13 March 2012

Observations on 30 Days Without Beer

When I'm not spending time as one of Indiana's most beloved and handsome beer drinkers, I get out on a bicycle. Recent rides have left me thinking I suck at this, and as anyone who rides a bike can tell you, an extra twenty or thirty pounds certainly do not help the cause.

As a result of my continued bicycling failures, I tricked invited a group of my drinking buddies to join me in a three month weight loss contest. I have lost weight before - I once went from 235 to 178 - and I knew that only a super-dedicated plan would help me achieve my goals, whatever they might be. Inspired by friends who had committed to the plan before, I decided to give the Whole30 program a shot.

The basics of the Whole30 are this: No breads, no sugar (minimal fruit is allowed), no processed anything, no alcohol. The program sounds like hell because it (sort of) is, but it's something I decided to do on a whim, and once I had committed I wasn't about to back out.

And it's working. I haven't missed bread. I miss variety in drinking options (my options are black coffee, water, green tea - that's pretty much it). Eating out is a nightmare. But what I really miss - really really really miss - is beer.

I knew I'd miss beer. I've basically dedicated my life to beer, and I knew I couldn't stay away from talking it. The restaurants I frequent all have beer. My entire social life is structured around beer. I can't stay away from those places, but I can stay away from beer. My inbox is constantly barraged with beer emails. Even if I stay away, it finds me.

One thing I hadn't counted on was that beer wants me to drink it. Sure, I can visit Tomlinson Tap Room for a party or to say hi to friends. I can even drink an ice cold pint of water. But did you know that the IPA in a friend's hand can send a scent all the way to my nose? As it turns out, hops are like pheromones, and when their scent hits my nose I'm tempted to act like a girl in an Ax advertisement - discarding my clothes and climbing all over a pint glass. And I'm not even a big IPA fan.

About three days after I started the program I received an email from Vanberg & DeWulf with a link to their updated portfolio. They're now carrying Lava, which piqued my interests. But did you know they're also responsible for the entire Brasserie Dupont lineup? Or that the entire Brasserie Dupont lineup is thirteen beers? Or that I have two of the thirteen in my kitchen waiting to be drank already?

And while I was on Belgian beers, why is it that I never tried to drink every beer made by the Trappist breweries? Hell, there's only seven of them. Chimay only makes three beers, Orval only makes one, Rochefort only makes three, Westmalle has three, Westvleteren has three, Achel makes two or three, and Koningshoeven makes maybe nine. That's just twenty-four beers! I could knock that project out in an afternoon.

Apart from the things I want to drink, there are the places where beer has become such a regular part of my life that I just don't think about it. For example, today I was reading a thread about breweries near Bell's on BeerAdvocate.com, and I thought we should go up to Michigan this weekend. The whole plan started laying itself out in my mind - Bell's, Founders, The Hop Cat. Do I have the budget for a trip this weekend? Do I have a previous commitment?

Oh yeah, I'm not drinking beer this month.

As it turns out, I'm not the only beer guy that's sworn off the stuff from time to time. While I was embarrassed to admit I had quit for a month early on, coming up on the two week date leaves me feeling confident. I've talked to industry folks who've shared stories of other folks taking some time off from beer. I know it can be done. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a stupid idea - a stupid idea I'm going to see through.

And when I collect my winnings I'm going to blow that money one place - on twenty four Trappist beers.

1 comment:

  1. Have I mentioned I'm in Portland and drinking beer for every meal including Taco Bell Fourthmeal? Beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer