The “Why Does This Exist” File

Riding the bus into Montreal, I gleefully read all the French billboards to myself and only once did I turn to read the back of one, as if I would find English there, like on a box of Shreddies. One billboard advertised Coors Edge – seemingly the cold beverage choice for straight-edge, middle-aged folk.

I am generally, casually in the market for booze-passing, non-alcoholic drinks. I often prefer not to drink but I still like engaging in the behaviours – cracking open a cold one; gesturing dramatically, glass in hand while telling a story; sipping from my glass thoughtfully, while actually scrambling for a witty reply. Beyond the desire to “act” like I’m drinking, I find it’s easier to drink beverages that pass in public as being alcoholic. It stresses people out when you sometimes drink, and sometimes don’t. So, my first day in Quebec, I found a Coors Edge and tried it.

It was pretty terrible.

And what was I expecting? I drink coffee stouts and milkshake IPAs and craft beer that ingeniously incorporates, I don’t know, Christmas trees and maple fudge. I don’t drink Coors so why did I think taking the alcohol out would make it better?

It tasted like a combination of stale soda water and unmet yearnings. It tasted like kissing someone who drank a crappy beer hours ago. It tasted like how watching someone play Scrabble and not being allowed to help feels.

And it really made me want a real beer. So I’m filing it under “Why does this exist?”

Of note in the same file is instant decaf. Why does this exist? Who needs their cuppa nothing RIGHT NOW? I can understand instant coffee in general, I guess – stores well, contains caffeine, easily prepared. You get your morning hit albeit with not even a modicum of pleasure.

And decaf real coffee, well-brewed, has the lovely flavour notes and late-night social grace without the all-night jitters. It serves a purpose.

But instant decaf? It’s just a sad, sad cup jonesing for meaning and worth.

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