Bacon Beer

February 4, 2010

Many years ago, I invited  my friend Khalid to Christmas dinner. He was a strikingly handsome hairdresser with a large following of local ladies, all of them googly over his big brown physique and his storied life.


Before he learned to create the perfect asymmetrical bob, he was a soldier in the Iraqi Republican Guard, but he and several members of his unit defected to the Americans during the first Gulf war. After the Americans left, he spent five years in a squalid prison camp in the Saudi Arabian desert, where an old man taught him the basics of barbering. Eventually, after a complex series of diplomatic discussion, he was “paroled” … to Canada. He landed in Montreal in a faded robe, barefoot, emaciated, and decided he would do what most toughened, tortured renegade Iraqi sons of Saddam would do: go to hairdressing school.

Which he did, and became a bit of a hair superstar. Anyway, that Christmas night, I watched in amazement as he experienced his first Christmas. He ate almost an entire ham, drank 12 bottles of Red Maple beer and helped us polish off a couple of bottles of champagne, singing carols the whole time.

Me at the time

In the small hours of Christmas morning, he smiled at me, clapped his hand on my shoulder, and spoke. “It has suddenly become clear to me,” he slurred, flecks of smoked ham clinging to his neatly groomed goatee, “that I am a very, very bad Muslim.”

“What does that make me?” I slurred back.

“You get a free pass, because you’re Canadian,” he said. “Bacon doesn’t count.”

I haven’t seen that guy in five years. But I thought of him tonight when I saw this bacon-flavoured beer making the rounds of the Internet sites I visit for my official news research. It isn’t the first bacon beer — we’ve been making our own for generations, and it ain’t that hard — but this is a bit more highbrow.

I hear Khalid’s down in Kitchener now. I’m going to order a case of this and surprise him at his salon. Let’s see just how bad this bad Muslim can be … If you’re drinking bacon-flavoured beer, you also need a touque, a Stompin’ Tom record and a game of street hockey after last call.


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