I've slowed down. I'm only rating at a pace of about 500-600 beers each year, rather than the 1000 or so I used to rate (ok, so it's a relative thing). I'm drinking more for pleasure rather than rating, but I'm also drinking less overall. As I'm getting older I seem to have less endurance, not that I was a real heavyweight in the first place. Also, the acidity of the beers seems to hit me a fair amount, whereas until about a year ago, I never had heartburn from beer.
Circumstances are helping with my cutting back. The DC RateBeer crew is a little less organized than it was about a year ago, as a couple of key members have moved -- thus, there are fewer local tastings to attend. It probably also helps that Tom has moved a few blocks away, so we're not drinking together as much. Also, I missed my second RateBeer Summer Gathering in a row (this year was San Francisco), after attending the first six.
Still, it's hard to limit myself as much as perhaps I should, given my continuing love for beer. Indeed, this weekend Tom and I made our way up to Cooperstown, New York to indulge in Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, an annual beer festival organized by Ommegang Brewery and held on their premises (I also made it up there last year). We got there on Friday afternoon and camped there with many other beer devotees, including a large number of RateBeer members, several of whom I've known for years. The festival is Saturday afternoon, but really the best part of the weekend is the beer that other attendees bring to share when the festival isn't taking place -- people bring bottles, growlers, and kegs to share with their fellow beer lovers.
And despite the incredible amount of great beer flowing, I actually did a fairly good job of limiting the amount of beer I consumed. I got there tired due to too little sleep on Wednesday night, and rather than force myself to stay up late that first night, I went to bed after the shmancy beer dinner (that included plenty of beer). Saturday I held off drinking until about 10am, mostly stopped by about 8pm (which was when the real beer sharing got going), and turned in early again. Upon my return I joked with Kathy that I got more sleep camping at a loud beer festival than I would have in my own bed.
For the next month or so I'm going to try to cut back dramatically, and see if I can shed a couple of the pounds that have accumulated around my waist. I'm not about to stop altogether, and indeed am looking forward to the new brewpubs to hit when we go up to Vermont next month. All the same, a little moderation for a little while could make a little difference.