WARNING: In cold weather, do not drink alcoholic beverages because they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly and make you feel colder. – Centers for Disease Control advisory.
WARNING: Avoid alcohol in extreme heat because it can cause dehydration and make you feel hotter. – Centers for Disease Control advisory.
OK, which one is it?
Let’s pick a government warning and stick with it. Either my six-pack is keeping me warm or making me colder. You can’t have it both ways.
Last summer, during that heat wave, they were telling us, “Don’t drink beer, or you’ll drop faster’n a minor league pitcher on diet pills.”
Then, during this week’s bone-chilling blizzard: “Stay away from the booze, or you’ll get frostbite and your nose will fall off!”
I mean, do they think beer drinkers can’t remember from one season to the next? Do they honestly think they can trick us into putting down our frosty mugs that easily?
Don’t answer that.
Instead, let’s review some of the laughable cold-weather anti-booze warnings issued by a number of newspapers, government agencies and health experts:
1. People should avoid alcohol, which interferes with the body’s ability to combat cold. – St. Petersburg Times.
Hello? Everybody knows alcohol is nature’s No. 1 cold-fighting elixir. Why do you think they put it in Robitussin?
Didn’t these pinheads ever drink a shot of whiskey? It burns the throat, baby. And once in your bloodstream, alcohol continues to simmer, raising your inner temperature like an oven.
This is just simple science. But what do you expect when you take cold-weather advice from a Florida newspaper?
2. Alcohol dilates blood vessels in the skin, allowing body heat to escape more rapidly. – WebMD.
Escape? The alcohol-fueled heat is inside your vessels, pal, warming your entire body. It’s like the fluid inside your car radiator.
The only way body heat is going to escape your blood vessels while drinking is if you sever an artery on the flip top. Then all your blood leaks out and your dog laps it up like anti-freeze.
3. Alcohol blunts the senses and impairs judgment, so the individual may not feel the signs and symptoms of a developing cold injury – NATO.
So, that explains that missing big toe. Didn’t feel a thing, did ya?
4. Alcohol increases urine formation, leading to dehydration, which can further degrade the body’s defense against cold. – National Weather Service.
Urination – or, as I like to call it, “beer-recycling” – merely allows one to consume more alcohol. This is an important bodily function because the more you drink, the warmer you get.
Remember: Continually replace lost fluids. You should probably take a bottle with you for the walk home.
5. Alcohol gives a false sense of warmth. – Alaska Department of Labor.
Well, duh – that’s the basic idea behind drinking beer, isn’t it? I mean, besides giving you something to wash down pretzels with.
Beer gives you a false sense of everything, from your ability to dance to the salient assets of the babe at the end of the bar.
But when it’s 12 degrees outside and you’ve gotta trudge home alone because you struck out with that babe at the end of the bar, you miserable loser, who cares if it’s “a false sense of warmth”? Drink enough beer, and you can convince yourself it’s Miami Beach and you’re soaking in a hot tub.
Yeah, with the babe at the end of the bar.
6. “The most common cause of hypothermia is cold exposure due to alcohol intoxification.” – Longmont Clinic, Colorado.
That would be “intoxication,” Doc. But we won’t quibble over your miserable prescription drug-slurred grammar.
Instead, tell me something: If alcohol is so bad, how come when you’re buried in a snowdrift in the Alps, they send a St. Bernard with a wooden cask of spirits to rescue ya?
OK, the cask is usually filled with brandy. But beer is a perfectly suitable winter warmer.
So here’s a six-pack of cold-weather beers. Maybe you can find someone to deliver them to your comfy chair next to the fireplace.
- Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout – The style was originally brewed in England for the Russian czars. With seven types of malt, this roasty brew from Easton could help you survive a Siberian winter. 8.2 percent alcohol.
- Mad River Steelhead Scotch Porter – An oddball California brew, with the peated malt of a scotch ale, and the roasted malt and creamy body of a very drinkable porter. 6.4 percent.
- Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux – This is a big beer, but it goes down with a fruity, spiced flavor, not unlike the Belgian farmhouse brewery’s famous Saison Dupont. 9.5 percent.
- Troegs Troegenator – Traditionally doppelbock is my first beer of spring. But this Harrisburg brew has a nice, warm taste, and who can wait? Try it with a gravy-soaked open-faced hot roast beef sandwich. 8.2 percent.
- EKU 28 – An ice bock from Germany, it’s made strong by freezing the brew, then removing the ice crystals. This style was once prescribed as medicine for pneumonia victims, and to many it might taste like a dose of castor oil. After the first sip, you won’t care. 11.5 percent.
- Kostritzer Schwarzbier – Goethe said, “Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” This dark but crisp-tasting German lager was Goethe’s favorite beer. 4.8 percent.
Tonight – Brewers’ Reserve Night, Iron Hill Brewery (147 E. Main St., Newark, Del). Special beers from Iron Hill’s three brewpubs will be served with an unfiltered winter bock from Fordham Brewing, Annapolis, Md. Starts at 8 p.m. Free pint glasses to the first 50 beer-drinkers. Info: 302-266-9000. No cover.
Sunday – First annual Victory Chili Challenge, Victory Brewpub (420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown). Amateur chili makers burn your orifices, cool off with Prima Pils. Two sessions, 2 p.m, 5 p.m. Info: 610-873-0881.
Wednesday – Battle of the Bartenders, Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant (4120 Main St., Manayunk). Go for brewer Larry Horwitz’s fresh brews, accompanying an oyster and clam bar. Then stick around and watch Tom Cruise wannabes mix cocktails with stupid names. No cover. Starts at 6 p.m. Info: 215-482-8220.
March 1 – Fifth annual Main Line Brew Fest (Desmond Hotel, Malvern). Tastings, seminars and excellent ales and lagers from area brewers. Hours: Noon to 4 p.m. Cover: $30.00. Info: 610-296-9800.
Joe Sixpack, by staff writer Don Russell, was written this week with a bottle of Brasserie Caracole Nostradamus.