knew that!) The Journal cites urologist Kevin Pranikoff as saying that in terms of diuretic effects, "There is no practical difference between beers." The Bud-ites don't dispute this and insist that the commercial was a joke. The "joke" was a cheepie to produce (only $350,000 compared with the usual half mil (!) for a beer commercial). Oh well, as they say, "Why ask why?"...

Label collectors will want to get a bottle of Don Gortemiller's fabulous Belgian Triple "style" brew from his Pacific Coast Brewing Co. Don is also a "whiz" with computers and scanned Belgium's famous "peeing cherub" three times (triple!) for the label. And that's just about enough do-do references for this column.

Speaking of Bud, not only did they bring us the Rolling Stones (who called 'em "The New California Raisins"?), they will be the exclusive beer advertised during the 1996 Summer Olympics!

Despite CAMRA's better efforts, a recent Consumer Market Research survey in England found that the contemporary British male values spending time with friends and family over a good sex life and "does not particularly enjoy drinking beer," according to Reuters News Service. Yeow!!! Only nine percent (two percent of men ages 35 to 44) said they like to drink beer in the pub after work, according to the report. The British Invasion of the '60s has become the British Evasion of the '90s? Sad, very sad...

The crew of San Francisco's Jeremiah O'Brien, a WW II Liberty Ship visiting England for the D-Day ceremonies, found beer prices high and pub attendance down to record lows. Although an English version of Budweiser is readily available, most of the visiting seamen opted for the local brew, including Bishop's Finger, from the oldest brewery in England (circa 1698). One frequently heard, "Gimme the Finger, mate!"

Don't Throw Anything Away Dept.: The highest price for a bottle opener was recently established at auction - $1,201 for a cast-iron opener called "the Norwegian" that looks like Howdy Doody wearing a fez. Worse, even!

At a tasting in New York sponsored by Ale Street News, one taster was raging about the white beer called Wit. Sitting next to him was the owner of the brewery, who received the comments in a very gentlemanly fashion. If you're thinking that "that's when the Wit hit the fan," ferget it.

Boston Beer ads ARE something to sniff at. The August and September issues of Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated featured "scratch and sniff" full-page ads imbedded with the herbal fragrance of German Hallertau hops. Newsweek readers probably looked up "Hallertau," Sports Illustrated readers must have wondered why they put hops in beer, and Rolling Stone readers undoubtedly smoked the page. Homebrewers will probably toss the page into their next boil (easy clean-up). For even more fun, I'm waiting for the Boston Beer folks to come out with a "scratch and sniff" T-shirt. Hold still, Miss, this won't hurt a bit...

For you physical phitness buffs, may I recommend Bruce Clifton's new toning tome, "Exercise with Alcohol," published by Skull Varnish Press in Portland, OR. Designed as a satirical treatise on rationalizing over-consumption, the book is clearly done for laughs and will only be taken seriously by the driest of dry neo-probs. I especially liked the "billiard table press" exercise. Hey, you're on the floor anyway, might as well do a few table presses to tone them pecs. If you have $6 to waste (i.e., two pints), send it to SVP, 265 SW 10th Ave. #163-B, Portland, OR 97205.

Our science geeks tell us that alcohol stimulates the right side of the brain (imagination, visualization, creativity) while it numbs the left side (memory, detail, responsibility). Humm... I think I knew that, I just forgot.

Sure, they serve a lot of great beer at 20 Tank in San Francisco's SoMa. Did you know that you can order a pint of animal crackers? Try 'em with a pint of Pollywanna Porter. Yummm...

MADD invites you to tie one on? A new line of neckties features microscopic molecular designs of popular alcoholic drinks in psychedelic colors (the beer one is way cool!). And Mothers Against Drunk Driving will benefit from sales. They are made by Stonehenge Ltd. and are available at many department stores for around $30.

Here's a scoop! Manuel Oliveira's ice cream shop in Merida, Venezuela, has 567 flavors, according to a Reuters News story. In addition to onion, chili, eggplant, smoked trout, chicken with rice, and spinach is the ever-popular... beer! Not everything works, however. Don't ask him about the avocado ice cream. Yucch!

New York researcher George de Leon sez businessmen, academics, shopkeepers and other groups of men are more likely to go bald than winos - underscoring the notion that alcohol prevents baldness. I'll drink to that!




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