This blog started out as a mix of social experiment (How much beer do I consume in one year? What styles? From where?) and the desire to spend my free time talking about something I love – beer. It wasn’t a well-thought out idea and there have been times where I’ve lost the plot a bit, but I was a recent grad looking for something fun to do after completing my Masters (and what do students know more about than beer!). The year is over so it is time to reflect and examine the results from my initial questions.
Where does the beer I drink come from?
No big surprise here, but 154 posts featured beers from Canada. While a sizable portion would be beers from Quebec, the majority were Ontario beers (though I don’t have the exact data). The next country was the United States with a total of 57 posts, followed by Belgium (29), Germany (20) and England (13) – no real shock seeing as these are the most renowned beer nations in the world. Beers from nineteen countries were consumed, which covered most of the major (craft) beer making nations, the biggest notable absence being the Czech Republic. Using the Beau’s Challenge as a guideline (drinking an Ontario craft beer fifty-percent of the time), my support for the Ontario craft beer industry is quite evident.
What styles do I drink the most often?
The results for this question are far more spread out, which is only logical when you consider the wide variety of styles of beer. But one beer style stood out and, true to beer geek fashion, it was the India Pale Ale (57 posts). This would not come as a shock to most people in the beer community, but it is an interesting fact when one considers the lack of IPAs available in Ontario, especially through the LCBO. At the same time, it is an easy style to find when you go to the usual beer bars in Toronto and drinks well all year round. The next style that I drank the most of was actual a relative of the IPA, the American Pale Ale (37), followed by the close cluster of Belgian Strong Ales (26), Wheat beers (26), Imperial/Double IPAs (21), Stouts (21), Porters (20) and Imperial Stouts (17). The biggest surprise was the spice/herb/vegetable style, appearing in thirteen posts.
APAs are a common style brewed by Ontario craft brewers, which explains their frequency. Most of the other styles are the bigger, bolder styles favoured by beer geeks, which makes the amount of wheat beers standout. Of course, it is important to note that this merely represents a one-year snapshot of my beer drinking habits right now. This year I fell in love with IPAs and German wheat beers, which skewed consumption to those styles. Love of styles ebbs and flows, so another year could find drastically different results. The seasonal LCBO releases would also affect the beer styles I drank in any given year.
How much beer did I drink?
The final tally came in at 159.39L, which is rather useless without a comparison to the beer consumption beer capita in countries around the world. According to this 2008 survey (which was the latest info that I could find), the Czech Republic has the highest per-capita rate of beer consumption with the average person drinking 149.9L of beer. This is ironic considering I drank no Czech beer during the past twelve months and gives a strong idea of the beer culture that exists in the Czech Republic. Canada ranked #25 in per-capita consumption in 2008, coming in at 69.6L of beer. That means I drank more than double the amount of beer than the average Canadian! Of course, this is also a stat the fluctuates every year based on factors such as employment and weather (just ask anyone in Ontario this summer if they were drinking more beer due to a very hot summer).
My final total was also a little higher than it would have been thanks to the unanticipated factor of free media invites. This helps to explain why the 10-12L monthly average for the first-half of the year was obliterated in the final six months. At the same time, the first week post-gimmick has still seen a substantial beer intake because I can now drink as much as I want without dreading the thought of posting. Let’s just say these factors negated themselves (and if that isn’t good enough for you then run your own experiments).
Is the final number a surprise? Yes and no. Obviously to pass the national average isn’t a big surprise when you’re drinking a beer every five out of seven days, rather than a binge-drinking undergrad or congressional intern. But nearly 160L? That is almost enough to make me head to the gym (keyword: almost). To an outside observer that amount would be a giant warning sign, but I can happily say that there were no side-effects from all that beer consumption (aside from the occasional hangover). The final result is merely a glimpse inside the life of a beer geek.
That’s not the end though. Stay tuned for more information on the future of A Year of Beer!