1 week/$100 (Day 7)

The Challenge?

Had a great sleep. That couch is wicked! Walked along the boardwalk last night with roomies JP, J and K, then headed to Wollies for some groceries. Got back to the flat around 10:30PM to find a group of pretty looking lads in the living room who work with JP. Went with them to a night club with free entry. Had an awesome time. Dime spent: nil. Snoozed.

***

Booked my flight to Melbourne for $35 with JetStar. It flies out at 10PM… for that price I don’t mind. Just need to find somewhere to couch-surf. Mom emailed me asking if the plane’s safe to fly with because the price was soo cheap. Told her the aircraft was made of the finest quality Twizzlers and cream cheese frosting. She was assured.

Also remembered I have family in Melbourne! Gonna ask my mom to email me their address and contact info. Give them a shout when I get there and see what happens. Would be awesome considering I know absolutely nothing about my grandfather and his side of the family.

***

10AM. There’s been a Street Football Festival going on in the harbour for at least a week… a floating soccer field on the harbour! Pretty sweet. It’s part of an Australia-wide charity event that goes toward helping the homeless and disadvantaged through a community magazine called ‘The Big Issue.’

Gonna meet the ladies this evening for a little soccer in the park. Can’t wait.

***

Just got back from hanging out with my friend R. We just sat on a deserted beach (Curl Curl) and ate Bounty Chocolate Bars, gummy snakes and Turkish Delights. Lovely. May be seeing each other in a couple days (before I leave) depending on our schedules. We’ll see. I want a burger.

***

Dang that burger was delicious (Summer Sunset burger from Grill’d). The cute Manager at Grill’d was working today. Dinner AND entertainment. I am a happy camper.

***

Met the ladies in Erskinville for a little kick about. Felt awesome to run a little and let out some sweat. The field was also a hell of a lot better than playing in Sydney’s Tech Park. Great time with old friends.

Time to head home for some Chai. Looks like I blew the $100, right? Final thoughts on this week to come… stay tuned. 🙂

Track of the Day:

ILLY feat. OLIVER DAYSOUL– The Chase

Coin:

Burger (Grill’d)- $12

Groceries (water, peas)- $2.73

TODAY’S TOTAL: $14.73

WEEK’S GRAND TOTAL: $147.61

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1 week/$100 (Day 6)

The Challenge?

Just bumped into the kid who’s currently playing the role of acting landlord of my old flat I’m squatting in… CRAP. Met on the bridge and I stopped to say hi. No point avoiding the obvious. Said he was doing well and told him I was looking to catch a flight to Melbourne. He wished me a good trip and we went our separate ways. Phew.

Everyone on the dock’s looking up right now…

*** 

A couple of nights ago I met up with R, an English lad I was supposed to hang out with before leaving home for Xmas. We had a really great night. Walked along the harbour, went to a cheap Irish pub and then ended up at a backpacker’s dive and danced it out. Really fun night. He’s sort of a male version of me (education, hobbies, interests etc.) except machine-version. Works non-stop and looks to be a social effing animal. I’d like to hang out again… we’ll see. Also… didn’t spend a dime!

***

3PM-ish. Sitting on a patch of grass in The Rocks. Went to watch The Hobbit this AM. I enjoyed it. I’ll stay tuned for the next installment. Young Bilbo Beggins’ sarcasm definitely made that flick. I’ve coined him my next husband. I could hack the shire nooooo problem. 🙂

View from the Rocks.
View from the Rocks.

***

Saw an awesome balloon ARTIST on my way home today on Pitt Street…

***

6:45PM. Went to see M and O today. M definitely remembered me… it was great. J Changed soo much in 2 months. I brought M a few shirts from home… one with a moose holding a hockey stick. Doesn’t get more Canadian than that! Went to the park for a couple of hours and had a chat with O about other uptight moms—good times. I want a chocolate chip cookie.

***

Bought two fresh cookies from Subway but didn’t feel like eating them. Dropped them off with a homeless beggar on Pitt Street. He shot me a smile. 🙂

***

A Finnish girl moved into my old bed today. She’s so nice I can’t even hate her. Parkin’ it on the couch tonight. Also decided that—for now—Thailand is a no go. No point in spending money I don’t have.

