I Can’t Enjoy Craft Beers Like A Responsible Adult

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I'm Engaging In The Chase, Part VI

I am what some people around here would call a “power drinker.” If I go out somewhere and there’s alcohol involved, I am either going to get absolutely lit up or use every ounce of restraint in my body to not drink at all. It’s not my most endearing characteristic, but it’s just how I’m wired. Either go hard in the paint or go home, none of this sissy in-between stuff. I have my college days to thank for this lovely behavior when drinking a dozen Keystone Lights in a pre-game was normal and it wouldn’t leave you in too bad of shape for the rest of the night’s drinking.

Now that I’m graduated and have a real job, I can thankfully afford to purchase nice beers with a little bit more kick in terms of ABV and flavor that isn’t reminiscent of horse piss. No matter your stance on how craft beers are named, (Personally, I am unsophisticated and juvenile enough that I revel in saying inappropriate names out loud and showing other people the label) you can’t deny their superior flavor and alcohol content. I love that I can actually enjoy the taste of a beer and get hammered off less of them then I can with most macrobrews. Even though I still love the taste of an ice-cold Bud Diesel on a warm summer day and would never turn one down, I don’t buy into the faux-macho view that craft beers are for hipsters or girly men and have a vast preference for craft beers. I’m also not that big a fan of cocktails and mixed drinks, so beer is almost always my drink of choice for any occasion.

Unfortunately, the one thing I didn’t leave behind in undergrad was my consumption habits. In fact, I would say they have amplified since I have such easy access to craft beers nowadays. The delicious flavor of IPAs, ales, and other styles of beers that have proliferated over the past decade always leaves me craving more and more after each drink. And since these beers are so high in ABV, I get inebriated quicker, which leads me to making stupid choices sooner. One moment I’m enjoying a nice buzz off a delicious, hoppy 7.0% ABV IPA, then the next thing you know I’m on my sixth drink and riding full steam ahead on the Terrible Decision Train.

Predictably, these habits are not without their punishing consequences. Craft beers do cost a decent amount of money, and when you’re ordering a bunch of them at a bar like I do, your tab starts to really rack up. Because they are so high in ABV, the hangover is usually pretty gnarly. This is especially troublesome on work nights, as you can imagine. Take last night for example. The Blackhawks played the Blues in Game 7 of their series, and the wire-to-wire stress of watching it led to a lot of drinking. To give you an idea of how things were going: When Chicago’s Brent Seabrook hit a shot late in the third period that went off BOTH goalposts without going in the net, I damn near shotgunned a Goose Island IPA. Nothing like nervous-drinking during a playoff game to get you thoroughly blasted on a weeknight.

There’s some obvious solutions to these problems listed above, but they all involve compromises I really don’t want to make. I could drink light beers if I know I’m going to drink a bunch in one sitting, but I like the taste of craft beers too much to give that up. I could stop drinking on work nights, but I like going out for sporting events and trivia too much for that. I could also exercise this thing called “Moderation” when it comes to craft beers, but that’s crazy talk and I simply will not entertain that notion. So since I’m too stubborn to make any changes, it looks like my aforementioned Terrible Decision Train is going to find itself derailed in the Land of Alcoholism. But at least I’ll enjoy the taste of it on the way down.

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