It's easy to find article after article on the internet telling us that alcohol is bad. As beer bloggers it's safe to say we all disagree. Let's take the opportunity as a group to tell people why we do drink and how it improves our life for the better. I know the default answer a lot of us fall back on is "it's nice to sit back with a good beer after a stressful day of work", and while that's true, I'm looking for answers that aren't so obvious to people who aren't fans of our hobby. Beer is bigger than a liquid "chill pill" or we wouldn't have gone about setting up a blog and dedicating so much of our time discussing it. So, what is it that compels you to drink and what would your life be missing if beer was no longer an option for you?
Oh dear. Safe to say we disagree? Beer improves your life for the better? And the Brewers Association used to call macrobrewers "crafty"... until they raised the white flag and joined them recently. The simple fact is most people begin to drink out of some character flaw. Shyness. Sadness. Gripping doubt. Existential angst. Crap dancing skills. You are British. But then, hopefully not too long after the teen years have passed, you wake up on the hardwood floor of a friends house laying on scattered snack foods and beer bottle tops as the LP needle skips again and again. For the rest of your lives you hear Bon Jovi's words "...oh-oh, living on a pra... ...oh-oh, living on a pra... oh-oh, living on a pra... ...oh-oh, living on a pra..." and remember how close you came to believing that beer improved your life.
But then you are stuck. All your friends have degrees of alcoholism, mostly functional... except your friend Smedly struggles. You move on a bit. You start to like other things. So do many friends. The decent wine at your wife's co-worker's dinner party. The Manhattan someone stuck in your hand. Then you have a better beer. And you try asparagus. You make coffee from beans you grind in the kitchen. And you learn to make a decent flank steak. And that decent beer tastes good with the flank steak and no longer reminds you of the dill pickle chips that you found under the sofa when you woke up on the floor that time. And you've got plenty of hobbies and commitments that have nothing to do with beer. You can have a conversation over lunch with people you barely know without the tiny crutch of alcohol. And you lose some weight, your skin gets better and the doctor is pleased.
Beer? It's a condiment. And you don't put mustard on your breakfast bowl of cereal. It doesn't make your life better anymore than sugar snap peas do. Then again... sugar snap peas are mighty fine.