Welcome, folks, to Cold Brood's Thirsty Thursday! On tap today: beer. Yes, the carbonated beverage made of hops, barley, and water. One of the oldest known beverages, beer has thousands of variations and derivations. It has embedded itself in the global consciousness (and unconsciousness, depending on how much you drink). It's here to stay.
In honor of football season (of which beer is a mainstay), this space will be dedicated to reviewing a new beer each week. Today, I want to spotlight a few I've tried before launching the review post next Thursday. I will also be taking suggestions as to what to sample.
Now I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer...well, just about anything. I'm not picky. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a dark stout like Guinness. Per its website, this Irish concoction may appear black but is actually a very dark shade of ruby. It sports a sharp, robust tang and is available in several varieties including Bitter, Extra Smooth, and Extra Stout. Some studies argue Guinness may be beneficial to the heart due to "antioxidant compounds" that slow cholesterol deposits on the artery walls. What's not to love? I'm sold.
If a dark stout is too harsh for your palate, consider a Black and Tan. This is a blend of a stout and a pale ale and serves to take some of the tang out of the dark beer while presenting a completely separate flavor. Two beers in one glass? Awesome. Beware, though. There is a very specific way to pour such a mixture, which involves a spoon, to ensure the beverages properly separate. Seldom do I attempt such an operation; I leave that to the professionals. Remember though: pale on bottom, stout on top. Enjoy.
Sticking with imports, I also favor beers from south of the border. Dos Equis takes top prize here, and not just because this guy drinks it. Corona with a wedge of lime is a close second. Jamaica's Red Stripe's soft taste makes it easily drinkable. And I would be remiss not to mention the only domestically produced beer in my birth country of Belize: Beliken!
Then there are the endless number of specialty beers provided by micro-breweries. Where to begin? Samuel Adams offers several seasonal and specialty beverages alongside its traditional Boston Lager. The company even designed its own glass that is said to optimize the drinking of their product.
Chicago's own Goose Island offers over twenty varieties of beer ranging from Oatmeal stout to Demolition, its Belgian strong ale. On the occasions I indulge in such a luxury, I select GI's 312 Urban Wheat Ale from a tall glass with fish and a salad. For you teetotalers, Goose Island also bottles an excellent (if pricey) soda pop line.
Usually, though, I settle for a simple domestic Pilsner from the likes of Miller Brewing Company or Anheuser-Busch. People are often viciously loyal to their brand, so it is with caution I will say my basement bar has been stocked most recently with Busch Light. Cheap and with fewer calories than its peers, I find a decent balance here. Is it zen? No. But it does the trick.
So what's your favorite beer? Let me know!
Whatever your beverage, let's raise a glass tonight. Cheers, folks. Let Thirsty Thursday commence!
 Guinness could really be good for you (BBC News). 13 November 2003.