Track of the Day:

TOKYO POLICE CLUB– Nature of the Experiment

Coin:

Movie: $16

Cookies: $2

Groceries (tuna, alfalfa, water): $3.82

TODAY’S TOTAL: $21.82

WEEK’S TOTAL: $132.88

1 week/$100 (Day 5)

The Challenge?

Sitting by the Harbour. So far the cheapest flight I found to Thailand was $1000. Pricey. Thinking of heading to Melbourne and Adelaide instead.

Feeling a lot better since Saturday’s binge feast. Tomorrow I’m going to see O (old boss) and M (her 16-month old) followed by a Skype date with former roommate J who’s in Taiwan.

I’m thinking—economically speaking—that the best thing to do would be to stay in Oz, move in with my Filipino friend A, make money and then travel outside Oz. I’ll be meeting up with A today. Hopefully I could convince her to look for a place around the North Sydney Beaches… we’ll see.

Couch-surfing (CS) looks awesome. I hope someone gets back to me about Melbourne. That would be sweet (UPDATE: CS-ing right now in Melbourne and loving it). Why not couch-surf in Thailand? It’s possible. Although Asia is cheap enough.

Feel like being shamelessly annoying right now. Just put my text alert volume to the highest possible decibel and texting friends with random messages. Cookoo! cookoo! ’s chiming every  0.7 seconds. These looks I’m getting are making my day. 🙂

***

Sitting by Circular Quay in the only available space I could find shade. Eating some greens mixed with a can of tuna. Also been wearing the same pair of shorts for 3 days straight. Exciting stuff.

This afternoon was AWESOME. A soccer mate asked if anyone was interested in going ice-skating. Helllllll YES! K and her friend A picked me up from Redfern Station. Another interesting conversation ensued while I was riding the train. An idiot saw me and decided to introduce himself. Apparently God thinks my type to be short, bald, drunk, stumbling South American men…

Short, bald, drunk, stumbling South American man: What up shorty.

Bettina: Sorry I don’t feel like having a conversation right now. Thanks. (smile)

 

SBDSSA man: Damn. You bitch!

B: Yes, thank you.

(Bettina exits left)

 

*** 

K, A and I headed to Canterburry Ice Rink. Had the best time. Cost of the outing came to $22 but well spent! Even if that means going over the $100 budget. 😦

Canterbury Ice Rink
Canterbury Ice Rink

***

Met up with A, talked future plans, ate some din, a little chit chat about boys then went out for drinks. We decided that if we were to move in together it’d be better to go for somewhere closer to the CBD. It’d be easier for me to find work and her to attend class.

We met up with our Irish friend F who we became friends with when we both first landed in Sydney back in August. It was great to catch up and I couldn’t say no—although I tried—to the free-flowing free drinks coming my way. Thanks laddy (PS: Century Bar on George Street in the CBD… $3 drinks)!

 

Track of the Day:

KINGS OF LEON– Mi Amigo

Coin:

Dinner (Mad Mex) – $11

Drinks- $6

Skating- $22

Groceries (peas, tuna, beans)- $4.82

TODAY’S TOTAL: $43.82

WEEK’S TOTAL: $111.06

 

 

1 week/$100 (Day 4)

The Challenge?

Got up early to find 4 mosquito bites on my left foot. Got a razor, shaved over them ‘til they bled and threw a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide over them… golden.

Yesterday was the best and most disgusting day to date. Ate like a pig and spent unnecessary coin… I’m sure Tim Ferriss would approve.

As for travelling plans… I may be heading to Thailand in the next few days. The cheapest flight out from Perth looks like it’s on the 16th and the Swedish girls are there so that would work out great! I need to re-evaluate my budget and give Capitol One a call to see if I have enough points to redeem to pay for my flight.

To-do’s:

-call Capitol One

-establish budget (Thailand)

-mail letter to G

-grocery shopping

It’s only 9:30AM… feel like a nap. Gonna throw on some shades, get out my iPod and snooze by the dock.

***

Bought a book at Dymocks today for $5 from the discount bin. Usually known to skip to the Robin Sharma-esque section but decided to switch it up. Don’t know why but one called out to me: Play Dead by Ryan Brown. The cover shows the face of a zombie-werewolf-looking creature wearing a football helmet and uniform.

