Beergraphs: "High Functioning: Craft Beer and Alcohol"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by jmk, Feb 12, 2014.

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  1. jmk

    jmk Initiate (86) May 8, 2008 Illinois


  2. tbaker397

    tbaker397 Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 West Virginia

    Great read. Truthfully I find myself drinking snd appreciating more and more pilsners. And I am a devoted hop head (my fridge consists of hop stoopid, sucks, the truth ans some god awful duclaw ipa) but only recently have I started drinking pilsners at bars and bought my first 6pk of eurotrash pilz. A vastly under appreciated style imo. Thanks for sharing the link
  3. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Thought a chunk of it was a bit on the inflammatory side. Especially this:

    "These are people with underlying mental health issues whose position in the industry or participation in the scene is normalizing unhealthy and self-destructive behavior"

    But he definitely raises some great points. Like the one around bottle shares. A few friends doing a vertical, or a side by side of some similar beers is one thing. But some of the larger ones, with dozens of people bringing multiple bottles - let's not pretend there's always a lot of appreciation going on - at least not later on in the event. It's just a bunch of guys getting hammered.

    I've always preferred lower-ABV beers anyway, so if there really is an upward trend - great. It's something I really miss about the UK. But right now, at least in NYC, lower-ABV options in beer bars are still a minority choice.
    cestlavie, Kyrojack and aasher like this.
  4. Bartos

    Bartos Defender (607) Mar 8, 2013 Florida

    Interesting article. Especially, for me personally, with CCB's Hunahpu Day coming up (not to mention our tasting groups semi-regular Stout tasting next week). I really enjoy Imperial Stouts, they are my favorite style. And most of my favorite beers are higher ABV those this proved really thought provoking. While I don't subscribe to the writer's ABV to cost calculation in choosing my beers when out, my preferred styles of beers (Stouts, Barleywines, barrel-aged beers, dark beers) does result in basically the same decisions as if I was choosing based upon ABV.
  5. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,532) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    There is nothing unhealthy or "not normal" about enjoying one's self. Or about learning how to taste beer and wine and consuming both as you do that. I think that most folks here enjoy their beer, keep their jobs and raise their families. But out professionals you are raining on a very natural parade. Have you ever been anywhere? Done anything? Celebrated? Made festivities over the arrival of a good friend on a day that was not designated as a day of celebration? Or just sat down to a meal that was paired with a most excellent beer or wine?
  6. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I don't particularly find that bit inflammatory at all. There are a good subset of people in the craft beer scene who mask a degree of alcoholism under the guise of a "hobby".
  7. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    That would seem to indicate everyone with drinking issues doesn't do those things, which is just untrue. Many do.
  8. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    I don't disagree with you. In fact I agree completely. But that statement is not stating that. It's basically stating that people with "mental health issues" (which is incredibly broad) in positions of influence within the beer scene, are negatively influencing others.

    Maybe I'm in a minority, but I think I can make my own decisions. If I see someone drinking too much, I'm not going to be swayed into thinking that that is admirable behavior, just because they are a bar/brewery owner, sales rep, or even the most epic trader on BA.
    mfnmbvp and Mebuzzard like this.
  9. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    There are people who can go to the larger tastings you mentioned such as beer festivals taste everything and still manage to not get completely drunk. It's simple and something I think more people should do and that's spitting. You still get to taste the beer and see if you'd like to try and buy some to enjoy later and you can try so many more beers at a festival this way.

    I should add Stouts and BA Stouts and DIPAs are my favorite styles. I look at beer fests as a chance to try new things not a place to get drunk.
    #9 BeerAssassin, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  10. nophunk

    nophunk Aspirant (232) Nov 27, 2011 Louisiana

    Valid points. I drink a lot, but I'm 23 and love craft beer. In college, I would often not drink for a week, or maybe throw back one beer after a long night of accounting homework. I certainly didn't drink miller lite and play video games all day like one of my roommates!

    Now I often have at least a beer a night, but I will try and take a night or two off a week. Sometimes that doesn't happen because of all the awesome beer mail I get :slight_smile: This past Friday I started not feeling super awesome, so I decided to take off of beer until yesterday when my Hill Farmstead box was going to arrive. Well it didn't arrive, but I had my first beer since Friday and it was nice. There were points in those 4 days where I was craving one, but it wasn't the end of the world going without one.

