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Belgium schoolchildren
June 28, 2001 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Belgium schoolchildren give up lunchtime milk, pop, and fruit drinks for low-alcohol beer. Once I got over my "American sensibilities" this seems like a good idea.
posted by skallas (29 comments total)

 
Belgian?
posted by eau at 9:15 AM on June 28, 2001


What of the brain cells? Doesn't alcohol kill them? At such a young age that doesn't sound too good of an idea.

But then the good almost outweighs the bad, one, yes, pop and juice isn't very good for you at all. Alcohol not being "taboo" anymore won't get kids to want to try everything all at one time and let them by more mature of such things.

All I know is this will never happen in The United States of "We Fear God" America.

Hmm.. or.. "How could people that have waffles named after them be wrong?"
posted by tiaka at 9:19 AM on June 28, 2001


If you look at the history of brewing especially in Belgium, it makes a kind of sense: the weak beer that the monks drank with meals was generally purer and healthier than the local water. (Indeed, Busch beer is regarded as safer than tapwater and cheaper than bottled water in places like DC.)
posted by holgate at 9:25 AM on June 28, 2001


I didn't think this was a good idea when I read the article.

After I tried a bottle of the low-alcohol beer described, I still had my doubts.

After five more bottles, though, I haavess ot sayy. . this seoudz lik a frinkinig greate IDEA11! wooooo . . .
posted by lawtalkinguy at 9:37 AM on June 28, 2001


What of the brain cells? Doesn't alcohol kill them? At such a young age that doesn't sound too good of an idea.

I think that's a misconception: If you drink x amount y cells die instantly. The brain damage noticed in old alcoholics is more likely a combination of years of heavy drinking, organ damage, and aging.
posted by skallas at 9:42 AM on June 28, 2001


The brain damage noticed in old alcoholics is more likely a combination of years of heavy drinking, organ damage, and aging.

In addition, some damage is due to thiamine deficiency.
posted by iceberg273 at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2001


I want to move to Belgium.
posted by themikeb at 10:29 AM on June 28, 2001


After five more bottles, though, I haavess ot sayy. . this seoudz lik a frinkinig greate IDEA11! wooooo . . .

That's a great point. Some kids might get a little buzz, like it, and carry on knocking back those lunchtime beers. These would be the kids who are alkies in the making.
posted by caraig at 10:49 AM on June 28, 2001


Indeed, Busch beer is regarded as safer than tapwater and cheaper than bottled water in places like DC.

Oh, please.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:17 AM on June 28, 2001


"He dismissed the idea that pupils may become too intoxicated to concentrate on their studies. (You'd have to drink five or six litres of the stuff to get drunk and these will just be 25cl or 33cl bottles.)"

That would be approximately 20 bottles...burp...
posted by samsara at 11:18 AM on June 28, 2001


I could give this plan a benefit of the doubt if it was not sponsored by a beer club and it was not aimed at children under 10. I figure 10 is a good age to start throwin them back. Start off easy and then give them 40s of malt liquor. That is a 3 course meal in itself.
posted by Stretch at 11:22 AM on June 28, 2001


Thanks, Stretch. Wasn't it recently on MetaFilter that we were decrying marketing in schools, McDonald's giving mandatory assemblies and the sale of exclusive rights to Pepsi and/or Coke? This is no different, this beer promoting group has gotten the right to market in schools. That should be worrisome, no matter the product.
posted by Dreama at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2001


--"Beer is for the whole family," its chairman, Rony Langenaeken, said. "And this scheme will be for children between the ages of three and 15." --

Screw that. I say start 'em off on Southern Comfort. or Jasco. Then they can work their way up to Chimay.

Seriously though, Dreama has a very good point.

OK, now who has the punch line: Why is American beer like sex in a canoe?
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:05 PM on June 28, 2001


It's fucking close to water.

or- because the oars keep jamming you in the ribs.
What?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:08 PM on June 28, 2001


I figure 10 is a good age to start throwin them back.

