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Craft Beer and Alcoholism

Well said. Especially on beer festivals. I don’t need to drink in conference centers.

http://beergraphs.com/bb/344-high-funct ... d-alcohol/

Great article!

Wonderful piece. Very well written too. Thanks for sharing!

Yes, great article. Surprised to see it was based in Ohio. Not sure we need 21% beer. I think anything over 12% will be more gimmick than beer. Worried this might open the door to some kinda BMC high ABV “malt beverage” BS.

Wow, just googled to see what the strongest beer in the world was now: Snake Venom 67.5% ABV… Time to throw away my Samiclaus bottle collection.

I have found that in the short time that I have been involved in this hobby, my alcohol intake has dropped significantly. I tend to buy more expensive good beer when I buy and I drink them less often. And I seem to limit consumption of my own brews to 2 in a night. I used to go out and buy a 12 pack of PBR or Shaeffer and drink em till they were gone. Not so much any more.

But also, we all know that ANY hobby or activity that you undertake can be life consuming and dangerous with excessive use. That holds true for people who make eating an obsession as well as for people who make religious faith an obsession, as well as for people who make drug use an obsession. EVERY activity you undertake can destroy your life and the lives of those around you when they are done to excess.

When we choose to do something as a hobby we tend to put a lot of effort into that thing and so the potential is there for excess. A craft beer enthusiast who becomes an alcoholic is equivalent to a person who finds God and decides to join a cult. Equivalent to a person who finds drugs and becomes a habitual, daily user and their lives are destroyed. But many of us craft beer enthusiasts are like the person who finds God and decides to make sure they pray every day and try to lead “good” lives and go to church on Sunday. Or we are like the person who finds marijuana and says “you know, I would like to use this stuff once a month just to get loose of the stress of the world around me”. If I drink 2 beers every night after work I am rather certain that the end of the world is not near for me.

High functioning alcoholic? High functioning drug user? High functioning anything? If you are high functioning then that would suggest that whatever you are doing is not impacting you ability to be a productive member of society. It may reduce your life span but that’s all your own choice. I have a friend who is much older than I am who has been a daily and habitual pot smoker since long before I met him. He was a very smart person and worked as an electrical engineering technician for all of his life. He was reliable and never missed work. Reached positions of management. Exercised every day and still does since he retired 2 years ago. He is in his mid 60’s and looks like he has a body in better shape than many 40 year olds I know. He is what you would call high functioning drug user. Is it a problem. I don’t think so. He does not think so. In society he was and is successful and self sufficient. Does it matter what he puts into his body? If it makes him happy and does not impact others negatively what’s the problem.

Same deal for the craft beer enthusiast. In the population of us, a percentage will drink excessively and destroy themselves. The majority will drink and continue on with life as normal. If we are “high functioning alcoholics” then so be it. We are productive and we are happy doing what we do. Why should we worry about how often we have a beer ?

@zwiller, agreed on big beers, but I would still like to try Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Brew Dog. If for no other reason since its probably the best beer name ever conjured, and it was, at one point, the strongest. Then the German place out-boozed Brew Dog, then Brew Dog brewed Sink the Bismarck! to outbooze them, invoking old school anti-Kaiserism.

also well said, basement. As with just about anything, the danger is ‘it’ controlling you as opposed to the other way around.

And as usual, South Park says it best.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/1 ... -lidey-day.

Great article! Ever since I started brewing, my drinking habits have changed a bit for the worse. I used to drink 4-5 high ABV beers maybe once a week. My intent was obviously to get drunk. Now that I brew my own, I have found myself drinking 1-2 a night but almost every night. I almost never get buzzed anymore.

My doctor did the usual gamut of blood tests a couple weeks ago and when the results came in, his first question was “are you either drinking a lot more or taking aspirin regularly?” Apparently there were some high numbers for some of my liver tests. I haven’t taken aspirin since I was a toddler so it’s obvious this new hobby is having unhealthy effects for me. (I’m in my mid 30’s btw). I now limit myself to 6 drinks a week. Setting that limit really shows me how often I was drinking cause it’s REALLY hard for me to budget so few drinks. I think I’ve successfully done it once in the last 3 weeks that I’ve been doing it and have been ending up at around 8-12 on the weeks I didn’t.

My problem seems to be enjoying “just one.” While 2-3 seems to be my sweet spot. Even with 2-3 mid-high ABV beers I don’t even get much of a buzz. I just REALLY enjoy the beer. The fact that it’s my own beer makes it even more enjoyable.

Good article.

