The Beerphifany of St Carlsberg

I like to drink beer. It’s good. But as I get older I am finding my tolerance for hangovers is decreasing. They seem worse and I seem less able to deal with them. At 25 a hangover was a morning of discomfort but now, at 35, it has the additional "bonus afternoon of malaise".

I drink export lager that is 5% alcohol. The thought of drinking “gay beer”, that wallows in shame at the 3.5% mark, has always filled me with horror. It is a short sip from gay beer to shandy, and from shandy you can see the bitter horizon of failure.

But here is my dilemma. I don’t want a day taken out by the 5%. It’s just not worth it any more. So last night, I went out and I didn’t drink the export larger (well, I had one “starter pint”). I drank 3.5% (normal) larger. And whilst imbibing this lifeless urine of the hop, I had a realisation:

5% beer is nearly 50% more alcoholic than 3.5% beer.

Export larger is essentially a different drink to normal lager, in the same way, and proportion, as sherry is to wine.

I don’t have a hangover today. I feel good. I have exercised and the day is full of things to embrace. But in my heart, I know things changed last night.