    In summation, everyone should hopefully be able to be realistic about their drinking habits and when too much is too much. I say I'm 23 because I don't see myself drinking this way when I'm 35, but I can't say for sure. I have no girlfriend at the present and a roommate who drinks good beer too, so why not split a Heady Topper or something after work?
  11. Newbiebeer

    Newbiebeer Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2012 Connecticut

    Thanks for posting this!
    I've wanted to write about craft beer and alcoholism (which I found to be the point of the article, not that we can enjoy Pilsners) but don't think I'm capable of writing a solid piece about it.

    I see it as sort of an elephant in the room thats ignored, especially at places like beer festivals. And yes, before people get all nitpicky, this clearly is not the case for everyone, but it's clearly relevant to the craft beer industry. As mentioned above, alcoholism can be masked as a "hobby".

    Alcoholism runs in my family and a craft beer hoppy seems dangerous. Every time I drink I ask myself "why am I drinking this beer?" Usually the answer is to sample something new and expand my palate, or to unwind after a long day. (which means drink 1-2) If you're prone to it being a problem I think you should ask yourself this. Once you need that drink, there is a problem. I like to take 2-3 days off a week just to remind myself there is no dependency. But that stuff can sneak up out of nowhere.

    I'm pretty young and I often think about giving up the craft beer hobby because is the enjoyment from it really worth the risk? Maybe not.
  12. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    You seem capable enough to me!

    I'm on the same boat - also runs in my family, and often I find myself questioning why I'm drinking something. I also take off a couple of days each week - but you're right, it's a fine line. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to how much and how often it's ok to drink. There are too many variables to count, but I agree it's something everyone should be thoughtful of.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  13. TheFlern

    TheFlern Initiate (0) May 9, 2009 Idaho

    Great article. I noticed the same things in myself a few months ago. I'm trying to cut back on the amount of beer I drink. I still drink everyday but I am not getting drunk. 1-2 pilsner/pale/porter isn't too bad, right? I try to keep my beer purchases to beers with less than 6% abv. I've also noticed that sale prices for lower ABV craft beers are more common. Perhaps because they aren't as popular as the higher ABV styles like IPAs or stouts?

    I will say that these lower ABV styles still have lots of room for growth and improvement within the craft beer industry. I'd like to see more brewers move in this direction and away from the bigger is better mentality. bigger isn't better, better is better.
    Roguer and rozzom like this.
  14. Sludgeman

    Sludgeman Poo-Bah (2,031) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    I worry about the alcoholism angle as well. But then again sky diving is a pretty risky hobby as well.
    fx20736, TastefulNudity and willbm3 like this.
  15. jeastman

    jeastman Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2013 New Hampshire

    I think a lot of people justify alcoholism with saying they drink for quality. That being said this article lacks a little focus. It talks about successful beers and breeding people who should get a sponsor. I do not drink to get drunk and I do not drink every day, I love all beers and in fact my favorite styles are among the lest ABV aggressive. I love saissons and lambics. I also love BT, KBS, BCBS and many other with high abv but seldom open the good ones in the back of the cellar.

    So does craft beer allow people to make substance abuse more socially acceptable? I would ask the same thing about marijuana being legalized (A little different but we are talking about substance abuse in front of our eyes bvs hidden). Current day we make idols and ditties out of prostitutes and have a government that lines the pockets of those that need it the least.... When do you say something it truly an issue. Is it opinion or is it science. So I depend on beer, hell no but I looooove drinking it and do so with moderation.
  16. Newbiebeer

    Newbiebeer Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2012 Connecticut

    I read your post right after I hit "submit" and sensed the similarities. I'm 23 as well, and like you mentioned dont see myself drinking like this at 35. But it's something to keep a close eye on.
    There are definitely a lot of factors.. Part of my morning routine is hanging out on the computer, checking some e-mails, FB, and BeerAdvocate. It can be 930am and I'm looking at people's latest hauls, or looking at upcoming releases or events. The point is from the moment I wake up until I go to bed, beer is being discussed. Friends text me during the day telling me about some beer they saw at X, or whatever. It's a hobby that can get tons of attention even when youre not drinking. This just adds to some of the concerns of alcoholism. Looking at some tasty DIPAs at 10am makes you want tasty DIPA at 10am, haha.
  17. Streaky