I only attend a few festivals a year, so I make every effort to enjoy them. By that, I mean to drink responsibly and try as many beers as I can. I do more “tasting” than drinking. It’s easy to see the difference in attendees: the majority of the crowd is there to enjoy beer; a smaller percentage is there to get “wasted” and drink their “money’s worth.”

At last year’s Blue Chip Brewfest in NorthWest Indiana, they actually had a line put on their pint glasses to indicate the level to which those pouring could fill the glass to (1/3 of the pint glass). It seemed to really cut down on overall drunkenness.

Not to be judgmental, but anyone attending festivals just to get drunk should just go elsewhere. Show some respect to the brewers and those wanting to appreciate the craft.

:cheers:

[quote=“mattnaik”]Great article! Ever since I started brewing, my drinking habits have changed a bit for the worse. I used to drink 4-5 high ABV beers maybe once a week. My intent was obviously to get drunk. Now that I brew my own, I have found myself drinking 1-2 a night but almost every night. I almost never get buzzed anymore.

My doctor did the usual gamut of blood tests a couple weeks ago and when the results came in, his first question was “are you either drinking a lot more or taking aspirin regularly?” Apparently there were some high numbers for some of my liver tests. I haven’t taken aspirin since I was a toddler so it’s obvious this new hobby is having unhealthy effects for me. (I’m in my mid 30’s btw). I now limit myself to 6 drinks a week. Setting that limit really shows me how often I was drinking cause it’s REALLY hard for me to budget so few drinks. I think I’ve successfully done it once in the last 3 weeks that I’ve been doing it and have been ending up at around 8-12 on the weeks I didn’t.

My problem seems to be enjoying “just one.” While 2-3 seems to be my sweet spot. Even with 2-3 mid-high ABV beers I don’t even get much of a buzz. I just REALLY enjoy the beer. The fact that it’s my own beer makes it even more enjoyable.[/quote]

Similar age, previously similar consumption habits and prior struggles with limits. One thing I found helpful since kegging is that I will RARELY pour a full pint. Most times I just want to try it and see how the beer is tasting. Now if friends are over and we’re watching football/hockey/hoops/golf, I will definitely have a few. There was a study recently talking about as little as an ounce of beer can relax people the same way as a typical serving (basically that it stimulated the same areas of the brain and released similar amounts of dopamine).

Another thing I have learned through the hobby: there is NOTHING like the first pint, the first sip even. We have more because our brain tells us it feels good, but as self-proclaimed (and actual) connoisseurs, it is our responsibility to know the difference. Don’t get me wrong, having a couple with friends is great, but there is nothing like that first pint. I find a lot of the time now, I limit myself to that first (and only) pint.

When I do go to a festival (and I do sometimes, my comment above was kind of in jest), I find that I am one of the few people that dumps samples. In most cases, unless it is UNREAL or something I can’t get, I take a small sip and toss the rest. Wasteful? Maybe. But I find better to waste the beer than my liver if given the choice.

I also started roasting my own coffee, which is a whole 'nuther universe/subculture of geekdom, but I usually limit myself there to 12-18 ounces per day and almost always have a 2-3:1 water:coffee ratio. I read somewhere that caffeine is more addictive than heroin. Spare me with your non-addictive alcohol :mrgreen:

Very interesting.

Not that I want to be the first one to get defensive but, is alcoholism in the beer industry more or less problematic than morbid obesity in the gourmet food industry? Sure it’s there; but not EVERY chef is 400 pounds and popping Lipotor by the handful.

Yes people drink too much at beer festivals. People eat too much at Thanksgiving too. Should we discourage thanksgiving gatherings? Should we do better to encourage people to behave themselves at Thanksgiving? I can completely understand why those inside the booths would hate beer festivals, but for the majority of the attendees it’s a once a year event. Maybe it’s less of an issues for “Food festivals” because binge eating is less disturbing to witness than binge drinking, but one day of binge drinking does not make one an alcoholic any more than a day of binge eating makes one a glutton.

And frankly, an insider in ANY industry is going to have stories about the dark underbelly of that industry.

As for my personal drinking, as my appreciation for beer has grown, my appreciation for hard liquor has dropped. I definitely consume less alcohol than I used to. Now if only I could drop 50 pounds, because I do have a bit of a gluttony problem. >sigh<

[quote=“JMcK”]Very interesting.

Not that I want to be the first one to get defensive but, is alcoholism in the beer industry more or less problematic than morbid obesity in the gourmet food industry? Sure it’s there; but not EVERY chef is 400 pounds and popping Lipotor by the handful.

