The Hardest Beer Habit to Break

I’m in full-on get-in-shape mode right now.  I’m waking up at the crack of dawn to work out, I’m watching what I eat like a hawk, and I even got one of those Nike+ Fuelband gizmos to remind me to get off my ass and move around.

On the beer front, I’ve gotten very rigid about my weekday beer consumption – there is none.  Not to say that I’ll never have a beer on a Wednesday night ever again, but I need to approach life with an aggressive discipline for the next several weeks in order to reboot my lifestyle from one that’s too lax to one that’s fun, healthy and sustainable.  While many of these adjustments have been easier than others, there’s one habit that I can’t seem to break. 

Mancave stouts.

You see, I feel at my most relaxed on a weekend night, sitting alone in my mission-style recliner in the small office upstairs catching up on my TV shows.  Right now, I have last week’s Mad Men waiting for me, a new episode of Top Gear (the British version), and I’m interested in watching Veep, the new show on HBO.  Of course, the last show I started watching on HBO (Luck, which was like Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, but with degenerate gamblers) was cancelled when I was four episodes in, so maybe I should wait until Julia Loius-Dreyfus and the gang get greenlit for a second season before I give them my heart.  Anyway, I enjoy a little “me time” when watching my stories, and when I do so, I also enjoy a thick glass of beer.

Mostly my cravings go to two beers in particular – Schlafly’s Reserve Imperial Stout and New Holland Dragons Milk.  I’m like a bug in a rug with either in my hands and something good flickering on the screen.  And when I’m watching shows in the mancave without one, I hear them calling me from downstairs.  I develop a craving somewhere deep in my spine for a toe-curling barrel aged beer that’s very, very hard to resist.

That’s not to say that I don’t resist it sometimes.  If I have an early morning the next day or don’t think I’ll really get the full enjoyment out of one (or, like now, if I don’t want to ingest 700 calories worth of liquid carbs right before falling asleep), I can sit there and drink water, and the experience is almost the same. Almost.  But if I’m honest, nothing beats swirling a goblet full of rich beery awesomeness under my nose while watching King Joffrey being an absolute monster.

Right now I’m up in the air about what to do about this.  I figure there are a few ways to go.  I can stay the hell out of the mancave for awhile, thus removing the siren song of the barrel-aged ales.  I can watch my shows with a glass of water, or perhaps seltzer, which will give my palate a bubbly massage akin to a beer.  Or I can say screw it, and call it a cheat day or whatever and drink my beers and watch my shows, understanding that a life without a little decadence isn’t much of a life at all.

Of the three, I’ll probably do the one that involves drinking good beers – it’s the easiest, the most delicious, and it give me something to look forward to on a Wednesday night when I’m eating hummus and black beans on a whole wheat tortilla.  You gotta live a little, right?

How about you – what your favorite beer drinking ritual, the one that would be the hardest to give up?  As always, let us know below!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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32 Comments on “The Hardest Beer Habit to Break”

  1. Greg H
    May 4, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I usually don’t drink on weeknights, but I do break that once in a while. A good beer is about 200 calories, it’s not gonna really going to blow the diet if you are aware of what you ate during the day. Besides, for me, it’s always been the snacking that goes with drinking that does me in. Resist the snacks, drink the beer.

    • May 4, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      Yeah, the snacks will kill ya. I’m usually pretty flexible, but I’ve been pretty bad for several months and have been slowly turning things around. I need to get strict for a bit to make sure I don’t slide back into the pit of despair (which is filled with delicious cheddar cheese, Truscuits, Cheetos and other goodies). A few weeks of discipline should do the trick. It should also make it so I can fit in my summer shorts again!

  2. May 4, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    So glad the real version of Top Gear is back! Hammond’s whole segment at the NASCAR race is just fantastic. I know how pretentious it sounds, but I think I’m done with the American version. Rutledge Wood is awful.

    • May 4, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      They’re all awful. It’s like three high school kids putting on a play. What makes the British version work is that they are all so literate, but are still men, which means they’re idiots at the same time. The US version is missing anything that resembles character and flair, and because of that, I’ve stopped watching as well. Adam Corrolla’s car show was much better – he should’ve been the “Jeremy” of the US version.

  3. May 4, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    I would never give up my two beers after work, I look forward to it as I’m walking the mile and half from the office to the house. I do try to limit the ABV on weeknights, nothing over 7-8%. Sipping a beer as I sit down and halfway listen to the nightly news while writing my blog is a set routine now.

    I’m usually cracking my second and last beer of the night as Top Gear comes on and dinner is ready. I agree about the American TG, nowhere near as good. On nights when there aren’t Top Gear repeats, I check out Wheeler Dealers, or if it’s Wednesday, Drinking Made Easy for the early Prime Time hours.

