The Session #76 Round-Up

Being time-poor as I am (which is really my way of covering up the fact that I’m simply lazy) I haven’t read a lot of the other bloggers work in Sessiosn past. So it was actually kinda interesting to do it for the first time. So here’s the wrap-up of all those posts on compulsion, in the order I received them.

1) This Is Why I’m Drunk: Bryan got in first by actually being  a week early. While claiming not to have a problem, he also says” I try to keep a varied selection of brews at home”. Hmmm. He also makes reference to “The Six-Pack Project, which sounds very interesting.

2) Beer is Your Friend: Yeah, I’m going to include myself here. I talk about how I brought 13 bottles of beer back from Melbourne and, within an hour of getting off the plane, I was in another bottle shop buying more. Compulsive, right?

3) Make Mine A Pint: Session debutant Will says he keeps buying because it’s educational.  “I’m still very much a learner in the craft beer world, so a large component of the compulsion that I feel, stems from my desire to learn”.

4) 250 Beers: Darren from Queensland also lost his Session virginity here. He took a slightly different tack, choosing to post about his compulsion to write about beer. Tricky, Darren, very tricky. He”ll spend time working on blog posts on the train trip to work. “If my compulsion to write about good beer converts just one drinker of shitty beer in Brisbane then I’ll be happy”. Indeed, more people drinking good beer will mean more good beer gets made.

5) Ramblings of a Beer Runner: Derrick wrote about Lance Rice, an autistic man who can recall the history of most breweries in the US and even figure out the hops and malt in beer after a few sips (jeez, that is seriously impressive. I’m sometimes doing well to say “yep, there’s malt in this beer”). “All of us beer geeks have a compulsion at some level with beer,” Derrick writes. “Perhaps there is a little autism in all of us.”

6) The Oz Beer Baron: Brisbane boy Nick wrote a post about his efforts to drink his way through the book 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die. And he really reckons he’ll get there. “The only thing I can see that would stop me is if a brewery stops making one of the beers, which truly is my worst nightmare…”. I think breweries that stop making beer is everyone’s worst nightmare.

7) Beerbecue: Rather than writing, the brains behind Beerbecue told his tale in images. He shot a video in which he goes to the bottle shop to buy one beer, and ends up with heaps. I think we’ve all been there. But he also asks the question “what the eff are you doing at the beer store in the first place if the fridge is full?”. Thought that many times myself.

8) Community Beer Works: Dan from the Buffalo-based nanobrewery Community Beer Works. He claims not to be a beer geek any more, and that’s partially because he’s a father. “I’ll play the entirely predictable and boring trump card of ‘I have kids’,” he writes. “Did you know you have to feed your kids almost every day? They also expect you to play with them, or at least make eye contact occasionally while they tell you about a dog who ate alphabet soup and can talk now.” I know where you’re coming from, Dan, those young and single beer geeks don’t know how easy they’ve got it.

9) The Beer Nut: The Beer Nut subtitles his blog “why is that man photographing his pint?”. I mention this only because I still feel very self-conscious when trying to photograph a beer I’m drinking  in a pub. So much so that I make sure no-one is watching when I do it. He’s a fan of beer sequencing. “I can’t resist matching pairs, numerical series, colour-coded sets: anything that sets up a relationship between one beer and another, and another, sparks my ticking circuits in a big way. The more closely related the beers are the more I’m inclined to buy them all and try them in a single sitting.”

10) Beer Bar Band: James made an effort to control his beer compulsion a test at GABS, where there were loads of new beers to try. Did it work? Sorta yeah, sorta no. He missed a few things but he didn’t stress – “my development as a beer nerdist has taught me that missing out isn’t a big deal. There’s just too much out there in the world to make missing out a concern.”

