STOPtober. MOvember. There's probably a PLEBuary going on somewhere. Every month has to be A Thing, usually with a #trending #hashtag clinging obligatorily to its loins.
This month is, of course, a Double-Whammuary. We've got #Dryanuary - where people give up the grog for a month for charity, auto-detoxication or some combination of the two - and the beer industry backlashtag, #Tryanuary, encouraging drinkers to keep on putting themselves out there, supporting pubs by trying something new and different.
Both camps have plenty of support: Top beer writer Pete Brown goes dry, and is probably dying for a pint by now, while Hardknott brewer Dave Bailey makes a solid and impassioned counter-argument and is unlikely to be thirsty.
Which u-ary are u?
The underlying premise of the 'Dry' camp is that we all overdo things on the alcohol front over the Festive season and it's time for a bit of misery and austerity and discipline'n'shit.
'A pint... of lime and soda' says the chap in the TV spot. All very sanctimonious. You too can be healthier and do your bit for charity. It's the least you can do after that Christmas you had...
Of course, In the real world one size doesn't fit all. I've got better things to do with my time than do the sums, but in all likelihood I probably drink slightly less during December than the rest of the year, mainly because the pubs tend to fill up with the sort of fairweather drinkers I find intolerable.
I'm not having a go if you do want to be abstemious for a few weeks; It's a perfectly good and noble thing, but the thing is, there is already a perfectly good time, not that deep into the calendar year, to do this.
It's called Lent and it's served our self-abnegating tendencies well for centuries. Not a bad time to give to charity either.
Do people really need a manufactured, hashtagged, Heathencunt alternative to give something up these days?
|Just me, having a beer|
As for the alternative, 'Tryanuary' sounds really great in theory - I love trying new beers - but it only works if the brewers come up with interesting, innovative, genuinely new things for us all to try.
The bland, malty reality is that in three weeks of January so far, I've found fuck-all to write home about in the beer department - in stark contrast to the last couple of months of 2014.
Where is the black Saison? Where is the dry-hopped cask Trippel? Where, indeed, is the chocolate and berry porter I had in November?
Call me cynical, but could the real target market for Tryanuary actually be those Pub n00bs that usually only emerge from their sitting rooms in December? The sort of people for whom anything over 5% is a super-strong novelty and who have never even tried a Black IPA, let alone a Berlinner Weisse or Imperial Baltic Porter.
So, given a choice between #Dryanuary and #Tryanuary... can I just bail the fuck out and choose January?
Or, maybe I should invent #SteeleyeSpanuary, where we carry on drinking good beer and make a point of listening to more Steeleye Span. Yep, that one works for me.