I think Pete has written one of his best posts ever. Consider this:
I drink too much. I counsel that we should feel free to drink more than we are told. I rubbish the distortion of data that suggests we're all drinking ourselves to death. But even by my own more relaxed standards, I drink more than is good for me. I am two stone overweight and am on medication for high blood pressure, and this is related to the amount of alcohol I drink. It's an occupational hazard, and it's also more than that. Going dry for January is my way of proving to myself that I still control my relationship with booze. When I do it, I lose weight. I sleep better, and have more energy. When I start drinking again, my tolerance is lower and I drink slower and less frequently. And gradually, through the year it creeps up again, until over Christmas my alcohol consumption is excessive by any standards, and January provides a reset.
This raises a number of observations. First, how many beer writers have ever written those first four words? How many brewers? How many have expressed concern that they are encouraging others to avoid thinking about it? I will just leave that with you except to add the words tasty, aggressively marketed and intoxicant.
But, beyond that, consider too Pete's balancing of the twin evils of neo-prohibitionists and those working for the "cause" of good beer. It is not just that each avoid the blessed British middle ground. Each is an equal falsification tugging at Pete's perception of the effects of alcohol on his own corpse. Beer is great for you is as wrong as beer is bad for you. I recall in the latter days of one paid beer industry writers career - before he jumped to another branch of the market to make his bucks - he was fed up with the incessant events, the non-stop boostering and the drinks that went along with each. He knew he was sickening himself, wearing himself down. I see the same on the faces of a lot of beer people. Sometimes in the mirror, too. Occupational hazard Pete calls it. Hazard plain and simple thinks I.
I am taking a break or rather breaks and have been doing so more and more since at least the middle of last year. I have found that the more I write about drinking in the three books I am co-authoring and elsewhere the less I am interested in drink. I get sleepy more and more between nine and ten the more I pay attention. Proudly sleepy. And the more I read and write about pre-1850s drinking the more sympathetic I am to the temperance movement. Plus, the focus of too many brewers in my immediate market on hyping their top priced beer has frankly lost my consumption and entertainment dollar. Why buy a few of these experimental upper shelf branded beers when I can buy a venison roast, a lump of excellent cheese or a tank of gas that takes me and mine on a fun day trip? It's not simply beer v wine anymore. It's beer v everything and, especially with these price points, too often beer loses out. Not to mention the boredom. Is there anything more boring than #39 in their special pricey overly strong release program? Nothing that comes thirty-ninth is special.
All of which leads me to an interest in finding that "best value beer" or "great time down the tav" as anything. Yes, I am too fat. Fatter than Pete. No blood pressure pills thankfully though. But I also only have so many hours in the week for entertainment and relaxation. So many dollars. And so many weekends in the year. So, I have been turning Pete's principle around. Not taking a break from beer but asking why it should be part of the day at all. Any day. The best thing for my appreciation of beer is that it never tastes better. The best thing for the rest of my interests, deadlines, obligations and, yes, health is that they are also all turning out to be better off this way, too.
Comments moderated on this post. Let's not give in to the spam bots.
Update: locked again. 18 spam comments in thirteen minutes when wrote my comments. Leave a note at Stan's maybe?