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:
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.