    • May 4, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      I’d probably cut myself more slack if I walked to work, but my trip is about 23 steps to the Mini Cooper each day…

  4. John
    May 4, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    See we have the weekly fire and it’s not the beer that does me in but the pizzaq that follows. Sippin on Dragons Milk, New Glarus Barley wine and a little Single barrel Jack which was a gift.

    • May 4, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Yeah, the beer softens you up and your inner caveman comes out. PIZZA, WOMEN, CRUNCHY, GOOD!!!

  5. May 4, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Now I’m feeling guilty about my consumption habits. I’ve watched all of the Top Gear (British) episodes available on Netflix. Favorite thing to do is grab a bag of tortilla chips, salsa and a craft beer while watching it. Had a premium ice cream problem, too. But switched out the creamy stuff for occasional sorbets. My other habit is Bier Thirty for lunch or Brewforia on the way home. Both are too damn convenient for me. Hard to resist when, on my way home from work, with just a flick of my wrist, I can so easily find myself in the Brewforia parking lot.

    • May 4, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Don’t feel guilty, do your thing! I’ve packed on about 30 pounds since last summer, so I’m in need of a reboot is all. My favorite TV food is a hoppy pale ale with Triscuits and NY cheddar cheese. My wife knows when I’m not in good spirits when I drag that stuff home – it’s totally my comfort food.

  6. Michael
    May 4, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I’m retired. I exercise 3 hours a day and the only reason is that I can eat and drink what i want. Craft beers number one and chocolate a close second. When the liver goes then so do I.

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      That’s exactly how I’d roll if I had the time. Do the work, get the reward and let the organs fall where they may.

  7. May 4, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I love Top Gear, Game of Thrones, and VEEP. I actually get engrossed in the show and forget to drink the beer I poured!

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      On a good HBO night, I can milk a glass full of beer for a good three hours. That’s one of the benefits of drinking stouts – they taste better warm!

  8. Johnny
    May 4, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I think my favorite habit is drinking a nice Imperial Stout or Imperial IPA while watching Game of Thrones. There’s just something about that show that always makes me want to drink haha.

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      From a GOBLET!! I’m right there with you – I only wish I had a turkey leg as well.

      • Johnny
        May 4, 2012 at 11:38 am #

        Haha I wish I had a goblet! A turkey leg would also be fitting or maybe a roast pig.

  9. Erik Noguera
    May 4, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Maybe your mancave time should be whiskey time!

  10. BiginAlabama
    May 4, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Really.If you biggest worry is trying not too par-take in a evening craft your doing pretty damn good. Never-the-less what I would recommend is during the week sip a fine bourbon while catching up on the tube.Then on the weekends you can get “Pissy” on the Good People IPA or what ever craft tickles your fancy.

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      My issue with whiskey is twofold: I’m susceptible to whiskey hangovers more than other people, and a little whiskey puts me in the mood for a beer or two which puts me in the mood for a pizza (or two)!

  11. May 4, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Min’s pretty pedestrian. I’d really miss my beer with supper. As for snackin’ w/ TV, my rule (which I generally stick to) is no snackin’ after 7 PM, period!

    • May 4, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      That’s a good rule, all the bad stuff happens after 7pm!

  12. ScottG
    May 5, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I run so I can drink beer. Seems to be working thus far. And it’s something to look forward to on the long runs.

    • May 5, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Once I’m back down to my fighting weight, I strike that same balance. But I gotta be good for now, which is a bummer, but at least it’s working.

      • ScottG
        May 5, 2012 at 9:01 am #

        Being a responsible adult sucks, sometimes. Good luck with your efforts.

        • May 5, 2012 at 9:18 am #

          Thanks, and agreed. I can finally eat all the chocolate I want, but I actually can’t. A childhood dream crushed! 😉

  13. May 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    When I learned that a Coca Cola (or any other soft drink or juice) held about the same calories as a beer, I gave up soft drinks. Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.

  14. May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    As mentioned by someone else above, I too have opted to cut soft drinks out of my daily habits in lieu of one or two good beers. My office mini-fridge is stocked regularly with beer, which doesn’t help break the temptation to enjoy a beer on the back-end of a stressful work day. Discretion is the name of the game!

    But really, it’s the high calories of most beers that has me paying more attention to my diet now than ever before. I’m by no means overweight (I’m actually quite slender), but since I took up regular exercise and more-routine beer drinking, I’ve seen my weight (and energy level) increase a bit, probably for the best. As I see it, as long as I can keep consumption in check without getting flabby, and as long as I feel good when I wake up in the morning, there’s no reason I can’t enjoy one or two brews a day. Food with water alone is bland. Food with good beer is pure sensory indulgence.

    We’re here to enjoy life, are we not?

  15. May 8, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Rigid = not fun. Life should = fun. Life without a little decadence isn’t much of a life at all. You’re trying to fix what isn’t broken.

  16. May 13, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I love Potosi Cave Ale, That is the beer I always like to sit back and relax with. I sit and have one then I’m good I don’t need to have another.

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