The Brew Site

The Session #111: A Beer Midlife Crisis

This past first Friday called for another beer blogging round of The Session, in which we look to our host-of-the-month to provide a topic upon which to write about. This month’s edition was hosted by Oliver Gray of Literature & Libation, and he has asked us to consider Surviving a Beer Midlife Crisis:

Recently, I’ve found my interest in said hobby waning. The brilliant luster of new beers and new breweries looks now, a few pounds heavier and a bunch of dollars lighter, more like dull aluminum oxide.

The thing I have embraced so fully and spent so much time getting to know and love, suddenly seems generally, unequivocally: meh. It’s like I’ve been living a lie, and everything I’ve done is for not. I’m having a beer mid-life crisis, yo.

It’s impossible to see the future, but if my fall from rabid beer fanboy to dude-who-drinks-beer-and-sort-of-wants-to-be-left-alone is indicative of a trend, I’ve got some signs to make a doomsaying to do.

What say you?

Do you find it hard to muster the same zeal for beer as you did a few years ago? Are you suffering through a beer-life crisis like I am? If so, how do you deal with it?

I would say I am not. But midlife crises are by and large such a personal, differential experience for each individual that I could also accurately say, “I don’t know.” So here is what I think.

By “rabid beer fanboy” standards I am well past that stage of this hobby/interest/lifestyle/whatever, but I don’t think I have any less zeal for beer than before—it’s just that it’s more tempered, by the realities of the industry, the explosive growth in brewery numbers, the need to remember that it’s a marathon, not a race (yes, mixing metaphors like beer cocktails… see what I did there?). More mature, I suppose. But I certainly don’t feel that I’ve lost the interest or the curiosity that I started with.

(Slight digression: what would the beer equivalent be of buying a convertible Porsche?)

The industry has changed drastically in the 20 or so years since I got interested in home- and microbrewing. (Yes, we still called it “microbrewing” in the ’90s.) Maybe that’s what has held my interest, all that change. Hell, even four years ago we were all predicting there would be 3,000-ish breweries by 2017—and we blew through 4,000 last September! Yes, it’s a lot to take in, but it also keeps it fresh, knowing there are more breweries I’ll visit in my lifetime, which means plenty of stories to tell and beers to try. Yes, there will be bad beers, but you know, I’ve made some bad beers at home and it was still an experience.

So… no, I don’t believe I’m in that beerlife crisis mode. Sometimes there’s juggling, but it’s definitely still holding my interest and I hope it continues to do so.