Beer Allergies Can Leave You High and Dry When
You Are Limited to What an Event Offers
As I grew older I drank less at times and found that during other times I was much smarter about drinking (throwing up less) and when I put my mind to it I could consume amazing amounts of alcohol. Amazing. Amounts. During a period after there loss of a close family member I would host a weekly drinking competition – which I won and have a certificate to prove I won – but to mask a developing problem. That has passed as the loss became easier to bear, though I still have the certificate (the same one used in classrooms awarded to children for winning the math competition no less, which to me is still ironic).
Now at a young age I could drink almost any kind of beer and didn’t drink much liquor. I did develop a taste for the gin & tonic, but typically drank what everyone else was drinking, whatever beer brand we all wanted to pitch in on. Given a choice and with the help of my steady drinking buddy I would select the glorious, golden delight that is named Old English 800. Eight ball, Ol’ E. Or as I called it, “The Malted Fantasy”. Not to be cool, not to be an ironic Hipster. I wasn’t trying to be Eazy-E – I took the advice of someone who was a serious drinker, who lauded Ol’ E, and tried it.
I also drank, due to price, a lot of Keystone Light. On my 30th birthday I even pledged to drink a 30-pack of ‘stones… and didn’t fulfill that obligation. At all. But I did try. Looking around at beer drinkers though you’ll notice a love for Anheuser-Busch products. Budweiser, Bud Light – these have to be the top selling beers in America. Though, I don’t even care to double check that assertion.
As time has progressed, starting back at about age 25, I found I could no longer drink more than one Anheuser-Busch product. Sometimes before I finished a 12 oz bottle I has a splitting headache and it felt like my ears were closing up. Then there were the yummy microbrew beers. I couldn’t drink any. I even had to leave a dinner party early once after drinking half of a beer.
Hard liquor doesn’t, for the most part, have the same effect. Sadly I have developed a taste for wines as I am now a bit more mature (and have someone to enjoy them with, someone to guide me in selections) and I can’t enjoy them either most of the time.
The first solution was to not drink. At my age, in my part of town and trying to be social this is almost impossible. Even in my previous job we couldn’t celebrate a success without tossing back a few (well, it was either drink or eat a ton of expensive and trendy food). The magical solution that I discovered later was Miller Light. I have had other Miller-Coors beers, and have had no adverse reactions, but I will typically avoid them on taste alone.
Miller Light has become a staple for me. Not that I’m drinking all the time, because I’d rather not, but if I want a single beer before bed after a long day or am looking for something that goes with a meal (who can not drink a beer while eating my own BBQ chicken? It deserves a pairing) I buy and reach for one thing… Miller Light.
Now, before you think my intent here is to laud Miller and put down the other brands I should be clear. I wish I had a choice. Some festivals only sell Bud. Some stadiums make you walk a half mile around to find something other than the beer that sponsors the team. At some parties where the beer has been purchased for the guests in advance – your favorite type of party, don’t lie – there is no real choice for me in sight. I find it common too that Anheuser-Busch has locked bars into exclusivity contracts and you can only get their beers out of the tap.
Sometimes you just have to suffer.
No. Beer. For. You.
And wine? Forget about it. Someone wants you to try a glass of expensive wine made in 1941, which the Nazi’s stole most of and there are only five bottles remaining? Endure the soulcrushing headache to come or turn it down.
Though, I may have found a solution.
There are a few things you can be allergic to in regards to liquors. It can be mold as a byproduct of the yeast used in fermentation. Anheuser-Busch beers are high in the byproduct and changing the formula would change the taste – fair enough, the majority of Bud drinkers might revolt. With wine it could be the sulphites – though this doesn’t seem to be my issue, per the above description. And there are other issues, such as wheat or gluten allergies, but you’d know if that was the case.
Now … I should have started by saying I’m not a doctor and I don’t intend here to give any sort of medical advice. And this is, of course, a medical problem in nature. So run this by your doctor first or do your own homework. But if you are like me and find that most beers and wines are off the menu – try an allergy drug (OMG other than benedryl!) to curb the issue. I have tried the over the counter Claritin (Walmart brand, which, scares me because I had no idea Walmart had a drug company division). Claritin didn’t work. Last night I tried it for the first time and I woke up 4 hours into sleeping with the most horrendous headache and stuffed up nose. And I didn’t drink that much at all.
What has always worked well for me though, which I recently discovered and used to drink a half bottle of wine after a night of wine tastings, was Zyrtec. It did require me to take it again as a headache began to develop again later in the evening, but I was golden. I didn’t wake up crying for my mother because of intense pain. Which is always good.
Go ask your doctor, look it up, and let me know in the comments if it works for you or if I’m going to die because of it… whatever. Seems that this is something that bothers a lot of people and it would be nice to hear about ways to beat it other than abstinence. Because abstinence is boring.