Sep 11, 2012

Reflections on a dry month

My ongoing health issues have forced us to rethink our diet and over the last month we've been doing a particularly restrictive diet that's supposed to be helpful. As part of that month I had to forgo beer, it was painful. Now the month is up and I've happily fallen off the wagon. Here are some reflections on my dry month as I sip my brother's delicious Hefeweizen.

1. I really like beer. I know it's obvious but I really didn't realise how much I loved it until I had to avoid it. It's complex, varied, powerful and delicious. For at least part of the past 4 months or so I've had to take dairy, fructose, gluten and a few other bits and pieces out of my diet and generally I've been pretty much fine with that since it's meant more meat. Beer was by far the hardest thing to do without. I wanted malty and I wanted bitter and nothing else would do.

2. I like being able to go without for a while. When I worked as a barista I usually had 5-10 coffees a day but I usually didn't drink any coffee on the weekend. I liked not needing it. Same with beer. 

3. It's given me a greater appreciation for beer. This is related to the first two points. It's nice to have access to decent to fantastic beer at any time but I find that over time I begin to drink with less regard to what's going down my throat. I might be drinking something delicious but I don't appreciate it properly. After a month of abstinence I'm savouring every drop and enjoying the wafting aromas.

4. One of the things I really missed was the social beer. Whether it's home brew or not, it's always better when shared with friends. Sure you can drink coffee or tea with people but it's not the same.

5. Related to that, it's made me realise that I generally don't brew just for myself. I mean, I love it, it's heaps of fun to do and I obviously enjoy the results of my efforts but a brew isn't complete until it's being shared with friends.

6. A month with no drinking is a great way to build up the stocks again. My enforced winter brewing break left my cupboard pretty bare but as of today I have 4 batches bottled and in various stages of carbonation. 

7. It drove me to work on a bunch of recipes. I was dreaming of the kinds of beers I wanted to drink and trying to create recipes for those beers. If I brewed a beer a week and just used the recipes I've written so far it'd take me until December next year to brew them all. 

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