Yes people drink too much at beer festivals. People eat too much at Thanksgiving too. Should we discourage thanksgiving gatherings? Should we do better to encourage people to behave themselves at Thanksgiving? I can completely understand why those inside the booths would hate beer festivals, but for the majority of the attendees it’s a once a year event. Maybe it’s less of an issues for “Food festivals” because binge eating is less disturbing to witness than binge drinking, but one day of binge drinking does not make one an alcoholic any more than a day of binge eating makes one a glutton.

And frankly, an insider in ANY industry is going to have stories about the dark underbelly of that industry.

As for my personal drinking, as my appreciation for beer has grown, my appreciation for hard liquor has dropped. I definitely consume less alcohol than I used to. Now if only I could drop 50 pounds, because I do have a bit of a gluttony problem. >sigh<[/quote]
Pretty much my sentiments as well. It’s an alarmist article and it annoys me. There are problems in every industry.

I think the main thing is drinking responsibly. I do most of my drinking at home. I drink 2-3 beers a day during the week, and a few more on weekends. So what? I’m at home, I’m safe, I’m healthy, I ride a bike everywhere, my blood pressure is perfect. Articles like these offend me and I take them personally. Like I’m some kind of alcoholic because I drink beer every day and like to get an occasional buzz? Yeah, whatever.
What about all the people that can’t get their day started before a cup of coffee or 4? And the people that get headaches if they don’t have coffee every day.
Oh and all the fat a$$es in the world that eat fast food and don’t get off their butts and get some exercise. Yeah, I’m not worried about a few beers.
Treat your body well, eat decently and exercise, and 2 or 3 beers a day isn’t going to hurt you.

I have had an experience where a bartender at a brewpub was falling down drunk. And it was uncomfortable for me. THAT is a problem. That’s a problem of not drinking responsibly. I really really hope he didn’t drive home that day.

Interesting article. I like how it seems to promote the sessionable beers, but the author’s perceived attitude towards alcohol consumption is notably American, as opposed to European. Specifically, I’m talking about this:

(emphasis added)

Here, the author is making a definitive statement linking regular beer consumption with (negative) psychological or physiological health effects. He may be qualified to make that statement with respect to his own health, but I don’t think he’s doing that; I don’t interpret his statement as a comment on the state of his physical condition. Instead, I interpret his use of the word “healthy” as “what would other people think?”, and believe he has incorrectly applied the value of “what other people would think” (i.e., they think it is unhealthy, psychologically and/or physically) as some sort of de-facto statement that applies universally.

It’d be like me asking myself…’'Has there been one day in the last 60 in which I haven’t played a videogame?" Perhaps I don’t have a “healthy” answer for that, but that would be only in the way in which other people think. My physical condition, incidentally, has significantly improved in the past 60 days. My psychological condition hasn’t changed. :smiley:

[quote=“Helvetica”] a smaller percentage is there to get “wasted” and drink their “money’s worth.”
[/quote]

I’ll admit to being guilty of this. You & two friends could sample (i.e., 24 12-oz bottles, each a different style, 4 oz samples) as much as you could reasonably drink at any festival for $20, each. Maybe less. Yet festivals charge $60-100 per person. Comparatively, beer festivals are rip-you-off expensive, and that only fuels the desire in me (and a lot of other money-conscious people) to ensure that it’s a good value.

So what we have here (By the article I read) is an alcoholic that has just realized he may be. I agree that beers have gone way overboard with ABV, but I don’t drink anymore or less since I have discovered this rewarding hobby.

It’s absolutely disgusting. My cousins have a bottle and shared it with about 10 of us and it was universally despised. It tastes like fire and blood. (Seriously, the big problem with it is it’s hugely peaty which makes it taste like smoke… and not in a good way.) We recapped it-- it comes with a cap, because it is so godawful, they must assume no one will finish it-- and tried it again and the second time around it was equally repulsive.