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Booker had just bludgeoned a toddler with a bicycle chain and was about to shoot a crack whore in the face with an assault rifle when the phone rang.

He hit Pause on the video game controller and picked up the receiver.

Art.
Art.

Shove a bum Eckhart Tolle. We have ourselves a winner.

 ***

Sat in Starbucks by The Rocks while it poured outside. In an effort to start sketching again, I saw to it to duplicate a print hanging by the coffee machines of two palms holding coffee beans. Turned out looking more like 2 Siamese spoons holding a mole hill of pinto beans and lentils. Success.

Yum.
Yum.

When Picasso hour was over I struck up a convo with an English-Indian girl and a fellow Canuck from Ottawa. Got some great tips from them about travelling through Asia and flight deal tips. Also got to share a few laughs with new friends. Love random chats. The rain stopped and we all headed our separate ways. Off to Woolies (Woolworth’s), then home for tea with the roomies. Starting to feel a tad sentimental over our nightly tea tradition. 🙂

Remaining to-do’s:

-call Capitol One

-establish budget (Thailand)

 Track of the Day:

BEN HOWARD– Only Love

Coin:

Groceries (tuna, beans, spinach, water) – $6.35

Green tea (Starbucks) – $3.20

Book (Dymocks)- $5

TODAY’S TOTAL: $14.55

WEEK’S TOTAL: $67.24

1 week/$100 (Day 3)

The Challenge?

Round 9:30AM and sitting by the rubber ducky again. Today will be a scorcher. It’s humid as fu*k and not much sun shining. Think I’m going to skip Manly Beach today. And at the same time I wouldn’t mind a refreshing ferry ride. I’ll think about it. 

I love Darling Harbour in the AM. The water’s risen high enough to drench the boardwalk. I’m going to find out when’s high tide… give it a Google and come check it out before leaving Ultimo.

An adorable Chinese baby was walking down the boardwalk with his dad just staring at all the people walking by. What a cutie!

*** 

Aside from a tad bit of brain freeze, I never enjoyed something more in my entire life! Tall Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream. Licked that spoon CLEEEEEAN. Also entertained by Starbucks’ 32nd rendition of my name. I’ve been promoted to Piscine’s estranged Caucasian half-sister in Life of Pi… featured in the deleted scenes of course.

A+ for creativity.
A+ for creativity.

So I arrived in Manly after all… IT’S ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! A lot better than Bondi in my opinion. It’s a beautiful long stretch of beach. I walked up and down the main strip, indulged in my crack of choice for the day (see below) and sat on the beach for a few hours before heading back to Circular Quay.

How to make my crack of choice:

1. Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups.

2. McFlurry (I mixed the Caramel Cookie and Double Chocolate Fudge flavours).

3. Comfy spot to sit. Find one with a great view and preferably crowded… then you’ll attract heaps of dirty looks from the many pleasure-deprived fools out there. 🙂

4. Unwrap Reese’s and sprinkle sprinkle into McFlurry.

5. Mix.

6. Dive in.

7. Nom nom nom nom nom.

8. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

AAA-grade crack.
AAA-grade crack.

Got back to Darling Harbour around 8:45PM… just in time for the fireworks. Darling Harbour puts on fireworks every Saturday night at 9PM on the dot. I found a spot between 2 families and waited patiently while chatting up to a kid about how excited I was to see the free show. He concurred. 

Awaiting the show.
Awaiting the show.

***

They were AMAZING! After the show I plopped myself beside an Asian family sitting on the edge of the dock. The family was feeding the jelly fish Wonder Bread… didn’t know jellies were on high-carb.

I need nourishment!
I need nourishment!

Track of the Day:

NOAH AND THE WHALE– Five Years Time

Coin:

Return ferry to Manly Wharf – $15

Frappuccino – $5.25

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups – $2.95

McFlurry – $5.25

Can of tuna- $1.09

TODAY’S TOTAL: $29.54

WEEK’S TOTAL: $52.69

1 week/$100 (Day 2)

The Challenge?

