27 March 2018

A better Polk I'll be

   At some point in the last three years I bought my last two-four of macro beer and didn't know it. I wasn't aware of it nor did I make that a conscious decision. It happened while I was still drinking rather heavily but I didn't plan on it nor could I have understood the transformation I was embarking upon.
  I've been known as an outspoken, even cruel critic of macro beers as my baptism into craft beer finally took hold and I went through the evangelical phase with a gusto I used to reserve for when we'd bring out the dual funnel and I'd chug 4 Brava lights in under 15 seconds. I railed against pseudo craft in all it's iterations and heaped scorn on those who would indulge the perceived evil that was Goose Island or Mill Street. It was as though I took my dismissal of the better beer I had shunned for years in pursuit of the cheapest drunk I could find and channeled it into bringing that rage down on anyone I deemed not true craft beer.
  I have struggled for most of my adult life with poor impulse control and made decisions that left me scrambling to live. I turned to beer because it fit my persona as a party guy who didn't give a fuck about anything and even as my personal Rome came burning down around my head, I continued to plunge head long into binge drinking that left me shaking my head when I'd wake up after another lost evening.
  Since my journey into craft beer, I have developed my palate and continue to refine it every day. It was a pleasure to leave behind the bland and boring Old Milwaukee and MGD and explore hoppy IPAs, fruity Saisons and so on. But I still woke far too many mornings with a hole in my memory and some great beers drunk in the blackout that I would never see again. The quality and cost of my beers had changed but I had not truly left my old self behind, I was just hiding behind the façade of craft beer and continuing my destructive ways.
  In May of 2017, I counted and posted every single beer I drank that month and was kind of flummoxed that the final tally numbered 150. No doubt a little spurred on by trying to raise the total and be cool about it, I nonetheless took action to be more conservative in my consumption and started to have less of my go to craft beers in the fridge and focus on trying to review everything I consumed but not overdoing it. There were indeed a few more moments of ridiculous behaviour but slowly I could feel the tide turning and as of the last few months, I haven't truly been outside the norm when it comes to consumption. A couple a night with perhaps 3 or 4 on my night off and that seems to be it for this old fella. The desire to slip into a beer induced haze has left me and all I feel the need for now is to experience every single nuance and subtle note my beer has to offer.
  So how does this tie into my not buying macro beer anymore? Well, what I discovered was that while a large part of what I do is all about supporting the local craft brewers and encouraging others to do the same, it is also about drinking less and enjoying more. I shun events where the goal is mass consumption, regardless of the participating breweries. Let's face it, the only reason your going to a beer fest is to get snackered in the guise of trying all the beer. I don't want to beer shame people anymore (well except green beer, that stuff is so nasty), but I also wont buy it because it serves no purpose except to intoxicate as multiples of any beer seem to be the antithesis of everything I stand for. No one buys a single can of Pabst for the flavour, it's designed to deliver the 5% in a crisp and clean boring lager that has you reaching for another one so much you might just be DJ Khaled. So I don't buy macro anymore because it doesn't suit my needs, it gives me nothing to think about and certainly doesn't help me support my local community or engage in my favourite pastime of reviewing and talking about beer.
  I am trying to be a little better about letting people enjoy the things they want without crapping on them and I'd like to think I am succeeding. I no longer have room in my fridge or glass for anything I don't want to explore and I am confident that I have seen enough broken mornings with the empties to prove it that I no longer need to purchase any of the big boys of beer. But drink what you want and I'll still be here doing my thing, bringing the best I can find and shining a light on things that maybe aren't quite right. I'll drink a 50 when I'm at the legion and maybe a Mill Street if that's what is available but if I'm given the option, I'll choose true craft every time, be the DD or have a nice full bodied Red Wine instead. The choice is yours and I will do my utmost to respect it.



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