On the first Friday of every month beer bloggers around the world join together for The Sessions ( which are also known as Beer Blogging Friday). There’s no entry fees or membership required, we all just write a blog entry on a pre-determined topic each month.
This month’s Session is hosted by Bryan at This Is Why I’m Drunk. He’s chosen the topic of Finding Beer Balance, which he describes thusly.
“Is beer your vice? Is beer your reward? Does beer really have to be either? Do you find lifestyle balance through work, hobbies, family or maybe even ‘Dry Days’? There are a variety of ways to find balance.”
I feel like I’ve had a small victory this week – I got back on the weekday wagon. “What’s that?” I imagine you asking. Well, that’s when I only drink from Friday after work until Sunday night (though not continuously) and Monday to Thursday are alcohol-free days (aka AFDs).
It used to be a regular thing until mid-last year when I did the Beer Olympics for this blog – that saw me drinking a different beer from a competing country for every day of the Olympics. From there until now I never got back on the weekday wagon.
Which isn’t to say that I was pouring beer down my throat that whole time. I’d still manage one, maybe two AFDs a week and, on other weekdays my beer consumption may have been limited to a single beer. And I do make exceptions for beer-related events that happen on weekdays. But the weekday wagon – four AFDs in a row – is always the ultimate goal.
I usually tend to feel better the morning after an AFD too. Not because of a hangover but rather because a beer or two in the evening usually means waking in the middle of the night to take a leak, which disrupts my sleeping. So an AFD means a better night’s sleep for me.
That’s one way I work to strike a beer balance. And it’s kind of important that I do because, when I get into something I get into it deeply. So with beer, I drink it, think about it, talk about it, write about it, read about it and even make it. So it’s important I strike a balance where beer is an interest in my life rather than my whole life.
Another victory I had this week with striking a beer balance is in my reading. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a voracious reader, reading one or two books a week. Since I got heavily into beer, books on the subject have been my main reading focus. I went through a phase where I bought about 20 books on Amazon and Book Depository (both real books and those on a Kindle) and reserved every beer book I could find in my city’s libraries.
But just this week, I’ve declared “no more beer books for a while”. I had read so much that I was actually getting a little sick of the subject (and sick of reading chapters on “the history of beer” and “how beer is made”. Seems every single beer book features those as chapters one and two).
So this week I steered clear of the beer books on my “to read” shelves (of which there are a lot) and opted for Chris Womersley’s Bereft – which is like Cormac McCarthy meets Jasper Jones. And I absolutely loved it. Then I started The Gun, CJ Chivers’ history of the AK-47. The previous few weeks I felt like I was losing interest in reading yet this week, by stepping away from beer books, I feel excited by reading again.
I will certainly go back to reading books about beer because I’ve got a few that I want to look at, such as Daniel Okrent’s Last Call about the Prohibition era in the United States. But that may not be for a while.
While I love beer and reckon I will continue to do so for quite a few years to come, it’s also great to take a step away from it every now and then. To strike a balance between it and the rest of my life.