Session # 76

Here is the June topic from Beer is your Friend:

“I want you to write me a blog post on the subject of compulsion as it relates to beer. The idea for this Session topic partially arose from the Beer Audit session Adam at Pints and Pubs hosted a few months ago. In my effort and those of a few other bloggers, idea of buying more beer than we need was touched on. Writing about buying heaps of beer got me thinking about just what it is that compels me to keep buying beer.

Like most beer fans, I tend to buy way more beer than I can drink. I can have a fridge full, plus a few boxes of bottles, plus homebrew and still I’ll walk into a shop and buy some more. Or order some more online. Or do both in the space of a few days.

Why do we do stuff like this? Obviously we’re not just buying stuff to drink because, if we were, wouldn’t we just wait until we were running low and then stock up? What so many of us do is stock up, even though we’re already stocked up. Perhaps we’re expecting the zombie apocalypse to happen soon and don’t want to go through that sober.

Is buying heaps of beer something you worry about? Do you look at your Aladdin’s Cave of beer and feel even a smidge of guilt about how much it all cost you? Or do you just rub your hands together, cackle with glee and say ‘‘it’s mine! All mine!’’.

What lengths do you go to to hide this compulsion? For instance, do you try and sneak beer into the house so your other half doesn’t see it? (Not saying that I’ve done this. Oh, okay, I have done this).

Before my wife and I moved to our current abode, I could not seriously collect beer. Our old and strangely green ‘fridge was too small and constantly needed to be de-iced. And due to the omnipresent heat in Los Angeles and a lack of a cool, dark cellaring area, all I could “hoard” was five to six bottles at any one time.

But did that hinder my buying? Not a bit. There was still plenty of sticker shock when the credit card bill came once a month. I would buy a bomber – drink a bomber. Or in accounting terminology, first in – first out.

But despite the lack of storage and with no rich uncle or aunt, I still kept shopping and buying a tenth of what I wanted in my cart. So you can imagine that once I had a bigger ‘fridge with a dedicated beer spot and a small plot of land in the garage for a cellar, that the acquisition pace would accelerate.

And it did. Partially due to the fact that L.A. started to provide more beer shoppes for me to frequent. But until this topic cropped up, I hadn’t really thought of the why behind the drive to purchase.
I could go with the Everest-ian excuse of “Because, it’s there.” But practically any book, movie and/or piece of Trailblazer basketball memorabilia is available at the drop of a hat thanks to the non-stop shop that is the interwebs. And it is not that I have lost all control and buy stuff by the case. I hunt and peck and price compare where I can and get single bottles (or cans) instead of full sixers. If your bottle is over $15, then I think long and hard before it goes into my shopping cart.

I am also not “hoarding” in the classic sense. Yes, there are untouchable bottles in my cellar but that is primarily because I only have one bottle of a rare item. If a beer geek came over and demanded to open one, I probably would with some hesitation.
So what psychological desire is compelling me to always check the beer aisle at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. And what I keep coming back to is that I really enjoy the thrill of finding that new beer or that beer that I have heard about but not tasted or to see a beer that is newly distributed in SoCal. There is a hit of excitement each time I smile and pick up a craft beer.

And the only thing more potent than that initial rush is when the cap is pried off or the cork popped and that first aroma drifts upward.

4 Replies to “Session # 76”

  1. Yeah this definitely hits close to home.

    I have recently been given the mandate that I cannot buy more beer than can fit in the bottom section of our fridge that I have rearranged in order to house taller corked and caged 750mL’s.

    But maybe this is a good thing…

  2. It is a thin line between enjoying buying and enjoying drinking. We all probably cross over and back too many times.

  3. Sean,

    Really interesting topic and take on that topic. My M.O. has always been to search for something new, rather than experience the tried and true. This probably is some kind of compulsive disorder, but with so many options available to us, especially in L.A., it’s hard to resist the siren’s song of the great unknown. What I’ve learned is that there’s no way to try every restaurant, or every beer, and what’s new won’t necessarily be better. Still, I continue to chase new experiences.

Comments are closed.