Competitive Disadvantage

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I use the Untappd app regularly to log the different beers that I try. It’s Twitter-like ability to have 140 character comments comes in really handy, especially when you’re on the tail-end of a day of tasting. The pitfall that I’ve come across is that Untappd has badges. Badges earned for drinking different types of beers, drinking beers in different locations, and the occasional special badge for beer weeks and other such beer events. This is a pitfall because I’m a collector. If there are trinkets or badges, I want to get all of them. This is a typically expensive but generally harmless activity, however, Untappd has presented me with a dangerous conundrum. I say dangerous because if you start collecting beers and trying to drink them as fast as you’re collecting them, you wake up on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s with hangovers, wander out into your living room to see a coffee table full of empty bottles, and think “I may be turning into an alcoholic.”

It extends beyond the drinking of the beers as well. Every time I find myself in the grocery store, I end up in the beer aisle trying to find a beer that will check off another accomplishment on my list. On the plus side, I now know many several useless nuggets of beer trivia. For instance, did you know that there are only 10 official Trappist breweries? Or that there are only really 3 major breweries in Australia. And somehow I have to drink 10 different Australian beers!

I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, of course, as I don’t think I’m turning into an alcoholic. But the app has broadened my beer horizons by making me try things that I never would have even thought to try. I don’t know that I would have ever tried 4 different ciders. Or 7 different Japanese beers. And certainly not 10 different stouts. So even though I have to endure the derision of my fiancee when I come home with another armload of bottles, it’s been a lot of fun broadening my beer horizons. Even though sometimes those “expanded horizons” bring me back to the quart of Miller High Life that I’ve emptied while writing this. I wrote this beer off in college because all of the people that I couldn’t stand were drinking it. They praised it as a delicious relic, tarnished by the fact that all of our fathers drank it when they were in college. I thought it was shit, but then again I normally drank either Milwaukee’s Best Light, Natural Light, or Busch Light, and occasionally Rolling Rock if I somehow came into money. In short, I didn’t know how to enjoy beer, just that I liked getting drunk and Miller High Life made me cringe when I drank it. Fast forward to today, when I can once again sit here and sip on the Champagne of Beers. With age comes wisdom, and sometimes wisdom tells you that when you come home from a long day of work, sometimes you want a mellow, cheap beer to send you off to bed in proper fashion.