11) Booze, Beats & Bites: Nate asks “What’s the point?” in me buying more beer than I can drink.  “People who stockpile and cellar beers to me don’t seem to enjoy drinking beer.” Well, I’m not cellaring anything Nate – everything I buy will be drunk sooner rather than later. I guarantee that none of the bottles I have now will still be there by the end of the year. What I was getting at is that, even though I have “a shitload of beer” to drink already I still buy more.

12) Soaked in Beer: Jenn makes the confession that she once collected cat figurines. Ahem. But now beer is her thing. But she doesn’t think she’s compelled to buy it as “beer is something I love, so I am happy to spend time and money on it”. She also says it’s no big deal if a new beer comes and goes and she doesn’t get to try it. Really, I don’t know how she can be so blase about it. Maybe she’s just more grown-up than me.

13) Pittsburgh Beer Snob: I know where Bill’s coming from here. “If I have an Achilles heel when it comes to my beer collecting, It’s when I’m at a place with a cooler crammed full of tasty new beers I haven’t tried yet.” Yep, seeing new beers is a big problem for me too.

14) Wake In 3D: Beer is just one thing that gets hoarded in Gary’s house. The others are books (which I also do) and yarn (which I don’t). He figures his beer collecting hasn’t gotten to the compulsion level yet. “When I think of compulsion, I can’t help but hear the priest in The Exorcist, ‘The Power of Christ compels you!’ but I don’t think my compulsion is that serious.”

15) Appellation Beer: Stan kept it short and sweet, using the song She Collected from Joe Ely to put forward his thoughts. But it left me wondering, is Stan the woman who collected, or the man who had enough of the collecting?

16) By The Barrel: Mark likes his beer and does a lot of the same stuff I do. But doesn’t reckon it equals compulsion.  “Do I truly have a compulsion around beer? That is, not an urge or a desire or an impulse, but a compulsion, one (or more) with the full freight of that word? I am not sure but I don’t think so.”

17) Whosisbrew: Among other things, Chris will be sure to include trips to pubs and breweries, so he thinks that at least makes him a wincy bit compulsive. But he’s okay with that – “I’m well past the point of having to defend or hide the things I like. I wear them on my sleeve and grin from ear to ear, and I’ll shout “BAH HUMBUG!” at any who oppose that.”

18) Beer Search Party: Sean has achieved the enviable feat of keeping his beer buying under some sort of control. But what drives him is the search for the new.  “So what psychological desire is compelling me to always check the beer aisle at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. And what I keep coming back to is that I really enjoy the thrill of finding that new beer or that beer that I have heard about but not tasted or to see a beer that is newly distributed in SoCal. There is a hit of excitement each time I smile and pick up a craft beer.”

19) Travels With Cap’n: In his travels, the Cap’n likes to slip in brewery visits whenever he’s on holidays. There are a number of reasons for this. ‘‘One is that we like to experience how beer is made in different places. Education is important. Learning how the beer is brewed enhances are future tastings.’’

20) Baltimore Bistros & Beer: Over in Baltimore, Douglas admits he’ll buy a six-pack on a Friday night even though he’s got loads of beer to choose from at home.  He says the reason is – options.  “I might already have 50 different bottles to choose from but on any given night none of them might strike me as ‘the beer’ I want to sit down with.”

21) It’s Not Just The Alcohol Talking: Derek has a passion for beer and he started his blog to share that passion. But he’s noticed something odd happening. “Though my blog is still very new, I’ve already noticed an unintentional change in my attitude. I already feel like I’m writing for other bloggers.” What he wants to be doing is writing for everyone else, switching them onto his passion. Though he suggests we need to take beer a bit less seriously, “As Glen might say, beer is your friend, not your laboratory specimen”. I wouldn’t say that, but I do love the sentiment. And it makes me feel a little better about the name of my blog, which I choose because all the other good options I came up with were taken. So thanks for that Derek.

22) Good Morning: David buys loads of beer because he likes going into bottle shops. I can empathise, I like the same thing myself. But then he offers this brilliantly simple insight – “the biggest reason that compels me to buy more beer, is that I like drinking beer”. Here I was getting all deep, doing some navel-gazing and I totally missed the obvious. That’s officially my  reason too.

