When Vegans Go Too Far

I’ve got nothing against vegans.  Sure, their diet is unnatural and contrary to the laws of natural selection that made homo sapiens the most successful omnivores in the history of the world — but I’m a big believer in live and let live.  So long as their curious diet of bulk greenery and other assorted odds and ends doesn’t interfere with my lifestyle, I’m perfectly content to share the planet with the vegans.

But when vegans start messing with the important stuff — like the centuries-old recipe for Guinness as brewed in its home brewery since 1759 — that’s where I draw the line.

Since before the American Revolution, Guinness has been brewed using a substance caused isinglass.  What’s isinglass, you say?  It’s a gelatinous byproduct of fish bladders that provides a particularly effective means of filtering yeast particles.  It sounds disgusting, frankly, but you can’t argue with the results:  Guinness is an excellent, instantly recognizable brew, known and loved the world over.  For all we know, isinglass is the substance that allows Guinness to have that especially foamy head that you can write your name in, or it is isinglass that gives Guinness its indescribably rich texture.  But isinglass has a problem — because it is derived from fish, it’s not in conformity with a strict vegan diet.

So pushy vegans have been pestering Guinness, for years, to eliminate isinglass from the recipe, because it is inconsistent with their effete, prim dietary regimens.  Well, lah de dah!  How many vegans even drink Guinness regularly, anyway?  They seem like more of the white wine crowd, don’t they?  Unfortunately, Guinness has apparently caved to the relentless vegan pressure and has announced that it will use a new filtration plant and change the beer recipe used in its flagship brewery in Ireland.  And while the whiny vegans undoubtedly will celebrate yet another triumph for political correctness, the beer lovers among us will simply shake our heads in dismay.

As for the folks at Guinness who caved, I have only two words for you:  New Coke.

A Good Way To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Blarney Castle

Today Russell and the members of the Vassar men’s rugby team are in Cork, Ireland, where they visited Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone.  What better place to be, and what better thing to do, on St. Patrick’s Day?

We can only hope that the intrepid lads ended the day with some corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes, chased down with a few pints of Guinness and perhaps a Smithwick’s or two, to fortify them all for tomorrow’s match.

Erin Go Bragh

Russell and the Vassar rugby team are leaving today for a spring break tour of Ireland, where they will face off against a series of Irish rugby teams.

The Vassar college athletics website provides some detail on the tour.  The team will start off in Dublin, where they will play a match against Dublin City College, and then will travel to Cork for matches against Kinsale and Fermoy.

My understanding of rugby (which admittedly is sketchy) is that enjoying a frothy adult beverage is a crucial part of the experience.  While they are in Dublin, the Vassar squad will have that opportunity and be able to quaff a Guinness at the home of that legendary brew.  This is entirely appropriate, because the Vassar sports teams are called the Brewers after Matthew Vassar, who made his fortune as a brewer.  When the team visits Cork they may have the chance to visit the nearby Blarney Castle, bend over backwards, and kiss the Blarney Stone, which supposedly confers the gift of eloquence.  Even better, the team will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Cork, which has a St. Patrick’s Day Festival and lots of fine pubs to toast the man who according to legend drove the snakes from the Emerald Isle.  If their tongues aren’t loosened by the Blarney Stone, a few pints of Harp should do the trick.

Erin go bragh, by the way, is Gaelic for “Ireland until doomsday.”  For the Vassar rugby team, the day after a well-celebrated St. Patrick’s Day may well feel like doomsday.