I’m going to start this blog off by ruining the twist in the film the Usual Suspect. If memory serves me correctly the film ends with Kevin Spacey’s character being revealed as ‘the man behind the curtain’. As he lights his cigarette to have a triumphant smoke Spacey’s voice-over informs us that ‘the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. This led me to start thinking about the thing which everyone knows about but no one really mentions in the beer world. There is an elephant in the room so colossal that it astounds me that it is only spoken about in hushed whispers. There seems to be a fear that mentioning the thing by name will cause it to strike them down in the middle of the night, as if by naming it you are somehow giving it power. But I believe the opposite, it is only through naming it, by shouting its name into the abyss – shoulder to shoulder, together – that we will illuminate this demon and destroy it!
“Beer Shits” I name thee! Yes, beer shits, they bring even the mightiest of us low, they are the pain to our beery pleasure, the Robin to our Batman, the Gollum to our Samwise, the Yin and the Yang. The Beer Shits are truly indiscriminate, everyone suffers from its foul acidic smelling, tar like grasp, but no one ever mentions it, perhaps from embarrassment. The UK government is currently looking at the possibility of adding health warnings to alcohol but I guarantee that they’ll be no health warning that states “This beverage, if consumed excessively, will give you the shits the likes of which you have never experienced. The toilet bowl will look like the scene of a massacre; the acidic smell will make your eyes water and strip the wallpaper off the wall next door. Your relatives will hate you”.
Now I’ve noticed that since diving into the world of Craft Beer, the affiliation has become worse. No longer do I get struck down after a lot of beers, now, thanks to craft, it can be after only a few bottles. So why is this, why does good beer leave the door unlocked and the welcome light on so readily for the old watery foe? Well I actually, but not surprisingly, have a few theories which I will now reveal.
Devine Retribution – Because really good beer is by its definition really good and enjoyable it must be therefore bad for a spiritual soul. If it’s enjoyable to the body then it will be bad for the soul. So perhaps beer shits are divine punishment?
Conspiracy – Perhaps the mass producing beer breweries are using a form of physic osmosis to affect our very stomachs to cause a mass purge of all the crafty goodness.
Science – Now this is the most likely solution. Craft beer is generally stronger than your average run of the mill mass produced swill. So could it be that the increased alcohol level has an adverse effect on the gut? Well alcohol is a poison so it would make sense that the body would want to get rid of any it couldn’t purge itself. However, other higher alcoholic drinks don’t have the explosive effect as beer, so I theories that it can’t be purely down to alcohol content. So what else could cause this super-volcano reaction? I personally believe that the reason we buy and drink craft, for the taste, is the reason behind the beer shits. To get the beer tasting fantastic the beer magicians generally known as brewers use a hell of a lot fresh ingredients, barley, malts, yeast and hops. Fibre, if I remember correctly helps with digestion so getting too much of that in several liquid hits through the barley and the malts in the beer can only act to supercharge your stomach. Your stomach also contains bacteria which breaks down your food into useful bits and the waste. I’m no expert but surely adding several different types of live yeast from different beer would send your native stomach bacteria – coupled with all the fibre – into a confused overdrive with the end product being a blow-out of biblical proportions! KA BOOM!
Now I might be totally wrong, as it was a long time since I completed my GCSE Science, and even if I am right this knowledge will give you no comfort the next time you’re glued to your toilet, weeping, as your innards are pushed, forcibly, noisily, and stinkly, out your bottom. I’ve made the first step to expose this unspoken evil… so will you continue the good fight and join me in fighting this common enema?!