Today the homebrew club known as the Illawarra Brewers Union (IBU, geddit?) is holding their annual Beer Fest. Everyone brings some of their homebrew, usually in a keg, and you go round drinking your fill and banging on about beery stuff.
I went to my first Beer Fest last year – it was my first ever IBU event actually – and had an absolute truckload of fun. But I won’t be there this year, because I’ve sworn off the grog for February (today is the end of the first week). I could have gone to hang out and talk beery stuff but I figured being around all those kegs of free beer might prove too tempting.
You might say I could grant myself a leave pass so I could attend today and then get back on the wagon tomorrow, but that’s not in line with what I want to achieve. I want to go the whole month without a beer and not one day less. For me, the decision not to drink in February includes having to say no to events I’d normally love to be at.
And the Beer Fest is not the only event I’m going to miss. There’s a food and wine (and beer) festival at Towradgi – just a suburb or two south of my place – in a week or two. Won’t be there. There’s also Craft Beer Rising, an Australia-wide beer celebration organised by James Smith from The Crafty Pint on February 22. The Illawarra Brewing Company is holding an event to tie in with that. Won’t be there.
And my footy team, the St George Illawarra Dragons, play their first trial match of the year. I love watching my footy team and I always do it with a beer or two. This time I will be there (well, I’ll be watching it on TV) but I won’t be drinking any beer. I honestly have no idea how long it’s been since I last watched the Dragons without a beer.
Becoming a dryathlete (apparently that’s what they’re calling people who opt to take a month off from drinking) has also seen me swear of reading books about beer until March as well. I thought I be smart and spend the month reading about beer but four days in I realised it was making me think about beer, which wasn’t the smartest thing I could have been doing.
So that’s what I’m missing out on, so what am I gaining? Not too much just yet to be honest. I did have a few nights of great sleep where I was dead to the world (I usually wake up through the night) but then I reverted to the old sleeping pattern in the back half of the week). I guess my skin feels cleaner, but that might just be because I’m drinking a lot more water than normal.
It’s too early to see much weight loss after a week of not drinking and I haven’t noticed any increased taste perception in my palate either.
But that’s okay with me – I’d always figured the benefit would come at the end of the four weeks. That’s when I can say ‘‘cool, I did it. I went a whole month without a beer’’. Because a year ago that’s something I never figured I’d be able to say.