02 December 2011

The Session #58 - A Christmas Carol

Phil Hardy over at Beersay is the host of this month's session topic.

Here is was what was to be written about this month:

"The idea for me was based loosely around the visits of three ghosts to Ebenezer Scrooge, but relayed in a post about the beers of Christmas past, present and future.
What did you drink during Christmas holidays of old, have you plans for anything exciting this year and is there something you’d really like to do one day, perhaps when the kids have flown the nest?
Do you have your own interpretation, was Scrooge perhaps a beer geek?
Or maybe it’s all one day. What will you drink Christmas morning, Christmas afternoon and what will you top off the holiday with that evening?
Just a few examples there, but the idea was to keep the topic as open as possible to allow you free rein to write about a subject with
 a seasonal twist in whatever way the title grabs you." 

I was indeed visited by three ghosts and they showed me my craft beer adventure from the beginning to a very scary future if I don't change my ways. 

As I look back with the ghost of craft beer past I see an excited craft beer fan that has just been bitten by the craft beer bug, and I'm enjoying easily available beer like Sierra Nevada pale ale, Bell's Two-Hearted, Stone IPA, Goose Island IPA, Three Floyd's Alpha King, and a host of other beers that I would have just walked into the liquor store and purchased right off the shelf. I didn't really know about limited or rare beer releases, and in this case ignorance is total bliss. I look back fondly on this time because it was when I was the most excited about new craft beer and sharing it with anyone that would have a taste.  Every new beer I tried was like opening Pandora's box a little more because I had an untrained palate and every new flavor was welcomed and every new beer was a new experience.  This was my happiest time in my craft beer adventure, but then.....it happened. 

My ghost of Christmas present shows me hoarding a cellar full of rare beer that I went to great lengths to purchase online (no Ebay), trade for,  and travel great distances to obtain. The high of chasing rare beer is overshadowing why I started drinking craft beer in the first place.  I was looking for something with more flavor, and I was looking for the camaraderie that comes with one of the best social lubricants that Ninkasi ever gave to man. Looking at it from the outside I see a man that is ruining one of the great hobbies that he's ever had in his life.  He is taking beer far too seriously and getting caught up in the marketing machine and deliberate attempts to keep demand out in front of supply.  Focus on what you have available to you instead of what you cannot obtain.  It is a vicious cycle. I am beginning to understand that I don't want this for myself. 

The scariest moment is with the ghost of craft beer future. The scene is of me in a dark basement surrounded by hundreds of bottles of the rarest one offs ever produced.  Years of verticals in the making, ticket stubs, piles of receipts from traveling to other cities all lit up by the warm glow of the computer and me sitting behind it hitting the F5 key over and over trying to refresh the computer screen for the newest (and therefore the greatest) beer event that I need a ticket to enter or I'm trying to order a new beer online as soon as it goes up for sale.  I'm lonely.  I've got all of this beer around me, but I've got no one to drink it with, and when I do drink it with someone it turns into a pissing contest about who brought the rarest beer in existence.  This is chasing the craft beer dragon on a different level of sanity.  All I really see in the picture is a much fatter Gollum sitting around with his "precious".   

"He hates and loves the rare beer, as he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it."  

I've learned from my ways, and I am going to go about my craft beer adventure is a much different fashion from here on out! I'm going to celebrate regular beer for the reasons it brought me to craft in the first place.  I'm going to make it more of a point to stop chasing rare beer, drink beer with my friends more often, and put my beer dollars toward beer I can obtain without a shit-show to obtain. 

Happy Holidays Everyone! 




  1. that's a great new years resolution at the end too!

  2. I think so many of us are getting to the point. I drank my modest cellar down to 10 bottles (which I'll be drinking as time allows) , not including the Thomas Hardys from the year of my daughter's birth. The next step was getting a keg fridge, which is in progress. Having local sixtels at home is pretty much its sole purpose.

    Do I want to try King Henry? Sure. Am I going to put myself through the bullshit that will be required to do so? No chance. I have a few friends in Chicago, so one might find its way to me (just like Coffee BCS and all three sisters did), but I'll happily enjoy my easily obtainable local choices without losing any sleep. People are talking about the tipping point with how ridiculous releases are getting, and I'm already on the other side of that.

  3. I enjoyed reading all of these, but this one is the winner this month:


    I think he couldn't be more right about the possible death of craft beer and beer wars.

  4. Nice write up Matt, it's a subject that is a bit of a hot potato here in the UK too. I get sick of going to my fridge only to find beers that I hold in such esteem I don't want to drink them… Cheers

  5. Hi Matt

    Here's a link to last months round up of Decembers which I hosted over in my blog Beersay. Thanks again for posting.

    Session #58 A Christmas Carol - Final round up http://wp.me/p1mN8x-O7

    It would be great if you could add me to your blogroll and twitter followers