First brought to my attention on Tim Cigelske’s Beer Runner, is this study showing that those who drink actually tend to exercise more than those who don’t. Given that plenty of runners drink, not to mention football players, cyclists, and even bowlers regularly knock back a few pints, the study seems a little like proving the sun rises in the east. But it shows what many people have known all along. Responsible drinking and exercise easily co-exist.
A dismissive “Pfiff” is often the reaction to Italian beer. But thanks to Rob Denunzio over at Pfiff! , we have a chance to sample some of what the new craft beer scene in Italy has to offer. It’s The Second Annual Pfiff! Beer and Food Tasting – The Italian Modernists being held August 15th. It looks quite interesting, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it.
So I’m trying to drum up some support for it with my readers. Both of you. I’m not optimistic my sister will make it all the way from Kansas City. So that leaves my co-worker Mary, if she’s still reading, who lives in San Jose. Think about it Mary, good Italian food, new and original Italian craft beer, and you never know, you might even meet a modern Italian.
Last weekend, I was at a wedding of some friends of mine. It was a great wedding, and I find weddings are often introspective events. Everyone rallies around the couple, and also think of the important events in their lives as well. The wedding was in Livermore, and that morning, I ran a 10 kilometer race in nearby Pleasanton. Warming up, I realized that a race is a lot like a marriage.
There’s all sorts of nervous anticipation, hope, and apprehension before the start. Then the gun goes off, and there’s a lot of excitement, but you really need to stay in control and pace yourself. Too many runners and couples have crashed and burned getting too caught up in the early moments. The early parts are relatively easy, but sooner or later, there are hills to climb, unexpected conditions to deal with, and the pace can become relentless. And if couples make it to the finish line of retirement, they often end up like most runners after crossing the finish line: Too tired and worn out to do much of anything. But looking back, all the preparation, effort, and sacrifice is rewarded in the end.
Maybe couples would be better prepared for marriage if a running race for the bridge and groom was held the morning of the wedding? What better way for the couple to prepare for the discipline, determination, and effort required for a successful marriage? I can’t imagine why this hasn’t become a tradition already.
And like most wedding receptions, beer was de-emphasized in favor of wine. Why is that? Beer is a wonderfully diverse beverage, and is more representative of the twists and turns the couple is about to embark on their marriage than wine. There will be zippy, spicy, and boozy times, like a good Belgian Triple. Children come with funky smells but are ultimately a highly rewarding experience, just like an ale made with funky smelling Brettanomyces yeast. There are care free, easy times where a good lager or Hefeweizen hits the spot. There will be bitter, complicated times, like a Double IPA. And we hope the couple finds the right work-family right balance, much like the malt-hop balance of any good Pale Ale. Instead of just red or white wine, a full compliment of beer styles should be served at all weddings, to better prepared the couple for what they’re about to get into.
I dare say, if there were more running and beer at weddings, there would be more successful marriages, and a lower divorce rate. Some might ask, since I am divorced and have no professional wedding planning or marriage counselling experience, why do I feel qualified to tell people what they should and shouldn’t do on their wedding day?
Having experienced the up and downs in my only marriage, I think I have a pretty good idea what it takes, but I’m not going to go into the trials and tribulations of that marriage, especially since I already paid a lot of money to a therapist for that. And I moved in with my girlfriend six months ago, and so far, so good, and that ought to count for something.
There was little beer or running in my first wedding. Could that have been the problem? Unfortunately, my first wife and I had far more differences and conflicts that could be solved by beer and running. She really wasn’t into either of those things. My girlfriend and I both enjoy running, and while wine is her drink of choice, she is a closet hop-head. I have a pretty good feeling about this go around.
I’m not quite sure myself.
For thirty years, I’ve had pretty much one hobby, running. A good run is enjoyable in its own right, but training for a race is actually an elaborate game of managing fatigue and discomfort in pursuit of running further and faster. The moment you break free of the tedious workouts, over come the limitations your body and mind put on you, and cross the finish line at a time or place you were shooting for, is priceless. It happens only 2-3 times a year for most runners, and that is why these moments are so precious.
I’ve always enjoyed a good beer, and a good beer buzz after a hard run is a wonderful thing. Over the last couple years, I’ve found craft beer to be like a set of new set of running trails to explore. You never know what’s going to be around the corner, and you always run across something a little different. In a addition to being satisfying and tasty, beer as the people’s beverage, is a reflection of economics, politics, and geography, all subjects of interest to me.
I didn’t really appreciate food until I started making it for myself, and so if I’m really going to understand beer, I’m going to have to brew it. A long time friend of mine, with a great deal of homebrewing experience, has agreed to work with me and start me down the homebrewing road. He hasn’t homebrewed in seven years, and was thinking about starting again. We realized we had been drifting apart, and homebrewing seemed like a good way to reconnect.
Homebrewing is a whole new world for me. “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew” is the mantra of homebrew author Chuck Papazian, at total odds with the “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”running ethic I grew up with. If things go horribly wrong with a homebrew, you can just pour it down the drain. If things go horribly wrong running, I’m usually limping around for at least a couple weeks. Perhaps it says something that plenty of runners are in to beer, but not a lot of homebrewers seem into running.
Success in running is satisfying due to the rewards that come from the discomfort and committment that comes with the territory. My friend warns that homebrewing involves a lot of cleaning glass and stainless steel gadgets. Even thought I’m not much into cleaning, that doesn’t seem so bad. I’m sure there are some pretty driven home brewers, and homebrewing can be a lot of hard work. But if all I have to do is clean some things to brew beer, will I care about success or failure of the taste of the final brew? Have I been missing the point all along?