    Streaky Initiate (112) Mar 26, 2013 New Jersey

    Can't argue with any article that is pro-Pilsner.
  18. jmich24

    jmich24 Devotee (474) Jan 28, 2010 Michigan

    I work in the industry as a restaurant manager. Couple rules I abide by, absolutely no drinking at the restaurant and no drinking Mondays or Tuesdays. I generally keep consumption between 1 and 4 beers. I also always keep a "session" homebrew on tap. Almost never brew anything over 6-7 ABV. On tap right now is Session IPA-3.5% Oatmeal Stout- 4.75% Kriek Lambic 5.5% ABV.
  19. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    I'm 28. Trust me, you'll stop drinking like that long before 35.
  20. seeswo

    seeswo Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2010 Ohio

    Within whatever this craft beer culture is (I am coming from the perspective of a trader and regular festival attendee), I see the same variation in people's behaviors as you would see in other groups. You see highly responsible people alongside people who treat Tuesday and a special event the same.

    It is important for people to take note not to count 'beers', but instead count 12oz, 4-5% units. I can be easy to suggest that you've had one beer, but if that beer is a 16 oz HT, you've in fact had 2. That can snowball. It is easy to forget that, in theory, the consumption of 12oz of BCBS should take about 3x the time as the consumption of a 5% brown ale.
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  21. DoshBeerBalla

    DoshBeerBalla Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 Colorado

    From my understanding, you cannot spit beer like you can wine/spirits. In order to fully appreciate/experience all of the flavors, you need to actually drink it, not spit it. I have heard of reps cutting tastings short because the people they were pouring for insisted on spitting. Anyone else has any information on this?
    Crafts_and_recreation likes this.
  22. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (757) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Most of us drink too much. (according to the literature) The truth is we enjoy something that can be destructive. Be smart about it, be careful with it, and look out for your friends, too.
  23. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Definitely. Go to any beerfest and you will see a lot of people "respecting" beer.
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  24. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (2,816) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    I'm in the industry and have been since I turned 21 in 2008. There are a lot of "work" related instances where consuming is involved and somewhat encouraged. Of course, you're expected to also make it home safely and not get a DUI or DWI. While I've never had this issue and have very rarely put myself in a compromising situation, I know a good amount of industry people who have had alcohol related arrests and they can be professionally damning.

    As for personal consumption, I have probably three or four beers a week on average (either 12oz or 22oz). My wife is well aware of how much beer we have in the house (probably about $2,500 worth at all times). In her opinion I drink "a lot" but she says that she doesn't worry about it because she very rarely sees me intoxicated and IF I have a beer I make sure to have her drive home.
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  25. STG228

    STG228 Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2010 Pennsylvania

    My friends and I started going to a few beer fests and we actually print out the brewery and beer list, get spreadsheets prepared and go over what we would like to try, which isn't everything, then once at the beer fest then we all get a different sample normally, and trade, that way we're not drinking a full sample each time and we're not wasting beer by dumping. Then if there is time, we backtrack to the ones we liked the most and get a full sample to drink. Works great!
    kemoarps likes this.
  26. nkelley77

    nkelley77 Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2013 Massachusetts

    Great article! I am in the craft beer industry and yes, I do drink quite a bit. My job discription is ordering craft beer and liquor. On a daily basis I drink. What I try to do is only get Drunk one night a week, other than that, I may have a glass or two everyday. There is a problem when you can't wait until 5 pm to have a drink. Not saying there are days that I do have a beer around 12 but it is not on a regular basis. Also when actually enjoying craftmanship, you need to be sober to truely enjoy the product. When I do drink beer to get a buzz on, I usually stick around 4 to 5 beers depending on ABV. Once again great article.
    cestlavie likes this.
  27. Lukenbrew

    Lukenbrew Initiate (0) Jul 1, 2013 Ohio

    Screening for alcoholism often includes the CAGE questionnaire: 1) have you tried to CUTBACK, 2) is there associated ANNOYANCE when people ask you about drinking?, 3) do you ever feel GUILTY, 4) have ever had an EYE OPENER, or drink first thing upon awakening?
    Personally, I can only firmly answer yes to the final question, though it is a very rare occurrence, generally with weekends out of town (bloody mary's) or at a tailgater. Otherwise, I actually have the opposite sentiment for questions 1-3, as do many of my friends.
    Another point - posts above have tried to tie alcoholism with work/social functioning; I believe motivation is the main factor. True alcoholics think of alcohol very differently than we do - it is an ends to a means, getting drunk. That is why folks show up at ED's after drinking rubbing alcohol or antifreeze - taste is unimportant, only returning to sweet, drunken oblivion. As long as getting wasted is the infrequent consequence of drinking and not the goal, it is hard to label someone an alcoholic.
  28. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (101) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    A couple things...