Morning sunshine. Woke up at 7AM, did some laundry, had brekky, packed my lunch (can of tuna, alfalfa and baked beans) and headed out before 9AM. Another beautiful day in Sydney. Just sitting in Darling Harbour.

Excited for this Sunday’s kick about with the ladies from Inner West Sydney soccer. Tomorrow’s supposed to be sunny so I think I might just head to Manly Beach finally. Haven’t checked out the North Sydney beaches. Need to get my tan back!

I decided Saturdays are also going to my indulgent days. Gonna eat like a little sugar fiend. Can’t wait! Today’s agenda looks like another day of plenty of reading and writing, and possibly meeting up with my German friend A who’s travelling through the city. I think we’re going to check out the casino. Just gave mom and dad a little surprise phone call. Glad to find out the NHL is back up and running… GO LEAFS GO!!! Dad said he’d buy a pair of season tickets for him and I to check out when I get back later this year. Looking forward.

Toronto Marlies game (Christmas 2012).
Toronto Marlies game (Christmas 2012).

Sitting in The Rocks and thinking about what an interesting place Sydney is. In the middle of summer you’ll still find at least 3 or 15 people wearing a parka and UGG boots.

***

Went for a long walk from Darling Harbour across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back. Sat in Gloria Jeans and continued on with Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. A few insightful tidbits from my read:

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”

“The question you should be asking isn’t What do I want? or What are my goals?, but What would excite me?

“The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” –Bruce Lee

“Learn to be difficult when it counts. Having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it.”

“It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.”

*** 

I’ve met the absolute weirdest people in the last few days. I was reading outside between the Myer Center and Westfield on Pitt Street when a middle-aged hooker wearing white eyeliner as lipstick stopped me to have a conversation. She had worn out tanned, orangey skin, bleached-blonde teased hair and was wearing a tight, short neon pink dress with higher than average transparent heels…

Hooker: Are you from New York?

Bettina: No I’m Canadian… from Toronto (confused smile).

H: Oh.

(Pause)

H: Have you been to New York?

B: Yes. It’s a great city.

H: Does Central have trees?

B: You mean Central Park?

H: Yes! Central… does it have trees like here?

B: Yes… it’s a park. It’s a beautiful park. You should definitely check it out.

H: Like here?

(Pause)

B: Yes.

H: Oh ya?!

(Pause)

B: Yes (smile/awkward eye gaze).

(Hooker exits right)

***

Met up with A after din. Caught up in Hyde Park, went for a stroll and ended up at my flat so I could wait for my luggage and she could steal some WiFi while my roommate decided to delight us with a show-and-tell about the mysterious red blemish the popped up on her nipple. Good times.

*** 

There was a promo going on at the casino… refer a new member and you and your referee get a free $50 to gamble with. DEAL. My roommate J and I met up with A and her two German friends. J and I headed for the roulette tables… we both lost. Had a great time though! Bonus: we didn’t leave in debt. My roommate left and I hung out with the girls before heading home.

A and I said our goodbyes. We originally met in Hervey Bay… a town I highly recommend skipping unless you’re catching a tour to Fraser Island. We then bumped into each other in Airlie Beach and then again in Cairns. We practically followed each other up the east coast and back to Sydney without knowing it. Had an awesome time together. 

Farewell friend.
Farewell friend.

Time to head home for nightly tea with the roomies.

***

Looked in the mirror and noticed my t-shirt said New York City in faint blue letters… quite the observant hooker.

Track of the Day:

ROBYN-Konichiwa Bitches

Coin:

Green tea – $2.95

Groceries (bag of frozen peas) – $1.97

TODAY’S TOTAL: $4.92

WEEK’S TOTAL: $23.15

1 week/$100 (Day 1)

The Challenge?

Flight was awesome. Flew from Toronto to San Francisco to Sydney. The stopover in San Fran was only 45 minutes. The hop-off-hop-on connection made it feel like I flew 18 hours straight (approx.) from home to Oz. Quick and dirty.

While flying I was thinking of a way to get to my flat without paying for a cab. Cab fare from SYD would cost me around $35. Taking the Airport Link Train would cost me $15 but would only get me to Town Hall. I wouldn’t be able to carry my 2 packs the rest of the way by foot. Decided I’d figure it out when I got there.

