And now, for a taste of piss

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You write about drinking beer long enough, sooner or later you’ve gotta take a break, if you catch my drift.

You know, the pause that refreshes.

Go see a man about a horse, point Percy at the porcelain, release the dogs, open the floodgates, empty the bucket, drain the lizard, kill the grass, spend a penny, make number one, take a leak, a splash, a piddle, a wee-wee.

I realize this is all slightly coarse talk in mixed company. Normally, adult discussion of bodily functions arises only during visits to the doctor’s office or Friday night poker games. But among beer drinkers, especially those who regard a sixpack as a nice start, it is an unavoidably frequent, occasionally urgent topic.

Thus, allow Joe Sixpack to direct your attention to the newest malt beverage from Down Under:


Readers who have gone kangaroo hunting in the outback already know that Australians commonly call their everyday lager “piss.” Here we reserve that description for Coors Light.

Anyway, Canadian brew guy Stephen Beaumont reports that the Piss Beer Co. has capitalized on the terminology and is now bottling in Melbourne. The company says it wants to cater to young drinkers “disillusioned with the slick marketing efforts of the big beer brands.”

Naming your beer after a bodily excretion, I suppose, might attract disillusioned college students. But I can tell you, it didn’t work for Schlitz.

The company can also expect to encounter problems if it ever tries exporting its brew to these shores. Pennsylvania, you’ll recall, banned Belgium’s Manekin Pis from the state because its label featured an illustration of a boy’s tiny spritzer.

Nonetheless, the Aussies may be onto something. A company official told one newspaper that young drinkers “wanted a beer they could relate to and claim as their own.”

I say, right on!

It’s time to stop shelling out hard-earned bucks for smartly packaged craft beers and factory-made macrobrews. Instead, I urge those who’d like to “relate” to a beer that’s really their own to avoid the middleman and pull up a nice, warm mug of the real thing.

Pee – it’s the ultimate homebrew.

Now, before you retch, consider that not so long ago people regularly consumed their own urine. It was added to pastry, and women in labor would drink their husband’s straight up.

More to the point, as recently as the late 1800s (coincidentally, about the time the Busch family was gearing up in St. Louis), brewers often spiked the mash tun with a li’l pee.

It’s true – the People Paper’s Poor Ron Avery, who is an expert on the arcane, tells me it was commonly known as “lant.”

A reference book called “Forgotten English” says stale lant was added to ale, “apparently for the flavor it imparted.” Yum. Tipplers could order up single- or double-lanted ale, depending on the concentration of urine.

Now, I’ll concede that as a typically lazy American beer drinker, there is something appealing about lant. For one thing, it completely eliminates the necessity of a bottle opener.

But as much as I occasionally enjoy a bit of spice in my brew, this is one case where I’ll stick with the Reinheitsgebot, the German purity law. Water, yeast, malt and hops – hold the whiz, please.

Beer Radar

Tonight is Firkin Friday at the Grey Lodge Pub (6235 Frankford Ave., Northeast). On tap at 5 p.m.: a cask-conditioned Flying Fish ESB, served neat without CO-2. . .Tomorrow is the Kennett Square Mushroom & Beer Festival, featuring 20 regional micros from the mid-Atlantic region. Tix are $14 at the door. Info: 610-444-8188. . .

Save some room for the huge (60-plus) variety of beers and wines at next week’s Sippin’ by the River. The Penn’s Landing event, which benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, is 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 26. Beer guy Jim Anderson will host a tutored tasting of Belgians. Info: 215-629-3200. . .

Latest gimmick brew on local shelves: Beer2000. It’s a contract brew from Newtown Square, cooked up by the Northeast’s Independence Brewing. . .Latest beer rag at newsstands and bars: Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. The tabloid is published, edited and written by many of the same characters who populated the sadly departed Barleycorn.

Joe Sixpack, written this week with a can of Caffrey’s Irish Ale, appears every other Friday.



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