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 me right here. I chose the topic of “Compulsion”. You can read more about it here but here’s a taste – “Like most beer fans, I tend to buy way more beer than I can drink. I can have a fridge full, plus a few boxes of bottles, plus homebrew and still I’ll walk into a shop and buy some more. Or order some more online. Or do both in the space of a few days. Why do we do stuff like this?”
Feel free to join in – the more the merrier and all that. So without further ado, here’s my post about my own topic.
About a week or so I headed to Melbourne to tick off a few items on my beer bucket list – namely to be there for Good Beer Week and to attend The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, where brewers each make a brand new beer and release it there.
There was a lot of beer to be had – in two and a half days I managed to boost my unique check-in tally by a whopping 67 beers (granted that includes about 35 beer samples, but the rest were full-sized beers) and learn how to dodge a hangover too.
As well as the beers I drank on the spot, I also headed to some of the city’s great bottle shops, where I bought 13 different beers. I squeezed as many as I could into my onboard luggage (which made it damned heavy) and then wrapped up the rest inside my suitcase and prayed they would emerge from the belly of the plane unscathed. Praise the Lord, they did.
So that’s 67 beers in Melbourne itself, plus another 13 brought home. That makes a total of 80 beers. No need for me to buy any more when I get home, is there? Probably not but, within an hour of picking up my car from the long-term car park at the airport, I was in a bottle shop on the way home buying the four beers you see in the picture above.
So why the hell did I do that? I hadn’t even drunk any of the 13 beers yet. Hell, I hadn’t even gotten halfway through the bottles of homebrew in my garage, or the latest batch fermenting under the stairs, or the beer in the cellar, or the case of beer that a brewery sends me each quarter that arrived at my workplace while I was away (I get it delivered there so my wife doesn’t see it. Then I have to sneak it into the house).
Suffice to say, I already had more than enough beer. There was no logical reason to stop at a bottle shop on the way home to buy more. I just couldn’t help myself. It was a bottle shop I’d heard about but never had the chance to visit because we’re so seldom up in the big city and, when we are, I don’t feel confident enough to say to my wife “hey, honey, mind if we drive over there so I can see what beers they have?”. She puts up with my beer geekery a fair bit already so I don’t like to push it.
For me, it was the fear of missing out. The fear that this bottle shop might have a beer I’ve been searching for. As it turns out, it did – the berry saison from Bridge Road called Waldo. Funnily enough, they also had a number of the beers I’d bought from Melbourne – so I could have saved myself the strain of lugging bags full of beer and just bought them here.
That’s what really drives me to buy beer I have no immediate need for. If I see a beer I like in a bottle shop fridge then I’ll buy it right there and then because I think to myself “hey, it might not be there next time I come”. It does have an advantage – I like being able to walk to the cellar (aka the spare fridge) and have a wide selection of beers to choose from. It’s certainly more fun than just buying a six-pack and drinking them one after the other.
As for homebrew, well I obviously already have plenty of beer I’ve bought, why make more? Because I like the whole process. I like thinking about what I might make, doing the research to work out how to make it, buying the ingredients, brewing it, monitoring the fermenting beer, bottling it and washing everything. Okay, maybe not the washing part. But I enjoy all the other parts. And I especially enjoy the drinking – at least when the beer’s a success.
Admittedly, I do feel a little guilty about buying all this beer – it’s why I feel the need to sneak some of it into the house without my wife seeing it. But only a little guilty because I certainly don’t intend on buying less beer any time soon.