People ask me about this column pretty regularly.
“Hey man, we have beer, but we don’t have any 40s. Sorry, I know that’s kind of your, like, forte and all.”
“I’ll drink anything,” I respond — and drink the beer.
“’40 oz. to Freedom,’ so what is it? Like, is it some sort of anti-conformist column with a beer theme?”
“I hope you’re not serious,” I say, dumbfounded.
But it you must know, for those who are Sublime-illiterate, I happened to be listening to the song “40 oz. to Freedom” when my boss was pressing me to come up with a name for the column. It fit perfectly into that little black box and the rest was history – aside from the fact it’s an amazing song and an even better album.
But the best question was thrown my way earlier this week.
“Why haven’t you written about 40s yet? I mean, it’s your goddamned name.”
Good point, this one’s for you.
When we’re talkin’ 40s here, I’m thinking about malt liquor. You can get Budweiser in 40-ounce bottles, but it just doesn’t have the same intangibles that malt liquor has. So just to get the boring, informative shit out of the way, malt liquor ain’t beer, boys and girls. The alcohol content is higher and brewed in a completely different manner. Typically the weaker malt liquor starts off around 5.5 percent, a shade over Natty Ice, and can get as high as the 8.8 percent range.
The more potent beverages — like Steel Reserve, for example — use large quantities of “fusel alcohol,” which gives off an aroma more reminiscent of Chevron than beer. In a nutshell, there are no hops — otherwise known as the “Spice of Beer,” on Budweiser cans — less ingredients and less fermentable sugar. Add that with a lot of alcohol and you get a cheap, shitty, amber brew that will put you on your back before you know it.
Forties are a totally untapped resource in I.V. One would think with so many business econ majors running amok, someone would realize that you get way better bang for your buck when you drink the 40-ounce bottle of bliss. Two 40s of steel reserve will set you back about five bucks when factoring in CRV. Keep in mind the higher alcohol content and two 40s will rival drinking 10 of their canned counterparts. Considering a 12-pack of Budweiser will cost you about 11 bucks, you pay half the price for malt liquor. You can get tanked for three nights straight for the same price it would cost you to get drunk once off of Guinness. Brilliant.
The benefits of 40s prevail far beyond just their frugality. You don’t fuck with a man holding a 40. Your street cred is instantly multiplied when you are wielding a 40 of St. Ides — Tupac’s beverage of choice, I might add.
You are saving the environment when you drink a 40. Not everyone has the ideal recycling habits that we Isla Vistans have. Putting roughly 3 1/3 cans of beer into one bottle is practically saving the world. You’d be stupid not to do it.
Forties also build tolerance, lightweights. When you drink a 40, it’s like racing against the laws of science. From the second you remove it from its icy companions in the beerhold — or as you sophisticated people call it, a refrigerator — it’s a race between the beer cooling down and your body consuming it. Because if you can’t finish before it warms, you either have to drink warm urine or leave a wounded soldier. And an unfinished beer will leave you with a swift kick in the jewels — or whatever organ you brandish downstairs.
It’s time for 40s to make their comeback.
The answer’s at the liquor store. Take that walk.
Join Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Sean Swaby in boycotting kegs this weekend.