Accumulation white India Pale Ale, from New Belgium Brewing Co.

Accumulation white India Pale Ale, from Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing Co., is a good post-project refreshment, and inspiration to change/improve habits during “Try” January for Pikes Pub writer Stephanie Earls.

About this time last year, I abandoned my attempt at Dry January due to a not-entirely-unforeseen crisis of willpower. I promised myself that in 2021, really for real this time, I’d do it. A whole month of tee-totaling. My life would be changed utterly. I’d be a new person, richer, healthier, and empowered!

Yeah. ... not gonna happen.

If it weren’t for beer, and occasionally work and groceries, I wouldn’t leave the house. At least now I can blame the situation on something other than lack of a social life. If there’s a bright side to this pandemic, which there isn’t, that would have to be it.

I live alone and have always been a homebody, but before there were occasional witnesses whose visits served to keep me in line. The shut-in, shut-down situation has allowed me to indulge the worst inclinations of my nature.

Turns out I require external motivation and the threat of judgment-by-peers to do stuff like wash my hair and clean the house. It’s liberating, in a way, but such enlightenment comes at a steep price. I can smell part of it right now wafting from the direction of the kitty litter corner. (Which means my sniffer is still working, and that’s a good thing, right?)

Thankfully, there’s still beer.

I don’t want to give it up, not after the year we’ve had — nor the first few weeks of the year we’re in. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up the idea of personal betterment. I definitely need to establish some new habits, and am hoping beer can help me do it.

So instead of a Dry January, I’m using my favorite beverage as a carrot — something to inspire and help get me through. Not in a drown-my-sorrows way (because that’s a bad idea and also doesn’t work), but as incentive to improve.

I’m calling it Try January.

To wit: Do that task, earn a beer.

A sudsy reward once got me up the Manitou Incline, and that’s way more sweat and steps that it would take to walk over there and load the dishwasher. Or vacuum. Or change the kitty litter. Even if I’m the only one smelling it.

I’ve also dialed back the ABV; anything over 6.5% is for special occasions only.

Baby steps.

Right now, I’m digging Accumulation, a white India Pale Ale from New Belgium Brewing Co. that doesn’t taste like “drinking a fistful of pennies,” as one reviewer described, thereby summing up, perfectly, the sensation that in recent months has turned me off some of my old standards.

At a smooth-drinking 6.2% ABV, Accumulation is a perfect project/task/assignment beer.

I mean, post-project/task/assignment beer.

If nothing else, the rules of Try January lower the odds of overindulgence. I’d have to be really motivated for that.


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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