23) 10th Day Brewing: Jon really likes brewing beer. How much does he like it?  He reckons he likes to make sure he has the equivalent of 10 to 12 cases of beer. “The compulsion is a never-ending balancing act to ensure you have just enough beers ready for drinking at any given time. You have to position yourself so that your supply never runs out”. Because running out would indeed be horrible.

24) Growler Fills: Alan says you need to buy more beer because there’s just so much of the stuff out there. “Go to any decent beer store, particularly if you’ve traveled to a region that has different distribution than home, and you’ll find more choices than you can drink in a year.  Or two”. But he’s started whittling things down – less buying, less drinking, less hoarding. He’s a man with more willpower than me.

25) The 441 Beer Wall: It’s those limited release beers that trigger John’s compulsion.  “If I think I’ll like a beer but I don’t know how long it will be around, I’ll jump at the opportunity to snatch up a couple bottles”. But he generally doesn’t go all uber-beer geek and queue up for beer hype events.

26) The Brew Site: For Jon, it’s about the collecting as much as the drinking. “I am finding myself awash in an excess of beer right now, and I’m trying not to go out of the way to acquire more… but even then I can’t help it.”

27) From Beer To Eternity: I met Dave on a recent trip to Melbourne – nice guy. He writes that compulsion goes to the heart of the matter. “Compulsion is the very thing that makes me so continuously passionate about all things related to good beer, whether that be buying multiples of a particular beer so I can see how it develops over time, picturing an ideal food/beer match, dreaming up recipes for the next batch or simply going in to a shop and just picking up what I know will be tasty, rewarding beers.” Like, me he joined the Bridge Road Brewers Posse, not because he needed more beer, but because he liked it.

28 A Good Beer Blog: Alan reckons being a responsible craft beer nerd is healthy, and involves wondering if you do take things too far. “Asking why more than once in a while is a great idea. Are your compulsions healthy?”.

29) In Cervesio Felicitas: Eslem’s post was written in Spanish, so I had Google translate it. It didn’t do the best job. For example, “I buy beer because I want to, not so much on impulse, I know not a beer that I have in my house and now I’m taking”. The gist I’ve got is that he collects a few great bottles here and there but doesn’t go all crazy about it.

30) Whatchudrinkin?: Here the compulsion is more a thirst for knowledge than beer. “So much of my beer compulsion is to know more not necessarily taste more. I know I can go back and sample that Barrel Aged Aztec any time I want. I saw it on the shelf, so If I feel like it I can go back and find it. I need all the data I’ve compulsively collected so I can act later.”

31) Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog: The guys at Boak and Bailey don’t beat themselves up about missing out on beers.  “There are some breweries whose beers we’d love to try, but we can’t quite be bothered to go out of our way to find them, or to pay over the odds. If it happens, it happens. No compulsion there — more like inertia.” But they do seem compelled to collect beer glasses.

32) Drunken Speculation: This last one wasn’t a Session post, but rather a post about the Session posts (if you get my drift). In part it addresses the concern some of us have that our obsessive beer-related behaviour is a bad thing and that it’s something we feel guilty about. Liam at Drunken Speculation tells us all to chill out.

“By their nature, all hobbies are obsessive. Unfortunately, most people aren’t passionate about anything outside of maybe their family or job, which I think is a terrible way to live your life. So stop worrying beer bloggers: unless your beery habits are damaging your health or your relationships with your family, friends or employer, then it’s all good.”

Which is good advice, I reckon.

So that’s me done with hosting my first Session. If you’ve not done it before I can heartily recommend doing so – it’s a blast. And now my last duty as host is to point you in the direction of next month’s host. That would be Justin over at Justin’s Brew Review.  He’s asking about IPA, specifically “what’s the big deal?”.

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