The Courier-Mail

RORY GIBSON

BEER

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Some mysteries, such as what happened on the Mary Celeste and how has karaoke survived, will never be explained.

I like it that there are still things in our universe that may never be known. It allows for whimsy and speculatio­n.

For example, take this photograph of a mural I stumbled upon last week on a fishing trip. It was hand-painted on the wall of a shed in the village of London, Christmas Island (Kiribati).The London in the middle of the Pacific resembles what the other London may have looked like about 5000 years ago, but with some coconuts and a bit of corrugated iron added in.

There is virtually no commerce there. The locals just eat fish, go to church and sleep. So why would anyone go to the trouble of painting this in a place where 99.9 per cent of the people there would have no idea what a polyphenol is, and the only beer you can get is Fourex Bitter or Budweiser?

Equally intriguing is the beer portrayed. Has anyone heard of BOP draught, gold or pale bitter? The only BOP that I know of is the acronym for brew on premise.

No one I talked to on Christmas Island knew anything about the sign or the beer depicted in it. An enigma if ever there was one.

But the artist was spot-on in the message. Beer contains polyphenol­s that can reduce cholestero­l and provide antioxidan­t benefits.

Polyphenol­s are the compounds in plants that help prevent UV damage from the sun and make the plant cell wall strong.

Red wine gets all the good press in this regard, but beer provides pretty much the same benefits and is arguably even better because it has less alcohol.

Who wants a beer? rorcuss@gmail.com

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