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Finding beer balance (The Session no.74)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, beer bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session and the upcoming topics, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s archive page.
Logo of The Session, Beer Blogging Friday

This month’s Session is hosted by Bryan Roth of the blog This Is Why I’m Drunk. His chosen topic: Finding beer balance.

“Beer is more than the alcohol that goes into it – it’s the passion, history and community. Beer is also just one of many interests I have in my life, whether it’s exercise, continuing my education or keeping tabs on how social media impacts society.

Is beer your vice? Is beer your reward? Does beer really have to be either? Do you find lifestyle balance through work, hobbies, family or maybe even dry days.”

James eats the horn of a cow statue that has been painted like a beer

I run for my beer. That is how I balance beer’s most obvious requirement – health. I discovered the synergy of craft beer and running around the same time in my life, a few years ago, after a lifetime of bad health and no fitness. But I have blogged about that here several times before.

Balance is a running theme across my posts, because I strongly believe in its importance throughout life in order to stay healthy, happy and grounded. I guess it’s a direct reflection on my desire to not be like I once was. You’ve probably already read how long distance running and other regular exercise, along with dry days or weeks (and the occasional completely dry month with other diet constraints) helps keep the kilojoules/calories of my beer consumption in check. After years of obesity and depression, I aim to never be so unfit and unhealthy again…because they were dark days. Running is my ever present counterweight to beer intake. As hard as it is, accomplishment of races and fun runs is what keeps me going.

Yes, I do drink a lot, so I try to run and workout in proportion to my intake. Yikes…I’ve already drunk a shitload this year, especially after last week’s beer holiday in Western Australia! That must be why I’m running two half-marathons and my first full marathon later this year. Balance? Pleasure vs pain!

James on a bike under the sign for the Rostrevor Hop Gardens

An effort to stay balanced by biking to where the beer grows, whilst also seeing “beer” from a different perspective to help balance my knowledge.

I also balance my beer through the variety I drink.

I enjoy spreading my beers across all styles, types and origins. I drink pale and dark beers, low alcohol beers and high alcohol beers. I try to balance my beer drinking across the full spectrum of beer. I’m never stuck on just hoppy beers or dark beers, or simply beers from craft brewers. I’ll drink beers from the little brewers and the massive brewers, artisan or industrial. Sure, I don’t drink them all in even numbers, but that’s not required for the balance my mouth seeks.

I balance my beer types because I seek sound perspective of good beer through experience. It always keeps my palate wanting more. I avoid becoming saturated by one type of beer.

Most of all, I seek beer balance through the contrast it provides on the work-life scales.

No, I don’t drink to cope with work. I equalise the chore of earning a livelihood by releasing the same skillset to share the beer love.

My job is a cross-section of communication, PR and marketing, social media, strategy planning and journalism. It’s all aligned to my ability and experience, but I’m not career driven. Don’t get me wrong…I work hard and do it well, but it’s not pleasure. So I need an equilibrium.

A younger me at Mountain Goat with pint of amber beer, pad and pen.

Where it started…a younger me at Mountain Goat with pint, pad and pen.

To date, my employment has always been a job. I’m not naturally gifted in any way that would support an income and I’ve never been given a ticket to easy street. I work for an income to feed, clothe and house myself. Outside of that, I want to balance the use my ability, experience and station in life to avoid eventually hating those parts of my capabilities. Beer blogging is my balance from the chore of writing as a task.

I love to gather knowledge, determine facts,  discover resources dissect information and learn about the past, present and future.

In my job, the topics that I do these things for can be forced. They are not natural passions, they are need-to-know, come with conditions and are directed by The Man.

With beer…I can do all of that but with a topic excites my natural interests and a context that frees me to explore the other half of me.

By communicating and writing about beer, I balance my desire and ability to be a writer and communicator by doing so in my own context. It’s easy and enjoyable because I love the context, which reflects my passions.

For work I toil over the careful, controlled, efficient, polished, diplomatic and authouritative requirements of writing.

When I blog and pump out social media about beer it can be loose, free flowing, unrestrained, haphazard and often “unprofessional”…colourful, creative, coarse, amateur and unbalanced (like this post!). It balances all the things I shouldn’t be at work.

A close up of the bloggers test with a beer tasting glass and a badge that says Media Pass

Beer media, balancing writing labor with fun writing.

Writing about beer also balances my knowledge, balances my opinions, and balances the beers I’m exposed to. It helps show me all sides to beer by opening up the background stories and multiple perspectives. It helps guide me to the steady point of beer enjoyment.

I seek to be balanced in every part of life, not by sitting in the middle, but by being open to all sides.

I’m still searching for the true point of balance. My body and mind tells me that I’m not there yet. Some times I’m on one side, sometimes I’m on the other. Like now, my mind is telling me that this is unbalanced…

…fuck…I must learn to write short articles and blog posts! My lack of balance in post length is a problem. Too many long posts consuming time. No snappy short posts helping to generate content and interest. And did you notice I’ve been writing about myself a hell of a lot lately? I should balance the fuck out of that! hmm….

Finding beer/any balance will probably be an eternal search…and it’s very important to me. Foremost, one must respect the facts of alcohol’s impact of human physiology. It’s hard to truly enjoy beer, or booze in general, if you are always awfully unbalanced with it.

Ultimately, beer is so diverse, complex and history-rich that the journey to find beer balance is forever interesting and so often exciting.

Then again…beer is my vice but beer is my reward. Ahh. Balance, cheers.

3 thoughts on “Finding beer balance (The Session no.74)

  1. Pingback: Balanced: A Round-Up of The Session | This Is Why I'm Drunk

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