And so my trips to buy new beers have dropped off -- hard to keep to a budget when a stop at State Line eats up all your money for a month. And even though I spend far less per visit to one of my favorite bars than I do at State Line, those trips have tapered off too. To be honest though, that started in earnest when I went on a diet at the first of the year.
At the same time as I've been cutting back on beer geekery, I've been undergoing (as Kathy put it) my once-a-decade move to a new online community. In the '90s, it was jumbalaya, a community of people who like playing boggle. In the '00s, it was ratebeer, a community of beer geeks. In both these instances, I've made a number of friends that extended beyond the virtual into the real world.
And now, I've discovered turntable.fm, a music site where you dj for others in a chat room. I'm finding new music, and meeting folks who enjoy the same music I do. Given that I love music but had given up on radio long ago, this is a wonderful discovery. And let's face it, listening to music in a chat room costs no more than one's internet connection, whereas there's only so much enjoyment one can get talking about new beers without spending on the beer itself.
And so instead of spending on beer as much, I'm now spending on concerts. I spent about the same at each of two shows in March as I would have for a night at a bar. And while I can't remember a single beer I had the last time I went to my favorite beer bar, I expect the great memories of the last show I attended, Langhorne Slim at Iota, will be with me for quite some time.
I haven't stopped there either -- my passion has resulted in our summer plans including a trip to a music festival. We'll see how it goes with the whole family camping at a four-day music fest, but fingers crossed it's the beginning of a family tradition.
This isn't about a rejection of beer -- I'll still drink and rate beer as the opportunities arise (and for the fifth year in a row, we'll still be doing at least one camping beer weekend). I would love to try more beers and go to a bunch of shows, but the budget and the time isn't available. And at this point in my life, to the extent I have to choose, I'm choosing music over beer.