Disputed question

Should beer be allowed in tins? It is a question of concern in the High Doganate just now, with some lads coming over tomorrow night. With my eye to ethnicity, I obtained some tins from the local licker store. One of the brands was Swedish: mislabelled to my mind as a bière forte. It made me think only of Archbishop Forte, the one who rewrites Synod documents. Not a happy association.

A Swedish palaeographer was among my guests. (Now the blighter has cancelled.) I’m sure he could have warned me, against anything that comes out of Vimmerby. They haven’t had monks there in centuries. On tasting I find this beverage to be soapy and oily and bland, with a shy (but not affectionate) mule-kick at the end. I had laid in several of those tins. Guess I will have to drink them myself. But I was looking forward to making the Swede drink them.

It tasted tinny, too, but this is because I began sipping it from the tin. Of course it tastes tinny, with your tongue and lips on the metal. The aluminum is lined, as I understand; it cannot taste tinny poured into a large, properly glazed, ceramic mug. (Thick white porcelain is ideal, Imperial pint size or larger.) A glass bottle, straight from a dark fridge, might be preferable for the direct imbiber, but only because glass is so chemically neutral.

Too, I can tout glass bottles because the opening at the top is small. The opening at the top of a mug is much wider. Anything that slows my beer consumption is to be commended. “Sip, taste, appreciate, swallow,” was what my papa said to do. Not: “suck and swallow.”

Now, the problem with bottles, as opposed to tins, or barrels, is light. Beer bottles are traditionally dark for a reason. The ultraviolet murders a beer, and can do so quickly. One may discover this for oneself by drinking on some tropical beach, while acquiring a sunburn. By the bottom of the glass the beer is not only warmer. It tastes different: it is “skunked.” Not by the heat but by the light, according to my (frankly inadequate) chemical understanding.

This makes tins better than bottles for the storage of beer. And barrels better than tins, if they are the right sort of barrels. But I have limited this discussion to tins.

Aluminum is light in weight, eminently recyclable, and charitable in the sense that you put the empties out in Parkdale and the rubby-dubs fetch them from the trash. I think they may get a dime for each tin, and they are lighter to carry than glass bottles. So remember: the more you drink, the more charitable you are; and tins instead of bottles show regard for the poor.

(I’m a bit vague on whether the recycle award is cancelled if you crush them.)


I see Mrs Klingon has won New Joisey and Californicata, and with the help of all her “superdelegates” has now clinched the Natted States Democrat nomination. (Did you know that she is a woman?) In view of my remarks yesterday, I feel some sort of congratulation is in order. We might think of her as the last of the old-school politicians, whose forte was lying and hypocrisy. Much worse will follow, surely. A time will come when we’ll look back on America’s Weimar period with nostalgia.

Appreciate what you have while you still have it, that’s what I say. Look not to the future, for the future is Unknown. God made it that way, to accommodate our freedom, to preserve our sanity, should we so wish.