The Session #76: Compulsion

The SessionIt’s the first Friday of the month, so among beer bloggers that means it’s time for The Session: a blogging collaboration, for which we all write on a common theme or topic suggested by the current month’s “host” who will then compile and link to all of the participating posts.

This month, we’re joining Glen Humphries of Beer is Your Friend to discuss something many of us bloggers might experience: compulsion.

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.

There are a number of additional questions Glen poses but essentially, it’s just what the title suggests: compulsion. When it comes to beer, what compels us? It’s the same as with anything else that compels us: a pack rat hoarding instinct, or feeling like you’re missing out on a limited-time deal, or the hunt for something new, or a myriad other reasons—name your poison.

For myself, I am finding myself awash in an excess of beer right now, and I’m trying not to go out of the way to acquire more… but even then I can’t help it. Crux Fermentation Project bottled Imperial Stout? Had to get some. Deschutes Brewery Imperial Smoked Porter? Ditto. I have an itch to brew a Gose—but nowhere to put it. And so on.

I think it’s about the collecting for me, as much as it is about the drinking. It’s not quite obsessive, but it’s definitely compelling. Actually, when it comes to homebrewing, it’s just as much about developing a recipe that appeals to me as a really really good idea—and I always only think in terms of brewing five gallon batches, for some reason. At any rate, it boils down to feeling like I need more; perhaps that’s a paleolithic reaction to perceived scarcity, perhaps it’s a quirk of more modern compulsive behavior, perhaps it’s simply that beer is good.

And maybe it’s all these things. As long as I don’t turn into the beer version of a hoarder, I’m okay with it.

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