Just a beer please (series)

It won’t be a surprise to anyone that I am a big fan of beer. I work in the beer industry, drink it down at the pub and am now even blogging about it. I’m “Wiles About Beer” – how much more of a fan can you be?

Yet beer isn’t the only alcoholic beverage I drink – I’m quite partial to a nice glass of wine (particularly Chardonnay) as well as a G&T. They say variety is the spice of life and I completely agree, not all occasions warrant a beer. For example, going out for drinks with my girlfriends usually leads to bottles of wine that can be shared, whilst a BBQ might have a Pimms jug out. Social situations, particularly for women, tend to dictate what booze is consumed on a given occasion.

Which has got me thinking of how hard would it really be to stick to beer – only beer – in these situations? Will my friends mind if I opt-out of sharing the social bottle of wine? Or will my father-in-law, who I share a glass of red with every Sunday dinner? Will I end up drinking more or less? Will I gain weight or lose it? Will I hate beer at the end of it or fall even more in love?

I’ve decided to put it to the test. Just a beer please for the next month. No more wine, prosecco, champagne, gin (I’m starting to sound quite bad right about now aren’t I?) until October. I’m one week in and ready to give an update on what it’s been like to switch from wine to beer for that “after work” drink at home.

The “after work” drink – thanks to Beer 52

I think the world must be divided between people who like to come home and have an “after work” drink and those who don’t see the need. I’m definitely fall into the former category, and usually have a glass of wine to unwind with dinner.

This week I’ve swapped the wine for beer, which has been made surprisingly fun thanks to a free case from Beer 52 – a craft beer discovery club which sent me eight different beers to try from around the world.

First I tried Little Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing in Berlin. I didn’t think I’d like this one as I’m not a huge fan of your typical bitter, but it was quite sweet and malty so went down a treat with caramel and toffee flavours.

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My favourite was without a doubt Northern Monk’s Neapolitan Ice Cream Pale Ale. It was dessert in the can! I thought it might be too sweet, but it was a delicious pale ale with a sweet finish of cocoa, vanilla and strawberry. I would happily stock up on this if I can find it again.

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Lastly I tried Beerito by Oskar Blues – a light Mexican lager. I don’t particularly rate lager so I wasn’t impressed with this one, it just tasted like a Corona to me. That was the only downside I found with Beer 52 – it’s a lot of money (£24/month for eight beers) and you don’t get the chance to whittle down your preferences other than “mixed and surprising” or “light and hoppy”. Otherwise I would have taken out anything referring to “Mexican” or “lager”!

 

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So what did I learn from my week of after work beers?

As a woman, it felt less socially acceptable to drink beer at home

For some reason, having a glass of wine on your own at home feels more socially acceptable than cracking open a beer. The first thing that flashed in my mind was the image of an overweight man drinking his way through a six-pack in front of a TV – e.g “problem drinking”. This feeling also hit home when I saw the empty cans in the recycling bin, which looked more of a mess than a solitary bottle of wine. A woman having a glass of wine in the kitchen after a long day is a much more familiar, acceptable and comforting image.

BUT – I didn’t drink as much as usual

Despite feeling more guilty about my after-work drink, I actually didn’t drink as much as I normally would. On a normal night I would probably have two small glasses of wine, probably getting through a bottle of wine every 2-3 days. Having one beer of day means I was actually drinking much less alcohol on a daily basis. The great thing is that I didn’t even want to drink more than that – beer is quite filling, and just one was enough to quench my thirst with dinner.

Verdict?

I can definitely get used to drinking beer in lieu of wine after work, and actually feel that I’ve done my liver a favour this week. Without the help of a beer delivery company like Beer 52 though I would probably get bored of the brews available down at my local Tesco. I’ll have to think of more creative ways of picking up the after-work tipple to continue.

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