by Ralph Routon
Sometimes the Winter Olympics can come close to filling a 24-hour day, but occasionally there's a chance for the working journalist to check out the host city's favorite beverages in between the figure skating, hockey and luge.
Here in Vancouver, that could mean tasting any number of red and white wines from British Columbia, and because of the consistently cool, damp climate, you can find plenty of decent quality choices in the range of $15 to $20 a bottle.
But for those on a tighter budget (in other words, many of us in the media), the first impulse was to discover some good, local-made beer. So far, I've found two: Kokanee, a very smooth pilsener brewed in British Columbia, and Granville Island Lager, a local product. Given the choice, I'd take Kokanee first, and it's much better than some of the more familiar Canadian beers that make it down to Colorado. It's also 5.5 percent alcohol, more than a lot of beers back in the States.
So I venture to a nearby liquor store, thinking the beer would have to be inexpensive. I see Kokanee, Granville Island Lager and more, but the prices seem strange, anywhere from $10 to $20 and more. Hard to figure if it's a case price, a 12-pack or what. But all I need is just one six-pack, so I grab the Granville Island Lager.
The cashier rings it up, and there it is: $11.95 !!!! For a freakin' six-pack, and though you see bottles here, I was just getting cans.
I've never paid $11.95 for a six-pack of anything, not even from bootleggers in Arkansas. But I shelled out the money, and the beer really is good. You just don't drink nearly as much, or as fast, at $11.95 a six-pack.
So what was the cheapest beer in that store, at about half that price? Coors Light, of course.