Ready for take-off.
Ready for take-off.

Turned out United Airlines left my larger pack in San Fran. Baggage claim services assured me it’d be delivered (free of charge) to my flat the following day. Worked out PERFECT! I grabbed the Airport Link into the city for $15 and walked the rest of the way. I had another pair of pants and a tee in my small pack anyway. Plus I got $100 compensation from my Capitol One Aspire MasterCard under the included baggage delay insurance. All worked out. (TIP: A lot of private companies offer shuttle services to and from the airport for the same price. Give it a Google). 

***

Arrived back in Sydney on the bloody hottest day ever… over 43 degrees (C).  Hung out with my roomies, caught up with an old flame, took a couple of melatonin tablets and went off to bed. Snoozed.

***

Weather cooled since yesterday. For no apparent reason whatsoever this has to be my favourite day in Sydney to record. Over Xmas I decided I’d come back here, look for farm work somewhere in southern Australia to get my second year visa, then settle again and work… EFF THAT.

At THIS moment… I feel one year in Oz will satisfy me. Things could change (UPDATE: I want to stay longer). Right now I’m living at my old flat rent-free hoping my former landlord doesn’t hop in to catch me frying eggs in my PJs: “fancy seeing you here Canadia.” Might be a tad uncomfortable considering I have yet to hand back my key (forgot to before leaving in December). Opps!

My plans now? Possibly stay in Sydney for a bit… rent-free. How? Couch surf, work in a hostel or stay with O (my old boss). Before leaving for home she mentioned I could crash at her place if I needed a bed. Sweet. Plus my friend from the Philippines is looking for a flat so maybe I could crash there. Plenty of options.

Plans for the next week are to remain in tourist-mode until I’ve had my fill. Screw finding work, screw finding a new flat, screw pricey bonds. I love travelling and my closest friends know me to be a wanderer … might as well.

*** 

Today’s weather reminds me of springtime in Niagara Falls, ON. Cool and breezy… lovely. Tonight I’ll look up a few free things to do—or things that are going on in Sydney. Right now is Sydney’s festival time so there’s loads of things to look out for. Just winging it and keepin’ it simple.

Also going to keep up with my IWTK posts. I can feel it will lead to something great in the long run… looking forward to it. 🙂

*** 

Sitting in the Westfield food court. Grabbed some Guzman Y Gomez. Beef burrito bowl with guacamole… yummmmm. Grab a loyalty card if you’re a Mexican food fiend like myself.

A man and woman are sitting to my left. They’re colleagues. Actually… she’s his boss, and she’s politely bit*hing to him about his less than mediocre sales as of late.

To my right are a group of middle-aged Asian women who just ordered gelato from the Italian café behind us. They are looooving it. Just shared a few laughs with them and took a few pics of them with their waffle cones. They just called themselves ‘ice-cream addicts.’ Enjoying life.

Boss woman to my left just gave her employee some sage advice: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

Time for a post-meal read. Today’s feature: Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Highly recommended.

***

Almost 9PM. Sitting at Darling Harbour on a beautiful night. Live music playing in the background and a giant rubber duck floating by the dock. No idea why… possibly part of what’s going on with the Sydney Festival. The kids are looooving it. Really makes me want to buy a bow and arrow, shoot the rubber ducky and watch it slowly deflate as the kids wail in the background. I’m evil. 

Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Time to head home, make some din, then off to bed.

Track of the Day:

DRAGONETTE-Live in This City

Coin:

Lunch  – $12

Groceries (dozen eggs, baked beans) – $6.23

TODAY’S TOTAL: $18.23

WEEK’S TOTAL: $18.23

Sydney Experiment No.1

I went home (Toronto, Canada) for Christmas and returned in Sydney in early January 2013. I had a week and a half before taking off to Melbourne to visit some friends and family. One book inspired me to take up a one-week challenge: to live on $100 (AUD) for one week. Sydney is an EXPENSIVE city to live in. If you’re working you’ll be fine (generally speaking). But I decided that for that week I’d revel in my new-found freedom and take every morning to ask myself: “What the hell do I want to do today?” And so came the inspiration for the challenge.

