When I was young vodka was the intoxication beverage of choice. It was not as much question about flavor as minutes from first shot to the buzz. If you wanted be a little more than others, you choose wine. The purpose was the same, the buzz. All of it was bought by parents, older siblings or friends at Systembolaget, the government controlled alcoholic beverage monopoly. After a while the head ache, felling sick and having a wage memory of what happened the day after got old. Was that the only experience I got out of chugging a bunch of hard liquor?

I’m not sure what made me start liking beer. I think it was because of the questionable experience with anything over 6% ABV. (Back then beer with more than 4.5% by weight wasn’t allowed. 4.5% by weight is about the same as 6% by volume.) I could still have a fun night and not be a zombie the day after. The choices I had were not that great. At bars it was pretty much the house brand lager and maybe one or two imports. Pripps Blue, Tuborg, Carlsberg and Spendrup’

s were the breweries that owned much of the market and still do. It might have been the Swedish brewery Spendrup’s and their Old Gold that brought me over from the dark side. This was a crisp, clear 5% German Pilsner with great balance. Last time I had it the magic was gone. I don’t know the beer changed or maybe it’s just me.

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