Let me preface today’s post with an IRL anecdote:
I woke up this morning to go to work at my normal time, 2:30 am. Today was my first day back to work after nine days off, so you can imagine my mood at that time. As I got into my car, it wouldn’t start. It almost started, clicked a bunch and well, I knew my battery was toast. What was strange about this is that there wasn’t any sort of warning. Sure, I didn’t drive my car for the three days I was gone, but I did drive it several times after being home — enough you’d think the alternator was keeping it charged. There was no hesitation yesterday when I made a few stops, but it is what it is. Thankfully my girlfriend tends to wake up when my alarm goes off, so she hadn’t yet drifted back to sleep and allowed me to take her car to work. I asked my mom to give her a ride to work and to get our son to school and that was that. The day was a standard Monday otherwise and nothing overly eventful happened. After work I had to go get this battery taken care of, so I took the old one out of my car and loaded it into hers. They couldn’t find my warranty information at AutoZone despite the fact that I know I bought it there, probably about four years ago. Whatever the case, I needed a battery so I got a new one, but would you believe they cost $150 these days? I remember the days when you could pick up a half-decent video card for that price. Anyway, I got the battery put in and all is well with the world again. It did sour my mood on writing a bit, hence the later in the day post.
Having had that sort of day, I decided to browse some of the community’s posts before trying to jot something down myself. I came across this post by Roger from Contains Moderate Peril, and I thought I could offer some thoughts on the topic as well.
Like Roger, I tend to get seasonal beers when their seasons come around, but I don’t tend to every really drink light beers (pilsners and the like). If you go back to the beginnings of my drinking career, I didn’t even drink beer. We mostly bought bottles of cheap spirits and drowned them in juice or soda and got our kicks that way. At some point I was introduced to “good” beer, which prior to I hadn’t had much outside of the big ones like Budweiser or Miller. Some early roommates of mine introduced me to Heineken and other “skunky” brews that I took a liking to, eventually graduating to things like Sam Adams (and a variety of their seasonal brews) and Guinness. I still enjoy the latter two, but I tend to only drink dark beers, outside of IPAs.
That was a more recent addition the repertoire. When I met my girlfriend, I remember still buying 12 to 18 packs of Miller Lite and other watery beers, and we would drink and drink and pee and pee and well, you get the picture. At some point someone bought her some Lagunitas IPAs and from there she was hooked. I didn’t immediately enjoy them, but had tried and enjoyed a few IPAs in my day, so I started an experimental phase and found a number of great tasting IPAs that I buy on a regular basis. I also found beers like the Old Rasputin Russian beer that is fabulous – it’s dark, it’s strong, and it tastes good.
The main reason for enjoying IPAs though is less about the flavor and more about the alcohol percentage. See, with your typical Bud Light you’re probably getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5% alcohol per volume. Most IPAs start around 6%, so you’re already doubling up on the percentage and are able to drink less beers, hence less bathroom breaks. It also means only needing to pick up a 6 pack for that gathering, rather than an 18 pack, and yeah, you’ll probably have to be that guy who doesn’t share but fuck em, right? It was BYOB and you handled shit son! Anyway, many of the IPAs that I drink are in the 7.5-9% range, and I find that I don’t have to drink too many to get a nice buzz, and when you have to nap in the middle of the day, that’s a good way to bring it on. If nothing else, I’m now a cheaper date. I’m sure my lady appreciates that.
2 thoughts on “How Drinking Habits Change”
Guinness Foreign Extra AKA Export Guinness. Comes in at 7.5% and goes down nicely.
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It works the other way, too. In my drinking days in the 1980s and 90s I preferred to drink lower alcohol, lighter beers because a) I think they taste much better – fresher, cleaner, sharper, way more refreshing – and b) I could drink as many as my pals and last longer before everything fell apart. We did all drink a lot, though.
Later I did move to heavier, stronger beers and drink fewer of them but that had more to do with the social aspects than a calculated decision. If you’re just meeting a few people for two or three hours then going home it’s a lot different to starting at midday and carrying on until you all pass out at two in the morning.
By the mid-90s I’d all but stopped drinking any kind of beer or spirits and about all I drank was red wine for another decade and a half, except when I was on holiday in hot countries, when a cold beer is perfect. I haven’t drunk alcohol at all for several years now. I didn’t decide to stop and I wasn’t at all worried about my drinking – I literally just stopped without meaning to. I had a cold and Inever drink when I’m ill only this time I never started again when the cold went. The only exception is, again, those foreign holidays in hot countries, when I drink a few beers and have a few glasses of red wine in the evening. Then I come home and nothing for 6-8 months until we go away again.
The most interesting thing to me is that, haveing drunk alcohol most days of my life for the best part of thirty years I found it made no discernible difference to my mood or health when I stopped. Didn’t miss it for a moment, didn’t fee lany different. If I’d known that I’d have stopped a quarter century earlier and bought a house with the money I saved!
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