Talking Wine – April 2015

Two Russian bears have become alcoholics after being plied with alcohol by regulars at a restaurant where they were attractions. Thanks to the work of Brigitte Bardot, however, these bears have been transferred to Romania for treatment. The effects of alcoholic withdrawal are similar in bears to humans – they have unpredictable tempers and it is taking some time to wean them off their favourite beverage which was the local beer. You will be pleased to hear that the former owners have been successfully prosecuted for cruelty.

There are some bizarre drinking laws – not least in the US – where I have come across the fact that in Alaska it is illegal to serve alcoholic beverages to a Moose. Whilst I am sure that sharing a beer with a moose is not top of your wish list there was a recent incident when a moose got so drunk on fermenting apples that he got stuck half way up a tree and had to be cut out so he could sleep off his hangover. In Ohio it is illegal to spike your fish tank with Vodka as serving fish with alcohol is banned. Only in America!!

You might think that quirky fruit flavoured beers made in Belgium or in small micro breweries are relatively modern trends. However it seems from recent evidence that high ranking cavemen drank similar brews almost 9000 years ago. They also drank an alcoholic drink fermented from dairy products and one made from pine resin but it does seem that in many cases alcohol was considered sacred and used in ritual religious ceremonies. To me (and probably you if you read this column) it is still sacred!!