Caffeine + alcohol + teenage hormones = 911
If that sounds like the bull-shittery of a D.A.R.E. lesson, uh-uh, watch the news headlines that the “blackout in a can,” beverage Four Loko, which we’ve never tried, has college kids passing out naked together mid-grope at parties in their front lawns, unconscious in cars, getting found by cops in these various states of compromised fuck-up-edness, and ultimately sent tripping to the emergency room with their hearts beating out of their chests. The timeless tradition of uppers plus downers made more convenient. Speedy coma. Sleepy foam party. Forget the ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ maxim. It’s all, ‘rock-out, throw up, pass-out.’
If there’s one bit of advice we would give today’s youth about this nasty shit, it’d be this: Ditch the cranberry-lemonade flavor, kids! We say either go hard – snort an 8-ball with a smack chaser – or go classy – take your booze with coffee!
Whereas Europeans have been mixing their drugs for centuries to great effect (wine + cognac + espresso = dinner), we Americans have trouble getting the equation just right. So we can sympathize. It took us a while to figure out how to combine uppers and downers too. And most of our own experiments were also in dorm rooms. Lab trials like replacing water in a hooka pipe with peppermint shnapps (side effects: light headedness and coughing fits), or bringing tallboys of peach corn syrup-flavored Arizona Ice Tea spiked with vodka to classes (headaches, dizziness, ill-advised hand-raising to professors’ questions).
But currently, there’s nothing we’d rather pass out with our pants off to than the beer aptly called Stimulus, a coffee-infused Belgian-pale-pretty crafted by our local Eagle Rock Brewery. Bucking the trend that says coffee-tinged malt must be a stout, porter or other cocoa-colored “dark” beer, this is less predictable and far more cerebrally exciting.
The amber wavvy brew is all Tuscan-sun gold with a crisp cumulous-white lacing. Served in a real pint, it’s a beautiful thing – a venti latte of malted grain booze head-rush cool-down. Stimulus tastes on your tongue the way it feels to snake a coveted sidewalk spot at your busy coffee shop, with a tasty, white-ceramic and lemon-garnished shot of foamy espresso in your hands, on a sunny 75-degree Saturday. It starts off numby on your gums and smells more like fresh milk than coffee. Wafts of sweet grassy hops help mask the bitter brown bean-cream, in this case the roast comes from a certain Chicago mob of barista-nistas, not our favorite, but a strong, oily and soily bean to be sure. Halfway through though, all we taste is the sweet sweet caffeine.
Have two, have three. Take your pants off. Turn the lights out, you’ll be fine.
Dairy Pairy: Petit Mothais, a musty Loire Valley hockey puck
Soundtrack: Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”