3 December 2015

A Brief History of Me

The main thrust of my doing a beer and life blog is quite simply a way for me to document my journey and if someone can gain something from it, all the better. Is it strange that I actually enjoy going back over stuff I have previously written? I find it gives me a view into where I was at that particular point in my life and helps me see where I am headed.
I usually get a little long winded in describing how I got to this point, so I will try to summarize it a little better for you.
For most of my adult life, I have been a crappy beer drinker. I was the epitome of a fat guy. Loud, obnoxious and a drinker of Canadian, Coors Light, Lakeport and finally Brava Light. I chose my beers not for their aromas or flavours, but on volume and cost. The more I could consume for the least amount of money, the better.
The goal of drinking beer was always how hammered I could get. Blackout drunk was something I did on a regular basis and a constant source of embarrassment . Apologies were a way of life and coupled with a lost business and a demeaning and degrading job after that loss led to a downward spiral.
While in survival mode at that job, a co-worker introduced me to an app for my phone. It tracked your beers, rewarded you with badges and allowed you to compare with your friends. It is called Untappd and it started me on the road to sanity.
At first, we used it to compete with each other. Who could get the most beers or badges the fastest. My taste in beer was still bad, I thought all IPA’s tasted like pine trees and stouts were just bitter dark messes. Slowly though, as I continued to search out new and exciting beers, my palate expanded. I began to pick the flavours out of the noise and looked forward to the next new brew.
As time went on, I began to realise that I didn’t have to drink shitty macro beer. I still bought it as a Quantity beer, but began to hate how I felt after a night pounding sub standard beer. Hangovers and shame were becoming something I couldn’t handle anymore and I knew there had to be a better way. I have seen what alcoholism can do and I was terrified at where I was headed.
A couple of years ago, I found a better job. I began to have hope for the future again.  Finally this year, at age 42, I started living with a budget. I’ve always been a paycheque to 4 days before paycheque type of guy and this was an agonizing process. But with a workable plan in place and a real light at the end of the tunnel, I moved forward.
In this budget, I have my allowance to spend on whatever I like. At first I would grab a 24 of Old Milwaukee every week and then whatever new beers I could with what I had left. But this was not making me happy. The real problem became clear. Easily drinkable, no flavour beers made it easy to get hammered. When I drank craft beers, I sipped and savoured. It takes time to down a strong Belgian ale and I was on the verge of something new.
Along the way, I started posting pics of my beer on Instagram with little notes about them so I could keep track and review them in conjunction with Untappd. A funny thing happened though, I started interacting with other enthusiasts and learning more about what I was drinking. This lead me to the revelation that I didn’t need pounder beers anymore. I dedicated myself to only exploring beer in a way that didn’t cause me to lose control and crash and burn all the time.
I deal with some depression and social anxiety. I am sure it has some deep roots in my life choices and mistakes. The ability to get up every damn day and keep the good fight going is very important to me. I have to limit my exposure to situations where I will be tempted to slide back into frat boy mentality of chugging flavourless crap. So there is work to do. The ability to write this little blog and my photos helps keep me going. I want to share the journey and maybe learn something new.
Having said all this mouth full, I want you to know that I am just a regular guy. I have no special insight or connections to the industry. I don’t have a lot of free time to travel, but I will get to the breweries when I can. Most of my beers come from the local LCBO’s around my hometown, so you can find them and  give them a try yourself. But most of all, I will always be honest about what I try. I don’t like some styles of beer, but that doesn’t mean they wont grow on me as I try more and different beers.
I don’t drink beer everyday. Not because of any particular reason. I just know now that I don’t have to. I want to enjoy what I find and every time I find that unexpected great beer it makes me want to keep exploring and expanding my adventure into all things beer.

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