    The "red eye" (or hair of the dog, etc.) question is in place to screen whether an individual needs to have an alcoholic drink the morning after a heavy drinking session to "level out" or get going, i.e. to keep the intoxication going and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Having a bloody mary with brunch *probably* wouldn't meet that criteria, I'm guessing... :slight_smile:

    Fixed those for you. :wink:
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  29. BT_Bobandy

    BT_Bobandy Defender (608) Feb 20, 2011 Ohio

    good read. tx for posting.
  30. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (265) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    Bottle shares with dozens of beers that last several hours are dumb. Halfway through your palate is gone and you are too inebriated to judge or remember details. At least with festivals getting drunk can be considered "getting your moneys worth." At bottle shares you are just wasting money and good beer at a certain point.

    As I got into my late 20s I definitely learned to appreciate session beers more. They are a great way to spend less money and have less hangovers.
    Crafts_and_recreation likes this.
  31. juliusseizure

    juliusseizure Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2009 New York

    I don't know why but I didn't understand what you are getting at. Maybe I need a drink.
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  32. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,532) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    Seems to me like lately there's this hand of puritan values that doesn't seem to be able to fit itself anywhere. I mean who is going to deny person a moment of festivity during each and every day and call it alcoholism? My family were Italians and they would not have brought a meal to the table without a wine or beer. Did you egt tipsy? Did you enjoy yourself? This is xpected because that is how we served our meal to you With your enjoyment as the precedent and if you felt that it was too much for you well then go over to mcdonalds where they give you soda. Please.
  33. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Devotee (409) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    Exactly my thoughts. Most people on this thread are talking about how guilty they are for drinking as much as they do, in fear of becoming an alcoholic. While daily drinking is unhealthy, and should really be something you are consciously aware of, it has more to do with poor health practices than a mental illness. Drinking 2-4 times a week, with at least 90% of those times not binge drinking, there will be no alcohol related illnesses for you. I consider it a part of my diet, not a practice I perform out of fear of becoming an alcoholic.

    I know people that drink a handle of Canadian LTD a day, people that use cocaine on a daily basis, people who have been to a detox clinic multiple times to try to stop using heroin, and people that want to get intoxicated every moment of their life because they can't grasp the appeal of being sober. These are the people with mental problems. The guy that drinks 2-3 RIS a day has much more control of the situation to change his life if he chooses.
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  34. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    Is this also your personal experience or just what you've been told? I can say that I can't tell any difference between the taste of spitting vs swallowing (I'll admit to getting a few weird looks). I have to say the other upside is when you want to taste alot of different brews, I think spitting is better because the more drunk you get the less flavors you can taste. Also I can't see anyone canceling a beer festival due to spitting. When one guy gave me a hard time about it I just said it tasted awful.
  35. righthereisay

    righthereisay Disciple (349) Oct 16, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I think an easy way to hide alcoholism is the high alcohol beers. "honey, I've only had 2 beers...." or "I just have one 1 beer a night"...granted it is 14%.

    High alcohol beers are certainly a way to hide how many you've had from your wife...don't say you never did it. We know you did.
  36. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    Until you have kids. And then your drinking will go up exponentially :grimacing:
  37. Bigx9man

    Bigx9man Initiate (0) May 12, 2013 Maine

    I have to say, since I have gotten into craft beer, I certainly drink more frequently, and look forward to drinking beer much more. That said, I have figured out after 3 craft beers, I am generally done, like the article said, after few it's just to get drunk. Thus, I have started to drink less at a time. Gone (mostly) are the days I'll drink 10 coronas. Now I'll have couple craft beers, enjoy them, and call it quits.
  38. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (6,985) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    The article raises some decent points, such as the dangers of industry types surrounded by stuff having to drink often, but also not knowing when to quit etc...

