When drinking local becomes a problem: Locarexia Nervoso

I have a problem.

I didn’t realize it was a problem until quite recently but a couple events have made it quite clear that it’s real and it’s something I need to deal with.

The first time I knew I had a problem was following a softball game. My team, comprising a number of work colleagues, opted to hit a bar in order to drown our sorrows following a 20-10 routing and, since it was the nearest bar to the diamond, we had the unfortunate experience of visiting The Dog’s Bollocks on Queen.

Now, to be clear, I don’t really mean to slag The Dog’s Bollocks–I recognize that it is a pub and that its most endearing qualities are intended to be its cheap draft, bar food, and numerous TV screens.

I’m no dummy. I wouldn’t expect gourmet from an establishment named after an animal’s nut sack. But my experience was not great–and it’s largely due to my psychological issue.

You see, grabbing a big table in the spacious dining room, the predictable call went out among my compatriots: “Let’s just grab a couple of pitchers.”

It was then that the nervous sweat began and my eyes started darting around the room for a draught list. Oh god, I thought, what do they have on tap?!

But then it was too late. Someone said, “We’ll just get two pitchers of 50.”

And then the dry heaves started.

OK, I didn’t literally start dry heaving, but I did experience some real anxiety about the fact that I might have to drink a shitty, mass-produced lager. Furthermore, there was some awkwardness when I needed to explain why, despite the fact that the team was pouring pints from a pitcher, I was waiting for my own glass of something local.

This is my problem: I seem to have graduated from beer snobbery to a place where the idea of having to drink something that isn’t local or doesn’t otherwise meet some sufficient level of “authenticity” is actually vaguely stressful.

I’ve even come up with a name for it:

locarex·ia ner·vo·so:

a drinking disorder primarily affecting 30-something men, characterized by pathological anxiety relating to the idea of having to drink beer that isn’t brewed within 1700 kilometres. 

What was wrong with me, I thought, that I could no longer even take pleasure in a glass of cheap beer and some supremely shitty nachos hanging out with some like-minded folks following a baseball game? Had my beer snobbery reached a level that had begun to embarrass even myself?

I shrugged the incident off and retreated home, comforted by my fridge full of seasonal offerings from Muskoka Brewery and a line-up of Adventure Series brews from Amsterdam.

How, I thought, could insisting on drinking beer like this possibly be a bad thing? I wasn’t the one with a psychological problem, the mouth breathing masses drinking macrobeers, I rationalized, were surely the ones with the problem. 

But then a few weeks later I was again rounded up as part of an after-work excursion that ended up at a nearby franchise restaurant and the same panic set in when I faced with a draught list that was an international who’s who of tasteless watery lagers. “Don’t you have anything local on tap?” I heard myself asking, much to the confusion of my Stella-sucking dinner companions. It was actually difficult to refrain from voicing my displeasure at the draught list. Who is this guy? I thought. I was no longer a craft beer snob, I was a craft beer dick.

Locarexia nervoso, it seems then, is a very real psychological disorder that’s posing a serious threat to my enjoyment of activities I’ve always previously loved, including:

  • sitting beside a pool in Mexico,
  • hanging out with most of my friends from high school,
  • getting all day cottage-drunk, and
  • accepting free alcohol at other people’s homes.

And so I’ve decided to do something about it. I’m sure there are more of us out there, suffering in silence, so I opted to pen this confession to let you know you are not alone. You too may have locarexia nervoso if you exhibit telltale symptoms such as snootily uttering the phrase “Actually, Sleeman is owned by Sapporo,” dropping a brewmaster’s first name into a conversation, or thinking you may have made a new friend then changing your mind when you see the Molson Canadian in his/her hand. If this sounds like you, I feel your pain, brother.

So drop me a line if you’d like. I’m even considering starting a support group. I’m not sure where we’ll meet, what we’ll talk about, and even whether or not we’ll make any sort of progress, but one thing is for sure, there will be some fucking great local beer served at our meetings.

11 thoughts on “When drinking local becomes a problem: Locarexia Nervoso

  1. Technically, the name of this disorder should probably be locasitio nervoso since Orexia is the Latin for appetite and Sitis is Latin for thirst, but I thought this just sounded better. So get off my back, Latin people!

  2. My name is Cody, and I have Locarexia/Locasitio Nervoso. “Anything local” is often on my tongue, pasteurization makes me weep, and I have said “no thanks, I’ll just have water” when offered a KokCanSleeCooMol light/lime/50. I often use the analogy that McDonald’s is to food, or U2 to music, as KokCanSleeCooMol is to beer. I would like to correct public’s perception of this disorder – we are much maligned.

  3. Me too….living in Calgary, we are so lucky to have such an amazing selection of breweries. I consider myself a Craft beer freak! My vacations are based upon visit microbreweries. I have tried over 160 craft beers in the past 5months. I heart Canadian Craft Beer!
    I AM SOOOOO excited for Winters to come out, I am salivating.
    Being a craft beer chick/dick…is awesome! 🙂 I am in two clubs and LOVE exchanging, and trying new beers. What a fun adventure drinking craft beer is…. Next weeks theme is PUMPKIN Beer! 🙂

  4. All I can say is that I’m very glad that fellow sufferers are revealing themselves. My work colleagues have actually got to the stage of stopping me from looking at draft lists because they don’t want to be subjected to another “lesson” on why local beer tastes better, is better for economy etc etc.

    1. My work colleagues have actually got to the stage of stopping me from looking at draft lists because they don’t want to be subjected to another “lesson” on why local beer tastes better, is better for economy etc etc.

      Tough shit for them-they have to learn that local beer is mostly better made and tastes better than the supposedly local (but foreign owned) swill that’s been pushed down our throats as Canadian beer for most of the previous century due to a lot of TV advertising (and which we drank and our parents drank because we didn’t know any better.) Now that we do know better, and can brew better, we should all endeavor to drink local beer as much as possible, and leave the corporate swill behind.

  5. I hear you loud and clear. In my case a couple of the symptoms are buying more then your share of (local craft) beer for the softball/hockey team so you don’t have to drink alcohol in the form of beer that the macros produce. Although sometimes tempted, it hasn’t turned into ordering water instead, but it does slow down the consumption to the point that you are now *that guy* at the bar/rink/diamond/house/cottage/park who nurses his beer with the subconscious hope that everyone else will want to leave before you have to order a second.

  6. My high school friends are very supportive of my condition. I recently found myself arriving late to meet the boys at the Pour House for wings. They had ordered pitchers of Bud and each had a full glass in front of them, but my space was beerless. I genuinely thanked them for not pouring me a beer, and they genuinely said, “You’re Welcome.”

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