One-upmanship, photography and education,
or how I learned to stop worrying and love beer…
With blurry memories of a pub crawl that may have gotten out of hand in December 2016 and suggestions of alcoholism in mind, I was looking for something to do for the new year. In truth, I had cut down a lot on beer in 2016, but was still prone to the odd ill-advised heavy drinking session once every couple of months. I had also cut down on going out as often – I used to love a good brunch, a couple of beers and a football* match at the weekend to relieve stress from work. I decided to address these two issues by coming up with a resolution that would help me rebuild my tolerance to beer and that would also allow me to get out more and rebuild a social life that I had left behind for various reasons.
On a less psychological level, I was also starting to get tired of drinking Harp, Guinness and the occasional red ale and so decided to search for a new favourite beer.
And so, 365 beers in a year began!
Upon researching this challenge, I found that quite a lot of people seem to do it each year. This was a little annoying so I started considering ways to make it more challenging. What about a leap year of beer? Drinking one beer more would be the very definition of one-upmanship, but the next leap year isn’t until 2020. So I thought screw it, I’ll do 500 different beers in a year.
Lists and photography
It began quite simply by trying a beer, making a note of it in my phone and giving it a mark out of ten. Then I ended up buying a little note book to keep a list of the beers – on the insistence of a friend, who seemed genuinely concerned that I may mistakenly try the same beer twice.
From then it developed into taking a picture of each beer as proof – thought a picture can only prove that I have been in the presence of the beer, not that I drank it. You will just have to take my word for it that I’ve tasted all these beers. Having said that, it has been difficult, but also fun trying to find different ways to take pictures of beer and make them look a little different. The early pictures, most of which will be put online before the end of the year, are all similar – grainy and badly lit. I got a new phone in February and since then the pictures have been of a better quality. The featured image above, is from a small reflection that I found in a picture of beer number 250 – La Corriveau.
The logical next step was to start this blog to keep a record of the year. Now I have a spreadsheet with information on all the beers I’ve tasted so far and several folders of pictures of beer and beer memorabilia to write about and post.
All this may seem a little odd, however, I have learned quite a lot from this experience. Here are a few thoughts…
I’ve a better knowledge and appreciation of the different types of beers.
I’ve a better knowledge of my own preferences and why I prefer them.
I’ve discovered many different bars that I would never have gone to before.
In researching the beers, I’ve learned a lot about the local craft beer culture and also how beer is made.
I’ve learned quite a bit of technical French vocabulary.
I’ve also learned a bit about Québécois and Canadian culture and folklore.
And most importantly I’ve found out how to say no after one beer (it’s rare but it happens now).
Hopefully, this has provided a little insight into the reasoning behind trying to drink 500 different types of beer in a single year. If not, feel free to leave a comment.
*proper football, the sort that involves kicking a ball with your foot unless you’re the goalkeeper