Wolf Files: Cutting-Edge Beer

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Two graduates from Indiana's Purdue University unveiled freeze-dried beer last year. Samplers describe the defrosted beer as hearty and sweet, once it's rehydrated and recarbonated.

Unfortunately, it's not yet intended to be poured in a mug.

The inventors say that, at least for now, freeze-dried beer is intended to be a spice, sprinkled over a variety of foods, from casseroles to potato chips, as well as dips and sauces.

A sudsy spice may one day rival paprika as king condiment, at least in some spice racks, and yield a host of new products. Imagine beer-laced peanuts at the office vending machine — the next best thing to drinking at work.

Nevertheless, a true mix-and-drink freeze-dried beer could one day be a reality. The Phillips Petroleum Co., which has patented rocket fuel, among other things, also experimented with a mix-and-drink alcoholic beverage.

Of course, most people don't like freeze-dried instant coffee. Still, it's good to know it's there, in case of emergency. Likewise, there may be a time and place for an emergency powdered beer.

Anti-Date Rape Beer Coasters: It's no joke that would-be sexual assailants have been spiking drinks with so-called date rape drugs like Rohpynol and GHB.

Now, a British company says it has the solution for women who fear being slipped a high-tech Mickey — a coaster that changes color with just a drop of the spiked drink, just like litmus paper.

Surescreen Diagnostics of Britain is hoping that pubs will use their high-tech coasters, which cost about $2 apiece, to chase away the worst sort of creeps. The product is currently being tested in New Zealand.

Soon, it may become ladylike to deliberately spill your drink. Such clumsiness might actually represent the utmost caution.

The Beer of Studs: Remember when winning a championship was the mark of a great athlete? Nowadays, the mark of a sports hero is tied in his or her endorsement deals. Just ask Tiger Woods or Derek Jeter. Now this year's Kentucky Derby winner has his own beer — Funny Cide Light.