Let's talk beer.
The refreshing, intoxicating, and fattening malt beverage goes back to the Babylonians and beyond. Today across America, you can find it in infinite varieties -- from thick and hearty stouts to hoppy pilsners and watery “lite” beers.
There are still faddish low-carb beers around, and all sorts of lagers, porters, India pale ales, wheat beers, barleycorn beers, seasonal bocks, and beers with honey or blueberry essence. The Miller Brewing Company even made a clear beer, until it discovered people prefer a rich, caramel color and a frothy head on their beers.
Now, into this mix of libations, comes beer with caffeine.
Even though beer is traditionally a tasty sedative, relaxing one's inhibitions, America's biggest beer company is following the lead of some microbrewers. It's producing a beer to jolt us awake and mellow us out at the same time. Anheuser-Busch's new product comes in little cans with about half as much caffeine as you'd get in a cup of coffee.
American statesman Benjamin Franklin, who was known to quaff a few cold ones in his time, once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Today, we rely on the wisdom of Rolling Stone magazine, which said of caffeinated beer, “The wave of the future is getting wasted [meaning drunk] and invigorated in one.”
To stronger Irish coffee -- a concoction of coffee, liqueur and whipped cream -- we can now add caffeinated beer as another mixed message to the modern American nervous system.