Occasionally, my late grandfather drank an ice-cold Miller Lite after mowing his yard on a humid Memphis day. He’d pour it into a mug and tap in a bit of salt. He had quit any social drinking decades earlier, but that cold beer spelled refreshment to him.
Refreshment has never been my only reason for drinking beer. Which is probably why the appeal of non-alcoholic beer has puzzled me, especially at the same price as a regular beer. Beer commands the price it does in part because of the functionality of alcohol. For refreshment, I’ll take a sports drink, or a soda. That’s why I wrote in this column last year that I am a non-alcoholic beer skeptic. I write today to tell you that I am becoming a believer — with a caveat.