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Your Weekend Drinking Instructions Rounden the Ball

Well, just for a week.

Ilya S. Savenok

It's basketball season! (sort of).

Michigan opens today against the vaunted Chargers of Hillsdale in Ann Arbor, but the nonconference schedule gets exciting real quick. Onions all around! And yes, I had to look up their nickname.

I hear it's pretty cold in the States right now - which means it's a perfect time for dark beer and pondering the infinite void that is Michigan football. Mercifully, they've chosen to take their break off the field this week instead of on it, bringing us seven full days of sweet, sweet release. Unfortunately, I'm in the Caribbean, and my dark beer selection is limited to Corona Heavy instead of Corona, with one exception:

Guinness Foreign Extra. Now this is a dark beer. Back when the Brits ruled the world and colonized India, they were having trouble getting beer over there - because it is a long-ass boat ride from Southampton to India. Instead of just brewing beer over there, they figured out a way to get it to keep more - adding more hops and increasing the alcohol content of their good ol' ales, resulting in - ready for it - the India Pale Ale.

The Irish took the same approach with their West India Porter - now Foreign Extra - and gassed up their famous stout by about 3% and added some more hops. Unlike regular Guinness, which has a barely alcoholic tinge to it, this stuff kicks you in the mouth at 7.5%. It was originally shipped by the keg to the Indies, then bottled locally to save costs, but now there's an entire operation in Georgetown, Guyana, that exports all over the Western Hemisphere. Check your bottles to see if you've got a St. James' Gate one or a Guyana one. You won't be able to tell the difference, but it's kind of a cool tidbit to know.

Onto the beer itself. I've seen it in four-packs and big bottles in the States, and you can usually get it for pretty cheap. It's great because it has more of a bite and is a little less creamy than their famous stout - tastes to me more like a drunken porter, which I'm just fine with. Not sure why I've been drinking it in tropical heat and 100% humidity, but I'm kind of a doofus sometimes. I think it's because it was marketed as a recovery drink for athletes, and I'm sweating like an Olympian down here.

So while I'm all warm and cozy and you're not, let's drink the same beer while we wait for the inevitable decline of the oblongball team - for now, enjoy some good basketball and grab a Guinness (foreign extra).

Until next week, Michigan Faithful, cheers!