Cuban Heavy Metal, Blackouts and Beer: The Best Drink Reads of the Week

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a weekly installment where we share our favorite longreads on all things drinks and nightlife.

beer sign miller light

This week, we learned that beer-loving America can only claim ownership to three original beer styles, pondered the science behind blackouts, discovered that Cuba’s state-supported music scene is ruled by a decidedly anti-authority genre, and more.

The Restaurant World’s Identity Theft Problem
Head down to Sixth and Alvarado in downtown LA, and you can buy yourself a whole new life.  In an eye-opening confessional on Munchies, one restaurant owner divulges the rampant practice of identity theft among employees of the city’s bar and restaurant scene. A single restaurant worker can go through a handful of different names (and social security numbers) per year—and nobody seems to care. All in the name of the American Dream. [Munchies]

The Beers That America Built
Food Republic investigates the origins of the beer types invented in the U.S.: light beer, cream ale and steam beer. Yes—despite the dizzying array of craft and large-scale beers produced in beer-loving America, we can only claim full responsibility for three of them. This is their story. [The Food Republic]

The Irony of State-Sanctioned Heavy Metal in Cuba
The glamorized image of Cuba’s nightlife may be all Habanera and salsa clubs, but, in reality, Cuban metal heads and punks are thriving—largely thanks to the country’s state-supported heavy metal scene. Gothamist delves into the history of how a genre so reliant on anti-authority attitudes became a part of the Ministry of Culture’s repertoire, and pulls back the curtain on Cuba’s alternative nightlife. [Gothamist]

The Unexplored Phenomenon of… Blacking Out
Some hard facts: In one Duke study, 51 percent of students who had ever consumed a drink reported having experienced at least one blackout; women are more prone to blackouts; and the faster you get drunk, the more likely you are to black out. Beyond this, however, how often and how exactly most people experience what is commonly known as “blacking out”  is largely a mystery. Sarah Hepola’s new memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, takes a deep dive into this the little-studied phenomenon. [The Atlantic]

Some Whisky With Your Tea?
Mixing together tea and whisky is common practice in China, so why hasn’t it become popular in other parts of the world? Similarities in flavors between the two beverages—smokiness, malt and tropical fruit—lend the combination natural synergy, while tea helps “soften” the whisky. [Wall Street Journal]

The Case Against Beer Sampling
Would you ask for a sample of a cocktail before you ordered one at a bar? How about a taste of a single buffalo wing? Aaron Goldfarb wonders why customers expect beer—especially fine craft brews that go for upwards of $11 per glass—to be treated differently, and makes a case for an anti-sampling revolution. [Esquire]

[Lead image via Flickr/Jeff Kubina]