Time once again to tackle the Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday: a monthly opportunity for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their unique perspective on the same topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts The Session, chooses a topic, and creates a round-up that lists all of the participants.
This month’s session is hosted by Douglas Smiley at Baltimore Bistros and Beer, who poses the question, ‘Why do you drink?’
There are plenty of people out there who wish that alcohol consumption ceased to take place and would be happy for prohibition to rear it’s ugly head once again. Others, while not looking to ban alcohol altogether, are quick to judge those of us who drink more than what they would consider a proper amount. As I get older, I’ve lost the urge to defend my life decisions, but there was a time when judgment about the liquids I chose to put in my mouth made me feel self-conscious.
And that’s where my idea for this month’s Session topic came from. It’s easy to find article after article on the internet telling us that alcohol is bad. As beer bloggers it’s safe to say we all disagree. Let’s take the opportunity as a group to tell people why we do drink and how it improves our life for the better.
‘Why do I drink?’ is not really an easy question for me to answer and that’s probably why I’ve never asked myself that in any great self-reflecting detail. My drinking began in earnest, as it did for many of my peers, right from the point of me being over the legal drinking age (18 in Australia). Growing up outside a small country township, drinking and letting loose was the done thing for folks my age and so I never really questioned ‘why?’.
Then came university and the somewhat loose morals and debauchery associated with life on campus. It’s here that drinking was largely about the ‘social lubricant’ factor – many a friendship was forged during pre-drink* conversations and games or while helping your dorm neighbour stumble home at the end of the night. Ah, to be young and carefree!
Those days seem so long ago now. Nowadays my drinking has much more of an emphasis on the relaxation and anxiety-relief properties of alcohol’s many forms. After all, it really is one of the last readily available [and legal] quick-fix relaxation remedies.
That said, I continue to find that drinking is an unparalleled method for bringing people together whom you might not necessarily socialise with otherwise. A great example of this has been my work’s monthly Business Engineering Evaluation Review [read: BEER] gatherings. As a relatively new workforce put together to complete a terminable project, BEER night has proven to be a resounding success in helping to build productive working relationships and networks, as well as in cutting down existing work hierarchies and team silos. And that’s not to mention the great many friendships – probably lifelong – that have blossomed since BEER night was introduced.
On a more personal note, since writing for this blog, my consumption of beer has increased – significantly so. While that may seem to most an unhealthy and even abhorrent state of affairs, I find it very much to the contrary. I don’t shy away from the fact of my introverted nature (pun intended) and this craft beer thing has really helped get me out of my comfort zone, out into the world and out meeting new people. As a result, I’ve met and shared conversations over a beer or two with so, so many interesting, talented, endearing and genuine people. It’s when I move outside these circles, that I realise just how lucky I am to be able to mingle with people from all manner of backgrounds and walks of life, that are all filled to the brim with the same craft beer-filled fervour as I am.
And let’s not forget about the beers themselves; In the last 2 years or so my senses have been awakened to the craft beer world and the endless and exciting options there are for something I’d long considered to be limited and predictable. It’s with a renewed gusto that I now enter bottle shops, excited at what I might find next, lurking amongst the familiar faces. It’s a joy and even a bit of a thrill when I find something that ticks all my sensory boxes.
It’d be hard now for me to think of my life without alcohol – specifically craft beer – and yet I don’t see that as a vice. I wouldn’t want to live without it entirely and if that smacks of dependency then so be it. The friendships I’ve formed, the stories I’ve heard and shared, and the memories made over a brew have been just as – if not more – meaningful than those where alcohol has not been present.
As for any health side affects, well, “haters gunna hate.”
*drinks before hitting the town