I wonder at what age do kids get exposed to alcohol in Belgium? It has to be at a very, very young age for this to be seemingly so accepted. I mean the guy is quoted as wanting to give beer to three year olds.

As far as Dreama's product placement fears go, I don't see it. Obviously its one thing to introduce only, say Schmidt's Gay, and another to promote a type of beverage. I don't see how you can actually market without a name brand.
posted by skallas at 12:13 PM on June 28, 2001


...because beer is an industry in belgium...

and beer in europe is different than beer in america, because americans, loving what the love, add sugar to their beer, which is what causes the 'beer belly' that is often seen of americans who drink.
posted by benjh at 12:28 PM on June 28, 2001


So the choice is between milk/soda and beer? Seems this is a false dilemma. Aren't there other liquids kids can drink at school that are healthier than milk, soda or beer? If, in fact, health concerns are behind all this?

Water comes to mind.
posted by bilco at 12:40 PM on June 28, 2001


Americans do not add sugar to their beer. Where'd you get that idea? Unless you're talking about malt sugar, which is a basic component of all beer.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:17 PM on June 28, 2001


This is an interesting development. While kids have, legally, been drinking low alcohol beer in the UK for ages (shandy), this is the first time I've seen an official body praise it. I'd hardly say this is a good idea though.. the taste of beer is vile, and getting kids used to it probably isn't the way to go.
posted by wackybrit at 1:52 PM on June 28, 2001


Sometimes a belgian beer requires that you add rock candy sugar to the brew but it translates to high alcohol content after fermenting. Actually, I'll be bottling exactly that this weekend. Perhaps I should negotiate a deal with my local school board, of course it's going to be about 7% alcohol so that might be a problem...
posted by mblandi at 1:54 PM on June 28, 2001


I love the web. Where else could you find a detailed discussion about the cause of beer bellies like this?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:55 PM on June 28, 2001


Why rock candy? Isn't rock candy the same as cane sugar, just in larger crystals? A curious fellow zymurgist wants to know...
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:02 PM on June 28, 2001


Zymurgists everywhere! Relax, don't worry....

I've never seen a Belgian that required rock candy. If it did, I'd suspect for body after ferment, not for increased fermentables, because it'd get cidery.
posted by UncleFes at 2:23 PM on June 28, 2001


I'm just a novice, but from what I've read the point of the sugar is to be fermented to add alcohol content without making the body heavy. The recipe I used adds the sugar before fermentation. I bet it will be somewhat cidery, and I think that's the threshold you're trying not to cross with it. The "tripel" style seems to require a lot of sugar.

I found a couple of discussions where the idea of why rock candy? came up suggesting that rock candy is more pure due to the crystallization process, but some admitted that it's really just fun sugar and you could just as well use corn syrup. It is fun trying to dissolve the rocks though.
posted by mblandi at 2:36 PM on June 28, 2001


The recipe I used adds the sugar before fermentation.

Huh, well there you go. I never use sugar, save for corn for conditioning. If I'm looking to increase alcohol without wrecking taste, I use rice extract. It lightens the color, too. But I've never brewed a Belgian, either - hefeweizens are more to my taste.
posted by UncleFes at 2:44 PM on June 28, 2001


In Brazil they have a similar idea, coffee for 5 year olds.

Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom, can I go out? Huh? Huh? Huh?
posted by the_ill_gino at 2:49 PM on June 28, 2001


not if they chase it with brazilian beer. both taste great.
posted by elle at 3:35 PM on June 28, 2001


In Brazil they have a similar idea, coffee for 5 year olds.

Coffee markets and caffiene are just so quiant and old-fashioned compared to the U.S.'s Ritalin abuse.
posted by skallas at 4:05 PM on June 28, 2001


Almost 80% of children who took part in the pilot scheme in Belgium's Limburg province said they had enjoyed having beer instead of a soft drink.

In other news, over 20% of students had their books dumped and were crammed into school lockers.
posted by jpoulos at 5:26 PM on June 28, 2001


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