Budweiser Wins Maine Beer Contest
David Geary must be crying in his beer.
Alan Pugsley must be inconsolable.
Rob Tod must have that deer-in-the-headlights look that precedes disaster.
That’s because Geary, Pugsley, and Tod, three of Maine’s best brewers, have been beaten soundly in a beer-tasting competition.
I wish I could report different results, but this contest appears to be fair and above board in every aspect. The judges could not possibly have been influenced by advertising, bribes, or promises of sexual favors.
That’s because the judges were garden slugs.
Kathryn Olmstead, a columnist for the Bangor Daily News, recently conducted an experiment to see which brand of beer the slugs in her garden preferred.
The results: Bud by a slimy mile.
According to Olmstead, when she placed trays of various brands among her plants, she caught twice as many of the little pests with the King of Beers as with Corona or Molson. The creatures utterly rejected Rolling Rock, Guinness, and Moosehead – even though it was free – and were indifferent to a mixture of stout and ale.
Olmstead doesn’t seem to be much of a beer drinker. The Corona she used was left over from a party she had in May, and she was reluctant to return to the same store within a week to buy another six pack of Molson for fear the clerk would think she was a lush, rather than some nut who feeds all her beer to slugs. Also, she didn’t actually test any Maine beers or other microbrews. But I’m not letting that fact stand in the way of my unsupported conclusion that Anheuser Busch’s flagship product would have dominated, anyway.
Slugs know what they like, and they like weak, thin American light lager that’s been run through the urinary tract of a Clydesdale.
“It’s like water,” said one slug, “only not so tasty … and we die if we drink it.”
I suppose Maine brewers can attempt to mitigate the damage this has done to their reputations by pointing out that their annual marketing budgets, which combined total less than Bud spends in a couple of hours, have never been targeted at the slug market. No thirty-second spots on MTV. No product placements in “Jackass” movies. No reports of Lindsay Lohan getting hammered at Gritty McDuff’s and punching out a cop.
The little guys just can’t compete with that kind of publicity, which is crucial in attracting slugs, who are known to be notoriously youth-oriented.
Another important but often overlooked factor in beverage selection is whether whatever you happen to be drinking contains cryptosporidium organisms. And what, you may well ask, is cryptosporidium? I’m glad you did ask, because I’m eager to tell you that according to the Bangor Daily News, it’s a “parasitic coccidian protozoan found in the intestinal tract of many vertebrates, where it can sometimes cause diseases.”
Or to put it more simply, it’s gunk that gets in the water supply when moose and bears poop in rivers and streams.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has required since 2006 that public drinking water supplies be protected against turd pollution. There are two ways to do this: constant testing or the installation of ultraviolet reactors that cost more than a lifetime supply of Budweiser.
The Bangor Water District recently decided to spend $3.8 million to install two of these units, even though there’s never been a single cryptosporidium found in its system. The district decided that purchasing the gear was cheaper than testing or putting out little trays of beer to kill the buggers.
It will take more than a tiny dish of beer – even if it is Budweiser – to deal with another potential liquid-based threat:
Great white sharks.
According to Maine Sunday Telegram columnist Deirdre Fleming, it’s only a matter of time before the theme music to “Jaws” is playing on every beach in the state. Great whites have been sighted just south of Boston, caught in weekend traffic near Cape Cod. Once tourist season is over, they’re expected to travel north to the Gulf of Maine to sample their favorite delicacy: cryptosporidium marinated in Budweiser.
Also, seals. GWSs love seal steaks, and there are currently an estimated 30,000 steak-containing seals lounging around on Maine’s rockbound coast. Once the sharks finish them off, it’s on to swimmers, fishermen, and police chiefs.
Can this disaster be prevented?
According to experts: No, we’re all doomed.
Oops, sorry, wrong experts. Those are the ones advising the EPA of cryptosporidium.
The shark experts are more optimistic. They say the fish can be diverted from their bloody mission of devastation by floating giant offshore pans filled with thousands of gallons of beer. But the experts also say sharks are a far more sophisticated form of life than slugs, and we’re not going to be able to fool them with unpalatable offerings like Bud. Either we ante up for fine craft ales or we’re dinner.
Before we all expire (hey, I’m not giving up my Peeper Ale to some ravenous sea creature even if my selfishness means the extinction of the human race), there’s some good news and, as is so often the case, some related bad news.
The good news: “Tracing the Fore,” the hideous alleged sculpture in Portland’s Boothby Square, has been sold and will soon be removed.
The bad news: The spiky construction that earned the square the nickname of “Razorblade Park” is staying in the city, possibly as part of a new private sculpture park.
The thing was sold recently to a land developer for a mere $100, somewhat less than the $135,000 Portland paid for it six years ago. In addition to the sale price, the new owner will also have to pay for restoring the site to city specifications (no slugs) and installing the piece on land it owns in North Deering, where it’ll be used to repel great white shark attacks.
Even those fearsome creatures are said to be afraid of it.
Al Diamon has now finished his work for the day and will celebrate with a slug (heh, heh) of his favorite beer: free. If you’d like to pick up his bar tab (hey, what else are you going to do with your money before the sharks or the cryptosporidium get you?), email firstname.lastname@example.org.