    However, the article is written with a bit of a cultural bias that if you never grew up outside of the US or experienced socially drinking in countries with much more liberal and sane alcohol laws.

    This whole wrapped up guise of "craft" beer disguised as alcoholism I personally fine patently offensive. Everybody is different and some people can handle drink, but many can't.

    What I have witnessed in the United States is a culture that doesn't know how to tolerate or serve alcohol in an appropriate respectful way often. There are exceptions but it's often just that, an exception than the norm. What other country has a drinking age of 21? guess what most don't (they are usually between 18-19).

    The demographic of "craft" beer is something young men primarily get into. You don't get into wine or spirits it's too expensive. What are you bombarded with in the US advertising with.. beer.. so you try beer first, but the mindset is you can't handle this unless you're 21.. why? logic escapes me. As a result it's treated as a taboo thing and forces people into overconsumption.

    I'll stay away from other drinks (wine, cocktails) and stick with the beer analogy. Beer drinking in other countries while it does have it's share of overconsumption (binging) is more treated as a socially context bonding experience, and food accompaniment. It was the same with me, family growing up... wine and/or beer with dinner. Somehow though people in the US just think the idea that one person has a beer every day is a problem. When was the last time you went 36 hours without drinking the article asks? are you friggin serious? The shock and horror those new immigrants who came to America back in the day.. (Italians, Germans, etc..) they DRINK at dinner time... god forbid...

    I know no other place that has this attitude other than the US, with this stupid idiotic leftover puritanical BS. I am sick of the term "functional" alcoholic. You are either one.. or not. I know them trust me, the idea you want to somehow put that label on a person who has a drink everyday infuriates me. It's funny that nobody has this problem with wine drinkers, I can go out to a restaurant or make a fancy dinner at home, invite friends over kill some bottles, or go out to a big tasting and that's.. you know... serious... sophisticated... but nope not beer.. nope... (and yes for the record I love wine too).

    The author is wrapped up not seeing that there is too much of an emphasis on binge drinking in this country, but not understanding the reasoning behind it. "craft" beer isn't the reason. There are plenty of us who have a beer every day (gosh sometimes more than one) and you know what... we are perfectly fine.

    I was at the Younger release in Philly and had a great time, but even then while waiting in line what were people doing??? drinking... on the street... in broad daylight... sneaking in a bottle while waiting... seriously are you that desperate that some Philly cop just might happen to come by and clunk your head in?

    I would suggest those reading this article really understand and respect what you are drinking seriously. More importantly.. travel... go drink in other countries... also go out to places with good food and learn to cook and eat with beer, it's a very enjoyable experience...

    Yes we have all been there, and had moments, those are teaching experiences, but attitudes with this country about alcohol in general are unlike anywhere else I have been in the world for drink. It's a cultural thing and antiquated laws in my opinion don't help. I just see this through a different lens than most Americans, and so I just really don't get it... really do not...

    If you respect it, it will respect you back. If you don't then you will pay the price.

    As someone I know said, "respect beer". In fact respect all drink, and everything in moderation, and that includes moderation.

  39. TooGood

    TooGood Crusader (703) Jan 28, 2014 Minnesota

    That describes me as well, I haven't had more than 3 beers in one day in 5 years or so, but I tend to have one beer almost daily. I'm much more focused on the quality of what I drink, not the quantity.
    Sludgeman likes this.
  40. JISurfer

    JISurfer Poo-Bah (1,681) Dec 10, 2002 South Carolina

    My fascination with craft beer started back in 2002, when I joined the site. Since then, I go through periods where I'm enamored with it, and times I could care less. The times I'm "all in", I've never drank to get drunk, and usually stop before getting more than a slight buzz. The last time I got hammered, was back in 2007 at my 10yr high school reunion, and that was on Gin and Tonics. I like to taste the differences in the beers, compare, etc... I feel if you use alcohol to medicate yourself or depend on it everyday, is when you start getting in trouble. My family is steeped with addiction of all types, so it's always in the back of my head. I think as long as you are conscience of what's going on, don't let it effect your family or life, you're doing good. Craft beer is a fun hobby with tons of interpretations of styles, just like the food renaissance (for which I am equally, if not more into), so it's fun to taste and explore. It is good to take a step back from time to time though.
    mverity, papat444 and Shroud0fdoom like this.
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