Taking a stand for good, honest, fruit-free beer

Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins

I like beer. Good, honest beer. Beer served in a glass made from glass or supped from a cold, aluminium tin. Beer with fizz, substance and style.

There are some people out there who don’t like beer, worse still some of them work in the drinks industry. These people poison beer with foreign substances, they drain it of its alcoholic goodness, they dress it up in silly outfits and make it dance the lambada.

One of the biggest offenders is Australian brewery Foster’s.

Their new advert for Foster’s Radler features two stereotypical Aussie blokes playing beach volleyball against a pair of bikini clad Sheilas. The ad involves sport, female eye candy and beer.

It ticks all the boxes to grab the attention of a warm-blooded male. However, having gained my attention with their route one marketing, the sense of awe soon turned to distress when I learnt what they are advertising.

Foster’s Radler is beer mixed with cloudy lemon, which is a sin in itself, but what galls me further is the fact they’re also selling an alcohol-free version of the already weak lemon beer.

Though it pains me to say it, I do see the point in taking the potency out of an alcoholic drink for the benefit of people who want to enjoy the taste of alcohol without impairing their ability to drive or grow a baby.

That doesn’t mean I agree with it. For me, alcohol-free beer is like a football match without goals, a children’s playpark without swings, like a column from Yer Man without tenuous similies.

In the case of Foster’s Radler I fail to see why anyone would want to take the alcohol out of a drink that has already been diluted with lemon.

I believe I’m correct in pointing out there’s a cheaper and tastier alternative to alcohol-free beer mixed with cloudy lemon - it’s called cloudy lemonade.

It strikes me that the Radler people are hell bent on destroying beer, whether it’s by pumping it full of citrus fruit or sucking the very purpose out of it.

You may think I’m being a bit over-the-top, but you only need to look what has happened to cider to see what occurs when you let drinks companies meddle with our favourite alcohol drinks.

Cider used to be made from apples. Now you’re as likely to encounter a pear, raspberry, lime or elderflower.

I suppose the one benefit is a pint of cider can now provide you with all of your five-a-day.

I did a bit of research into what Radler means. It turns out to be an aboriginal term for ‘can’t leave well enough alone’.

The only thing remotely beery about alcohol-free Foster’s Radler is the bottle it comes in. Which raises another question. Is it acceptable to drink a non-alcoholic beer in work?

I can just picture it - the MD walking past my desk as I swig the dregs of an alcohol-free Foster’s Radler and belch approvingly then try to convince him that what I’ve just drunk is the equivalent of a Diet Coke or a blackcurrant cordial. My case isn’t helped when I get up from my desk and an empty bottle of alcohol-free vodka smashes at my feet.

I think I’d best wind up my column for this week.

All this talk of beer has got me in the mood for a cigarette.

Being a non-smoker I’ll opt for a nicotine-free one with a hint of avocado.