This is not a blog post about drinking ten pints a night, three nights a week. It’s not that take on moderation.
It’s a post about drinking one beer, 80 nights running.
It’s a post about killing a passion.
It’s a post about how an idea can sound great in principle but becomes a bind in practice.
It’s a post about having to find something interesting to say about a beer and make it coherent – including at times when you have an hour in a hotel room to shower, change, drink a beer, photograph it, write about it, post it and share it across social media.
It’s a post about trying to be organised and drinking and writing about three beers on a Sunday afternoon so you can have a couple of nights off.
It’s a post about fatigue.
It’s a post about losing your pride in your blog.
And, hopefully, this is a blog post to clear the fog and start anew.
#AroundTheNorthIn80Beers was an idea inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, an 80-day celebration of the North of England’s heritage.
I thought I would celebrate its beer.
And breweries very kindly engaged, some sending me beers that I might otherwise not have tried. I revelled in searching out new beers. It all seemed like a great idea. That was nearly two years ago, and it pretty much ended my blogging days.
Since September 9, 2018, or “Day 80”, I’ve written two posts for this blog (prior to this one). One was because a friend asked me to try his mate’s brew. The other was related to my day job. The last was more than a year ago.
But looking back at the last few posts from the blogathon, I can see just how little my heart remained in it. I was clearly copying the format each day, which is visible in the way the posts look. I was leaving typos uncorrected, lacking creativity.
I was disappointing myself and I was just getting through it. I was blogsick, fed up of writing about beer.
Having sampled countless different styles over the 80 days, from saisons to stouts, I resolved by the end that the ones that had brought me the most enjoyment were good old Yorkshire bitters.
At the time, I put that down to them being nice, refreshing pints. On reflection, some 17 months later, I realise it’s because I didn’t have to think about them. Having worked with Black Sheep and Jennings in the past, they were familiar old friends, easy drinks.
Unadventurous, they may have seemed, but I knew what I was getting. Ok, so they are also still refreshing, I’ll admit that’s also true.
Millions of column inches, and online paragraphs, have been written about drinking in moderation. I’m no doctor, I won’t be giving advice on that, other than to say that if you think you have a problem, seek help and don’t struggle on alone.
However, most articles will talk about heavy drinking in terms of binging multiple drinks a night, or over a weekend. In retrospect, my 80 days was no less of a binge, it was just drawn out.
There was at least one weekend where I’d had a couple and written them up on the Friday, then had a few on a big day out with friends on the Saturday, then returned to the daily routine on the Sunday. I certainly went a few past the 80.
I wasn’t, am not, sliding towards alcoholism. That’s not denial. I was drinking because I had to see my idea through. You know how you are more likely to stick to something if you’ve told someone – like a New Year’s Resolution? That! And because others had bought in.
The result was that I simply got sick of beer. And I definitely got sick of writing about it.
I started this blog because I loved beer and thought I had something to share. The name, Poet’s Day Pint was to reflect a plan of one post a week, written over, and often about, a pint, bottle, can, whatever.
That seemed, and still seems, like a sensible level of moderation to me, so maybe it’s time to refresh and get back to that.
I’ve had a little bit of a life “moment” recently, which is why moderation is on my mind in a different context. And that, coupled with a conversation I had earlier this week about what caused me to stop blogging, is what’s inspired me to think about this, and write this post.
So, keep an eye out and, hopefully, I can get back to making this blog enjoyable again. Even if just for me.
I’m 44, I don’t (always) have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more