IMG_0698

The $100 would need to cover rent, food, lunch/dinner dates, nights out, shopping, transportation or any other ‘surprise’ expenses.

All I can say was that these last 7 days were the most eye-opening, awesome and spontaneous days of my life. And for those interested in learning a few things about saving some money in Oz—as well as having a laugh or two over my ridiculously frugal attempts to protect my wallet—then these next  7 entries are for you.

Starting next week I’ll be posting 7 posts everyday… one for each of my challenge days. Stay tuned and if you have any feedback for me—or are simply interested to see what went down—comment below! 🙂

And don’t forget you can connect with me via Facebook, Twitter or at iwtkangaroo@gmail.com.

Free Theater in Sydney

The street-theater scene in Sydney is prominent, especially around the high-traffic tourist areas like Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.

P15-01-13_20-23

Most of the performers are men showcasing their dance tricks and practiced stunts.  All, if not most times, these shows come with a bit of slapstick to keep the audience of young and old entertained and content. If you take a day to wander the city you’ll start to recognize the performers and their different routines. I’ve seen a man from New Zealand tie himself up in chains and maneuver out of it, an Italian balance on a bike suspended 10-feet in the air while juggling swords and a fellow Canuck and break-dancer steal the crowd. Depending on my schedule I’ll pop a seat right in front to witness the action.

P14-01-13_13-27

Today by far was the best performance I’d seen. An Aussie native from Melbourne balanced—on his stomach—on a bed of nails while juggling lit torches. But it wasn’t the stunt that was most impressive. His jokes were HILARIOUS. I even chuckled when he poked fun at Canadians. He also kept his show short and sweet. Some performers will yap away for 20 minutes without performing squat.

P12-01-13_12-16

If you pass by and happen to like a certain performance and can afford it, do toss the performer a few coins or whatever you deem worthy. They make a living solely on charisma, creativity and brave brass balls! Just don’t believe them when they tell you they’re allergic to silver. 🙂

Applying for a Tax File Number (TFN), Sydney’s party scene and beer

If you’re planning on working while staying in Australia you’ll need a TFN no. You won’t be able to apply for it from home but you can as soon as you land in Oz. If you’ve applied for it and want to start applying for jobs, let the employer know that you’ve applied and are waiting for it to be sent.

Applying for it is cake. You can apply for it here. Just type in ‘apply for TFN’ in the search bar on the top right and it will show you a link that leads straight to the application page. The application process shouldn’t take more than 15 mins. You’ll answer basic questions and need to provide them with your passport number and address for where it’ll be sent.

I entered the address to my hostel even though the Australian Taxation Office informed me that it would take anywhere from 7-28 days to arrive. If it doesn’t arrive before I leave the hostel I’ll need to make a trip back to pick it up.

I’m starting to realize how expensive everything is here. I’ll be applying for jobs starting tomorrow as well as looking into checking out a few apartments. This week Bounce is offering one week’s stay in a co-ed shared dorm for $210. Not a bad last resort if I may say so!

I’ve only been here a week but Sydney’s party scene seems riddled with more bars than anything. I love it… good opportunity to hang out with the locals, have a beer and a good chuckle. Me and a few hostel-mates have checked out a few bars in the King’s Cross area. It’s sort of a grungy neighbourhood… lots of strip joints and hagglers running around but otherwise, very friendly! Ha! There are a few Irish pubs along the strip and venues that host live bands. One bar/club called World Bar usually hosts a few bands every weekend. We went on a Friday. The crowd was a little young from what I could see (15 or 16 year olds running around) but the bands were great.

After a couple drinks we went down the street to the King’s Cross Hotel. A lot of the bars are called ‘hotels’ for some reason. I loved it there. The main floor was a sports bar and the fourth floor was a club… best of both worlds. The top floor also had a great balcony with a view of the neighbourhood.

Beer, beer, beer. I thought I’d try the Aussie favourite ‘Pure Blonde.’ Stay clear. I’m no beer connoisseur but damn… not a fan. If you hop into a bar that carries James Squire 150 Lashes however, give it a shot. It’s delish! This pale ale’s so clean and smooth it tastes like water. Could be a little dangerous for some! 🙂