Around this time 46 days ago I started a mission to give up alcohol (more importantly craft beer) for lent. Unlike many highly principled people who I know that were also undertaking this challenge; I didn't manage it. So the questions that need raised are why did I agree to do it and why didn't I manage it?
Why did I do it?
Firstly I decided to do it because I wanted to see if I could. I agreed to do it after a hangover from hell and I thought to myself 'wouldnt it be good not to have this again for 46 entire days'. Reality is that although I did give up I was still good and didn't have a hangover for 46 days regardless (and I don't plan to start now). Secondly I considered that it would save me money as Paris is quickly becoming a heavy strain on the purse strings. In this regard I am a bit upset that I didn't carry it out as it would have been interesting to compare the what I might have spent over 46 days on rare and wonderfully expensive craft beer. Thirdly, I knew that Uni life was about to get much tougher and that the work would be coming in thick and fast. I figured that with no tastings, meeting up to go for a pint or sitting opening a bottle of something special, that I would have more time to focus on uni work. That didn't happen either and in fact although I didn't continue with lent I have been getting better grades recently than I have ever had before in my 3 year university career.
Why wasn't I successful?
I lasted two weeks, I honestly did. Then I found that the beer shops around here were starting to get some really exciting beers in stock. Its not an excuse I know but I am a self confessed 'massive beer geek' and I found the temptation of De Molen, De Struise, Mikkeller, Westvleteren and fresh hopped US canned IPA far too tempting to resist. I figured that most of the beer that I have tasted in the 'unsuccessful' part of lent I may never get the chance to have again.
I also figured that there wasn't really a point to my lent quest. I didn't really have any intention of giving craft beer up at a time when I have never been more interested in it. When I look at what I have had the chance to try in the past year its just simply amazing. I don't plan to let my interest start falling by the wayside now. I realise that a lot of my friends don't get it and sometimes I think that my parents think I am a bit mad for paying €25+ for a bottle of beer. I honestly don't expect that everyone around me gets my pass time. In the same way that I don't really get why someone would take up needle work as a hobby, but I don't question it.
So at this point, when I have never been more interested in the small details of the craft beer world, I figured why put yourself through it? So I didn't. Although I did find myself behaving more than I might normally and I can really only say there has been one evening in the past 46 where I would myself admit that I was a bit drunk (It was a long day of tasting!) So whilst I maybe didn't give up craft beer for 46 days I have developed a better sense of knowing when enough is enough and being a bit more sensible in my old age.
I think when I first got into craft beer I was a bit like a kid in a sweetie shop. If there was something new and rare there that I had never tried I would start lining up the glasses. Now I respect the principals of quality and not quantity a little bit more. I realise that I would rather have one excellent beer than 6 pints of a mediocre one. If I have learned anything from lent that's what its been. Now onwards and upwards and I shall never make any silly bets like this again
Cheers and Hoppy Easter
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
Monday, 11 April 2011
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
I'm sure most of us bloggers have had them. Beer moments. Some might call them epiphanies. The moment when you realise that all of the silly beer things you do like sniffing and tasting, looking and talking, trading and sharing all make sense. Ive had two of those in the last two days. Lucky me!
Last night was the first one; around 11pm after two mediocre beers I thought I would open a bottle of something nice. De Molen Mooi & Meedogenloos (or beautiful and ruthless as it is in English) was my poison. A Russian Imperial stout. I was certain it would be over-rated and in fact my standards were lowered after the previous two beers. At 10.2% I knew it would be my last beer of the night if I wanted to get to class the next day.
So off popped the cap and I was in love. Before it even started glugging into the glass I knew this was a sipper; something I would want to savour and taste in my mouth for a long time. Very black and in fact a little darker than I thought it might be, it held its head all the way down the glass. Chocolate, a lil' Coffee, some fresh hops and a pinch of some lactic/sour/warm notes on the finish. This stuff was good, really good. And the best part; that silky smooth mouthfeel. No other word for it apart from epic.
So today I walked around with a smile on my face knowing that I have some more at home and several other De Molen beers in waiting. Then another epiphany happened. I was on my way to La Cave a Bulles to pick up some of the new beers that were delivered today. I heard rumours of Mikkeller, De Struise, Left Hand, Cantillon and more. I wasn't disappointed and there was a truly brilliant choice of beer on show. I stayed longer than I should have; talking about and choosing my beer. Whilst I was there not only did I watch the fascinating array of people enter the shop, choose from the new and existing selection and leave smiling, I also met Brandon who writes on the blog American Beer geek in Paris. I recommend have a look on the site as he does the French beer scene a lot more justice than I do.
Yeah thats what you think it is!
Simple as it was meeting other people just as geeky as you makes you remember that there is a whole community of us out there. Whether we are blogging from the comfort of our own homes, drinking with friends in a bar or simply just enjoying a great beer wherever we are one thing is true; we are all the same. Beer brings people together, young and old, male and female, whatever race and creed. Sometimes the beer community needs to lighten up and remember this. Whilst I still have this fresh in my mind I think I shall pop open a beer. Wherever you are right now I suggest you do the same.
Cheers to beers and good times