Session #59: I Almost Always Drink Beer, But When I Don’t ….

Our 59th Session is something of a departure, as the topic could just as properly be about beverages other than beer as beer itself. Our host, Mario Rubio from Brewed For Thought was looking to branch out of beer and explore our other liquid passions. Seizing upon a suggestion I made regarding the Dos Equis pitchman — a.k.a. The Most Interesting Man in the World — who’s fond of remarking “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do….,” Mario turned it on his head, and is asking us to opine about the opposite, as in “I Almost Always Drink Beer, But When I Don’t….” But I’ll let him explain:

With the New Year looming and a month of Christmas and Holiday parties to enjoy there are plenty of opportunities to get into a different beverage besides beer, alcoholic or otherwise. It was with this in mind that I was reminded of a conversation I had one day with Jay Brooks. Looking for advice on how to squeeze some blood from this stone of beer blogging, Jay told me a lot of writers have to look outside of beer to help make a complete income. Upon bringing this up as a Session topic he even offered up a much better title than I would have thought up.

So as we are all incredibly interesting people, and almost always drink beer, let’s talk about what we drink when not drinking beer. Maybe your passion for coffee rivals that of craft beer, or it could be another alcoholic beverage such as scotch. My daughter being a root beer fan would appreciate her dad reviewing a few fizzy sodas. Maybe you have a drink that takes the edge off the beer, be it hair of the dog or a palate cleanser during the evening.

Beer cocktails, wines, ciders, meads, you name it as long as it’s not beer. Try to tie it in with craft beer in some way for extra credit. Be creative and I’ll see you guys in the new year.


This one was generally pretty easy for me. In addition to beer, I’m obsessed with a number of other beverages, though some are non-alcoholic. For example, I love unsweetened Iced Tea. Love it. It’s my caffeine delivery system of choice and I drink at least a liter bottle of Tejava — my favorite pre-packaged brand, hands down — each and every day, and usually more. I’m also rather fond of good lemonade, which is harder to find than one might suppose. I don’t really drink any soda — that stuff is really unhealthy — but I will have the occasional root beer or birch beer, which is a bit of nostalgia for me. A-Treat sodas from Philly were what we had around the house growing up, and apart from the Grapefruit Dry, root beer and birch beer were my favorites. A lot of the folk fairs my parents took me to had demonstrations of how they were made in the old days, which I found endlessly fascinating. I also confess to drinking quite a lot of water, especially when I’m also drinking a lot of beer.

But as for other alcoholic beverages, I am a self-avowed cross-drinker. I do like wine, though to tend to favor big reds and champagne, which I have a weakness for. The more delicate whites are usually lost on me, but I won’t dismiss them out of hand. I just don’t know a great deal about them, apart from what I like which I decide purely on sensory considerations and find wine ratings even more useless than beer ones. They’re perhaps a necessary evil, and one I have to live with, but they’re often so subjective that they’re often meaningless.

I like single malt whisky and many other spirits, but again my knowledge of them is rather thin. I’ve attended a number of whisky tasting events and dinners, and always had a great time, but find that I rarely reach for a bottle when I’m at home. I like tequila, but it does not like me. As a result of some bad experiences when I was younger, I never ever touch the stuff. I’m also not a huge fan of rum, ouzo, brandy or many other similar liquors and liqueurs. I like vodka and absinthe well enough, though usually only in small doses.

Hands down, my favorite non-beer, alcoholic drink — especially after drinking a lot of beer — is gin. I especially find that a gin and tonic cleanses my palette like nothing else can. I prefer Bombay Sapphire, of the common gins, and Anchor’s Junipero Gin, when I can find it; though in truth I’m not too picky as long as it’s not a rotgut bottom-of-the-barrel variety. There’s nothing quite like it after a day’s beer judging to reset my mind and body for the evening.



  1. says

    Grapefruit Dry, one of my favorites as well….Thanks Jay for a great memory! (speaking of memories, did you notice they’ve gone back to marketing Peanut Chews as Goldenberg’s? as if they were ever anything else)

  2. says

    Beer, coffee, and water. Those are the only three drinks I need to survive. If I decide to imbibe in some liquor, I gravitate towards bourbon and rye whiskey. I have never tried gin after beer judging. I’ll never forget my first homebrew competition as a judge; it left me with a low-level hangover and a small stomach ache. I will try some gin after the next one to quell the stomach and mind.

    • says

      Do you make the hop-tonic at home? I’d love to try making my own. This sounds great. What has your experience taught you… Do I need mesh bags (filled with hops), a big vodka container, and a month for “infusing”?

  3. Kelly says

    If you want a very smooth light whiskey, try Irish whiskey. It is a great sipping whiskey. It is the only whiskey I enjoy straight or on ice. Irish whiskey doesn’t have the heat of U.S. Bourbons and blends and doesn’t have the smoke and medicinal taste of Scotch. Regular Jamesons or Bushmills are quite smooth and while I don’t find the quality increase commensurate with the price increase, the premium versions of both whiskeys are a bit better.

    • says

      A very good friend of mine once gave me a bottle of Jameson 12 year, I think? All I remember was it had one of the smoothest sipping quality of most whiskeys I’ve tried. I gave up on worrying about price a long time ago. I’d rather have a few great drinks than a bunch of hangover inducing junk. I still love my bourbon though, sort of like a tasty kick in the face.

  4. beerman49 says

    I like a lot of booze, especially good bourbon (my affordable fave is Maker’s Mark) & scotch; don’t give me gin unless it’s mixed with better lemon (which is hard to find, so club soda & a hefty dose of lemon juice is OK). Also like a good margarita sans salt, & will try modern cocktails that look interesting. I’m 1/2 Russian, so I always have vodka around.

    I drink wine (dry red or white) sometimes with dinner (most of it after I eat – that also holds true for beer with meals), but I’m not fond of port or sherry. Favorite non-alcoholic beverages are coffee, ginger ale, decent tea (not Lipton’s), & tap water. Like Jay, any iced tea I drink has to be unsweetened & be spiked w/a squeeze of lemon juice.

    But there’s still nothing better than a good brew!

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