“God gave us beer because he loves us.”
Beginning late last year I was given the gift of wine. In small increments, I was given wines that had been properly stored over the course of a few decades. Each time a was given a few more bottles, I experienced butterflies in my chest from what we would discover in these bottles that someone had lovingly bottled years ago. During this time in my life when I have been reopening my eyes to each and every opportunity that comes my way (that is in essence why I am here, typing), who was I to just drink it. Shortly before the windfall of glorious and mysterious wines, I was introduced by an acquaintance to a beer that was supposedly made in small quantities and only once a year. This peaked my interest considering that i love so much about beer. It was also supposedly worth the time and effort to obtain some. I began to think about how much I like beer. I’ve never been one to drink for the sake of feeling it, I drink alcohol because it is yummy and also because of the history that it plays in the development of civilization. My husband and I had made it kind of a thing. From each type of liquor we kept at the house, to the variety of bitters designed to bring out the flavor or add another level of complexity and enjoyment to the sips.
Field research was practiced year round. Which Scotch do we like best, which Bourbon is best in an old fashioned, what have new developments in distilling have made Gin almost tolerable (that’s just me, he loves all Gin). It’s fun traveling around the country or beyond and wherever we were, finding what the locals drink and giving it a try. We have found many of our favorite cocktails and beers, mixers and bitters through this research!
As excited as I was to have a search at hand for this elusive beer and to be knowingly drinking wine, most of who’s batch buddies were consumed years ago….and this beer seemed to be as readily available as a bottle of Pappy VanWinkle… I mean seriously, it’s beer. It was then that I had the “Nikki Lightbulb” go on.
I discovered that April was Craft beer month…
I was in San Francisco in October and I had put it out there to the universe that I was on the hunt for good beer and good wine. I was thinking about Pliny the Elder which is brewed out of Russian River brewing that was sort of in that neck of the woods. I was talking to my tattoo artist about my next adventure of finding 30 craft beers and collecting them for April. I thought it would be great to search out new and different beers that I was unfamiliar with. I was talking about Salt Lakes growing Brewing community and some of my favorite beers that have come from this community. Don’t discount this because it’s Salt Lake, there are brilliant brew masters that call it home. There was a fellow that was also getting a tattoo who could stay silent no longer, he said that he had 3 cases of Pliny the Elder and if I was willing he would trade with me for the Devastator that is brewed in Salt Lake by Red Rock brewing company. I was reminded that everything happening around me was not to be ignored. I asked why, why exchange something he could make a huge profit on for something that is readily available year round. He said he liked finding good beer and I seemed worth it! So, my November trip would include a tasting session. I ended up with 6 Elders for take home. I gave him a case of Devastator. I was planning on giving the Elder away, but it turned out they were meant for me. I gotta say, it enlivened my desire to get back into the makings of beer.
With a tiny bit of effort I began to collect craft beers which were created by basically the same method with the variables being in the source and quantity of hops and barley and which liquor barrel they might be aged in or what and when the flavors were added. By April 1st I had saved 1 Elder and had collected another 29 beers that had all come into my life the same odd way save the few I was very familiar with and didn’t want to leave out. Every day I took an hour or so each night to enjoy a beer. I discovered that it wasn’t just about the beer, it was about the down time I was engaging in that made me feel more balanced and focused. I looked forward to the sensations of that evenings selection. What would be the highlight? What could I learn about the people who made it, what could I learn how each step created a difference in the richness, the alcohol content, the change of texture and flavor as it lays on the tongue. I was zeroing in on what type of beer were my favorites.
It was a fabulous distraction from the tasks of the day. As I believe distractions enrich my abilities to perform tasks and find joy in them, I was in heaven. It’s the down time that brings meaning and purpose to the things we work at every day. It’s the revelry in our accomplishments and preparation for the next. And I must say that I have achieved and topped out so many of my goals last month that I am bound and determined to find distractions and down time to enrich each day of my life as needed.
To add to the fun, a few friends tagged along for the month, instead of flooding social media with our drinking ( can’t go having everyone thinking we were lushes) we just posted pics of the beer of the day on our story( it goes away after 24 hours) on Facebook. So supposedly there is no proof it happened floating around, but we did hope that a few people might have taken interest and maybe tried something new. At the end of the month, we put up our faves. That way we could enjoy what each other was up to and drinking no matter where we were and not just find out a bit more about ourselves and our tastes, but our friends as well. It was just another layer of enjoyment and a new subject of conversation whenever we get the chance.
This was probably one of my favorite Field tests ever….right up there with attending as many MLB games in one season as we could…different teams…..that was fun and took us all over the midwest and beyond.
Now onto National wine appreciation day on May 25th….Wine is a little different, each region has it’s own month of celebration, but Nationally there are 17 different days where a type of wine is celebrated! How fun is that? I’m glad for the individual days because I would have a hard time taking down a bottle every night for a month, I’m just sayin’.
I’m interested in what you may find as ritually distracting that brings some joy and fun into your life. Would you take a moment and possibly share what down time activity helps bring other parts of your life into focus? Helps you unwind and enjoy the moment? Wither it be a nap in your hammock or a walk through the park, possibly washing your car ( this happens to be a post in draft…. I love the detailed work of cleaning my car!)
I’m practically begging for you to share what you love to do and what you consider down time worth spending. Pretty please, smiley face.