This article makes some valid points, I suppose, but I’m getting really sick of reading the words “drink responsibly” on just about every bottle of beer I ever buy. I’m an adult and I don’t need to be preached to about how to drink beer, especially not by the people whose beer I’m drinking…and BUYING. The bottom line, in my opinion, regarding the real price of beer is just that…price. The stuff is just getting ridiculously expensive, and most of the people who buy the stuff can’t really afford to buy as much of it as they ( we) do. If people are going to get drunk, they’re not going to be stopped by some pretentious words of caution printed on a beer bottle label. They’re going to stop drinking when they run out of money, or credit. Or at least they’ll slow down, or throw in a cheap beer every once in a while to keep the cost of their habit from getting totally out of hand. I don’t know. I’m not trying to make any grand statement, I guess. I’m just getting tired of the ridiculous modern-day temperance movement that seems to be growing on a daily basis. If we really wanted to deal with the problem of alcoholism in this country, we’d adopt the same kind of age restrictions that almost all of the rest of the civilized western world has used for centuries. To tell someone that they can vote, marry, and risk their life fighting in a war for their country, but that they can’t have a beer, is beyond ridiculous, I have to say. It’s totally insulting to the democratic sentiments of any free-thinking person, and it’s just plain not working as a deterrent to alcoholism. I could go on for quite some time about this particular issue, but I think I’ve made my point.

I knew I wouldn’t be the only one who was offended by this article and thought it was bogus. There’s some good points made in this thread.
I guess it’s not that bogus, but the idea that because I drink everyday (and not really all that much, 2 or 3 beers average) that that makes me an alcoholic. I just despise this mentality. And making a conscious effort not to drink suggests you may have a problem. Depends on what you’re doing it for. Sometimes I take a day off just to refresh my palate, not because I think I’ve drank too much in the last couple days. If I have, then I only drink small samples or something.
I mean, really, this doesn’t have to be all that complicated. If you’re not doing stupid sht, being late to work because you’re hung over, getting pulled over, getting into fights, etc. then you probably don’t have a problem, ie. it’s not all bad. Life’s too short. Tune out the bullsht.

If you can walk away, saying, “I’ll have a drink when I want a drink, not because I need a drink.” then you may not have a problem.

If you can walk away, saying, “I’ll have a drink when I want a drink, not because I need a drink.” then you may not have a problem.[/quote]

Replace the words “may not” with “do not” in that last sentence, and I’ll agree.

My take on the overall article is not alarmist but simply that drinking craft beer does not exonerate one from drinking responsibly.

“We don’t talk about alcoholism in connection with craft beer. There’s an implicit assumption that craft beer drinkers’ foremost interest is in quality, taste and craftsmanship, and that developing an appreciation for finer beer signals a progression away from antisocial relationships with alcohol that are characterized by bingeing on swill just to get shithoused. Why would anyone, the thinking seems to go, spend so much time and money on high end speciality beers if all one wanted to do was get drunk?”

IE Knocking back bottles of fine wine in a crystal glass somehow seems more acceptable than shotgunning a case of Keystone Light… (almost threw up after I typed that :lol: )

I think the article had some good points about the excessive consumption of some individuals, but I have to agree that the idea of saying “I’ve had a beer every day in the last 60 days and that’s unhealthy” is bunk.

And don’t get me started on those stupid warning labels on EVERYTHING now days. The ones I like the best are on some of the premium cigars I’ve had - says “smoking causes lung cancer” or something like that. Really? You’re not supposed to inhale a cigar, so how does smoking a cigar cause lung cancer?

I think JMcK got it right saying that moderation is the key. And since everyone is different, there are different levels of moderation. My mom can’t drink more than a cup of regular coffee because the caffeine gives her jitters. On the other hand, I need 4 cups of regular coffee just to get fully alert and functioning every morning. Does that mean 4 cups is excessive? Not really. Actually, it’s pretty moderate for me, I used to consume 1-2 pots of coffee a day back in college (along with a gallon of home-made sweet tea, 2 liters of Mountain Dew and who knows how much alcohol). I’ve grown up since then. 10oz of OJ, 4 cups of coffee, then water the rest of the day, A BEER and weak iced tea in the evening. I know I’m healthier now than I was in college.

And yes, I highlighted A BEER. I average about a beer a day. Does that make me a raging alcoholic? Probably not. Actually now that I started homebrewing I’m consuming less beer than before. I used to drink a pint a day. Now I’m drinking 12 oz a day (mostly because I’m bottling and not kegging and 12 oz bottles are easier to come by than 16 oz). I don’t see a problem with it. Just like I don’t see a problem enjoying a fine premium cigar or a glass of a nice ruby port wine. I’d argue that I’m probably healthier now that I’ve discovered the finer points in life, I’m far more relaxed now. No matter how stressful things get, I pull out a fine cigar and a good beer or glass of good wine and either sit down and relax or take my GSD for a long walk and all my troubles are gone for awhile. I lose myself in enjoying things and suddenly life doesn’t seem so bad anymore. I don’t need to be drunk to do that, I just need something I enjoy.

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