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
My new book: The Best Beer in the World
3 days ago