I’m tired of whining about my weight, so this week, I decided something big. I decided to give up my beloved beer.
It only takes one look at my blog header to know that I’m someone who enjoys going out and having fun. Despite all the marathons I’ve run, I’ve always been insistent that it be balanced with fun. (The guy I’m currently seeing told me he was surprised when he met me in person, because he thought based on my profile that I would want to eat salad all day long and never touch alcohol and run a million miles a day. A million miles a day is probably accurate in terms of the speed of my life, but otherwise, totally off the mark.) However, something has to give if I want to drop these pounds, and I’ve decided that trading beer for wine is a good quick hit. Ever since taking a wine tasting course in college, I love wine as well, and it’s a lot harder for me to toss back than a few pints of good beer – so the trade should be a good way to ease up on the drinking and cut a fair number of calories.
At the same time, I do believe strongly that all good things should come in moderation (blah blah cliched talk, I know). But when I think about it, I’m not drinking beer in moderation. Not because of how much I drink when I’m out (it’s usually not more 3 or 4, and that would be a big night for me) – it’s more that beer has become my go-to drink when I go out, whereas it should be something for special occasions. So that’s what I’m going to move toward – beer as a special occasion drink instead of an every weekend thing. No limiting how much I drink on that special occasion (usually me getting tired and falling asleep from the alcohol is limit enough), but cutting back to having beer only once a month or so. The idea is not necessarily to specify exactly how often I drink beer (some months there may be several big events and some there may be none), but more to make it a planned occasion that I can get excited about in advance, rather than “oh I’m out so maybe I’ll have a pint or three.”
What quantifies a special occasion? Right now, I have three instances coming up in the next two months: my birthday in mid-July (which I’m holding at my favorite beer bar in the city – blog readers welcome!), the Half Sauer Half Kraut marathon in mid-June (which is German themed and has beer along the course plus a beer garden at the finish, which is the specific reason I decided to run it), and the American Craft Beer Festival this weekend.
So now let’s get off the subject of cutting back and throw caution to the wind. Ohhhhh boy to that last one – this is going to be a doozy! I really ought to be giving up beer for six months after all the beer I’m going to get my hands on tomorrow. I am currently sitting on a flight on my way to Boston and drooling all over the spreadsheet someone over at BeerAdvocate was kind enough to create for the festival. 561 beers will be offered (at least, that is what’s announced – a lot of breweries will probably also bring limited quantities of a few surprises not listed), and my goal is to get through them all. To heck with 400 unique beers this year; let’s go for 1000!
But I did go through the list to highlight the ones I really want to try… and it was quite a bit morethan I initially anticipated.
Allagash Brewing Co – Allagash Peeterman
Amherst Brewing Co – Pistachio Crème Pie
Amherst Brewing Co – Wedding Witte
Anderson Valley Brewing Co – Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Ass Kisser Ales – Berry Nice Ass’ Strawberry Wit
Ass Kisser Ales – Porter Pounder Smoked Porter
Bear Republic Brewing Co – Hop Rod Rye
Beer Works Fenway – Rosemary IPA
Boulevard Brewing Co – Saison Brett
Boulevard Brewing Co – Test Saison Noir
Bridge Brew Works LLC – Coffee Stout
Cambridge Brewing Co – Arquebus
Cambridge Brewing Co – Blunderbuss Barley Wine
Clown Shoes – Blaecorn Unidragon
Cody Brewing Co – Gee Mans Lemon Honey Hypnotic Tonic
Cody Brewing Co – Honey Gingah Pale Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Festina Pêche
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Theobroma
Enlightenment Ales – Enlightenment Brut- Bière De Champagne
Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout
Goose Island – Imperial IPA
Harpoon Brewery – Harpoon Ginger Wheat (100 Barrel Series #42)
Heavy Seas Beer – Letter Of Marque 2012 (Tripel Wit)
Ipswich Ale Brewery – Ipswich Oatmeal Stout
Jack’s Abby Brewing – Barrel Aged Bière De Garde
Jack’s Abby Brewing – Hoponius Union
Jack’s Abby Brewing – Smoke & Dagger
Lawson’s Finest Liquids – Double Sunshine IPA
Left Hand Brewing Co – Good Juju (Ginger Ale)
Maine Beer Co – Lunch
Martha’s Exchange – Martha’s Smoked Porter
Mayflower Brewing Co – Mayflower Porter
NoDa Brewing Co – Coco Loco
NoDa Brewing Co – Ghost Hop White IPA
Paper City Brewery Co – Fogbuster Coffee House Ale
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project – Fluffy White Rabbits
Prodigal Brewing Co – Brother Mutt’s Smoked Marzenbier
Redhook Ale Brewery & Cataqua Public House – Sunny Side Up – Peached Triple
Sixpoint – Apollo
Somerville Brewing Co – Slumbrew Porter Square Porter
Stone Brewing Co – Double Bastard Ale
Stone Brewing Co – Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – Duck-Rabbit Barrel Aged Baltic Porter
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout
Thomas Hooker Ales & Lagers – Chocolate Truffle Stout
Three Heads Brewing – Bromigo Smoked Maple Amber
Throwback Brewery – White Heron Chai Porter
Tröegs Brewing Co – Flying Mouflan
Watch City Brewing Co – Senchual Green Tea IPA
Weyerbacher Brewing Co – Merry Monks’ Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co – Marionberry Hibiscus Gose
Ummmm yeah. 57 beers. Served in 2oz pours, but still! I’m sure there’s no way I’ll try even half of those. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves here – I’m not disciplined enough to only taste the ones on my list – if a brewer is handing me a sample of something else, I’m probably not going to turn it down. (Screw moderation; for this beer fest, I’m going big or going home.)
Since I know a lot of you out there are beer lovers (why else would anyone love running? Kidding!), this post may be making you a bit jealous… so I’ve decided to let you in on at least a bit of fun. Contest time!
To enter, please comment with the number of beers you think I’ll get to try at tomorrow’s festival (remember, 2oz pours, though in many cases I’m sure I’ll take a few sips and then give up in the interest of trying as many as possible – and that will still “count”). Instead of Price is Right “closest without going over” rules, though, I’m going with closest without going under. Give me a goal and I will reach it! (Just please don’t insist that I try all 561 beers or you may never find out the results because I will die of liver poisoning). The winner will get some kind of beer-related prize in the mail, yet-to-be-determined because it will depend on the rules for shipping alcohol to your state (yes, state – sorry, US readers only). If I can’t send you actual beer, I have a few other prize ideas up my sleeve, so hopefully you won’t be disappointed.
Contest closes tomorrow, Saturday June 2, at 1pm – at which point my Twitter feed will start blowing up with how I’m doing. (Though if my phone dies, I will be carrying pen and paper to keep tracking/rating beers in order to update Untappd post-festival). Winner will be announced Saturday night or whenever I am coherent enough to post again.
One last thing – if you are a female runner in the New York area, I’ll be leading a group run on Sunday morning through Urban Girl Squad, followed by a seminar on tips for running in the summer heat. Sign up and come on out for a great run-the-beers-off morning! (Note that I will not actually be attempting a 50 miler, which is approximately how far I’d have to go to truly “run the beers off,” but we’ll do short distances of 2-6 miles depending on which group you choose; later in the day, I’ll also be heading out for a non-sponsored 10 miler if you’d like to join that too).
Happy Friday and happy drinking!