Thursday, June 11, 2015

BEER GLUT


There is no such thing as totally safe alcohol consumption, as this article points out. Sorry to burst your champagne bubble. Yes, some people medicate themselves with alcohol to feel better, but that does not mean it is healthy for organs in the human body. Research of alcohol effects lacks proper control studies. Why? It is nearly impossible to find adult control subjects who have never had alcohol in societies with alcohol use .
 
Last evening I attended a zoning committee meeting in my neighborhood. A microbrewery's interest in the neighborhood's reaction to building its plant here was on tap. About ten residents attended out of a neighborhood population in the thousands. Of that ten, I believe I may have been the only one who does not drink alcohol regularly. I actually do not drink alcohol, with the possible sip of wine to be polite once or twice a year.
 
I have been to many civic planning meetings in my time. I have never seen such drooling over a potential factory development abutting a residential neighborhood. My fellow audience members, who all asserted their passion for alcohol in the form of beer, were literally sitting on the edges of their seats as the self-described entrepreneur, not a brewer, described the glories of the project. It seemed that brewing beer was just the tonic which would transform our transitioning neighborhood from pleasant homeliness to veritable Valhalla.
 
I was fortunate to have had a brief discussion with the chair of the meeting before the others arrived. I had been fairly neutral on the subject with minor concerns about aesthetics and traffic until the chair mentioned the smell of a brewery. Of course! "He smelled like a brewery." I have used that term many times myself when describing the unwanted attentions of a drunk. So, I raised the question of the potential smell pollution on my street from the proposed brewery during the Q&A.
 
Oh my! I was pounced upon by several residents who immediately told me, with missionary zeal, that the smell of a brewery is an ecstatic experience which I would absolutely love. I made a mental note for dealing with these people in the future. The entrepreneur looked momentarily crest-fallen. He explained that there were modifications in the exhaust system of the brewery which could solve the odor problem. However, they were not planning to install that system. This confirmed my suspicions that most entrepreneurs don't really give a flying pretzel for the environment of my neighborhood. So, I persisted with the odor issue throughout the meeting, despite dour looks from my beer-happy neighbors with one notable exemption, who was supportive of my concern.
 
I grew up in a small city with a big industrial area. It was noted for its odor. "Revere by the sea. Chelsea by the smell." That was the local joke comparing my city to our neighboring city with a large ocean beach. I am the grandson of a microbrewer. My alcoholic Polish-Lithuanian grandfather was a blacksmith by day and a bath-tub brewer in his spare time. He was also a wife-beater and died a derelict.
 
I am no Carrie Nation by any means. I have been a registered nurse since 1976. I gave up trying to make people choose health a long time ago in favor of simply trying to educate them of its long term benefits. You can lead an addict to sobriety, but you cannot make him stay that way. And our so-called civilization is very stressful, causing people to ingest whatever they can afford to ease the pain. I get it. But none of that changes my informed opinion that alcohol is not generally beneficial to health and microbreweries do indeed stink.
 

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