Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Sober June 2017 - Diary, Part IV, Days 18-23

The days you're about to read of now were planned to be the days of our holiday family trip to Askersund, Sweden. What happened? The trip happened. Read more about it below.

The most usual view from the trip
Day 18

Sunday started with birds singing on a cloudy morning. And of course, kids waking up, making a hell of a noise covering the quite sounds of nature. Well, there ain't a start of the day that coffee can't cure. Slow and peaceful first half day with delicious lunch and nice afternoon coffee break.

The day also brought the start of the family holiday trip. Left the solitude of the countryside on the afternoon and headed to Turku. In Turku harbor, after couple of hours' waiting drove the car inside the cruise ship Viking Grace. The ship was to carry us to Stockholm, Sweden. Short visit in the tax free shop delayed buying my own souvenirs until the cruise back - nothing too exciting. From the start I realized that cruise ships aren't made for sober people. Too much crowd, too much noise.

Craving for a beer: 4

Day 19

A lot of driving today. Woke up at 5.30 local time and drove the car off the ferry in Stockholm at 6.30. Stopped for a one-hour coffee break in Södertälje at 7.30. Got into the Kolmården zoo at 10. And stopped there for a little over six hours. From 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. made our way from the zoo to a small town of Askersund in the north shore of Vättern lake.

Absolutely amazing day. Dead tired from walking and driving around the whole day. No time to think about having a beer. Still, checked out from the net he Swedish goods the local Systembolaget offers to a beer enthusiast for souvenirs. Pretty decent.

Craving for a beer: 2

The Swedes live on the top of a rock...
... or in ball-shaped tents hung in trees.
Day 20

After a well slept night we headed from our cabin to Örebro. Target was at Gustavsvik water world an aquapark called Lost City. Ran around with kids in water slides of many kind and relaxed in a whirlpool for four hours. Finished the day at Örebro by eating good food in Burger Love. I had even a chance to visit Systembolaget and pick some hopefully great Swedish beer- of course as souvenirs for myself.

Second fantastic day on a family holiday without beer in a row. Should I be worried?

Craving for a beer: 2 (just because visited Systembolaget)

Traditional Swedish pets include the tiger..
...and the trout that can wink.
Day 21

Today it was a day in Motala, somewhat slower day than the couple before. Visited Vätternakvariet, a local fish exhibition/aquarium that shows the fish living in Lake Vättern. Without asking got some special guidance on catching and feeding the fish from the caretaker. The kids spent time in the nearby play park. Otherwise the day was just wandering around with some sightseeing near the lake.

Back at the cabin started cleaning and packing, since tomorrow we'll start our way home. Had time to go for a short run. Intentionally the route went by the local pub O'Leary's - seeing people on the terrace reminded me that there's a little over a week of draught left.

Craving for a beer: 3 (after the run something was clearly missing)

The landscape included sandy beaches...
... and boats with names making you laugh and cry.
Day 22

Bye, bye, Askersund! Stopped shortly at the local chocolate shop before heading for the first and only pit stop in Örebro. Lek & Buslandet is an indoor amusement park for children. For me, the great part is that adults get in free. The reason is that parents should look after their kids by themselves. But why settle for that? Parenthood isn't the excuse to stop playing - parenthood is the key to more awesome playgrounds. So it was excellent fun for us big people, too.

On the way to the harbour got lost in Stockholm. After collecting the nerves from the floor everything ended fine: got our vehicle inside Viking Amorella. Also found some additional souvenirs from the tax free shop. All in all, one more day of total fun for our journey.

Craving for a beer: 4 (getting lost in Stockholm doesn't suit the early planner)

Souvenirs from Systembolaget i Örebro...
...and a smaller set from Viking Amorella tax free shop.
Day 23

Midsummer Eve. In Finland the day traditionally includes burning bonfires, overconsumption of alcohol and drowning in the nearest body of water. For us the day was about finishing the trip, leaving the kids with their cousins to Grandpa's house and unpacking the luggage at home. For me it was something completely different from usual behavior and fitting the souvenirs inside the beer cabinet that had shrunken during our holiday. Today the temptation to open up one of the souvenir bottles nearly got too big. In the end, it was just a matter of self-control. "Just."

Craving for a beer: 7 (Those damn souvenir bottles!)


Of course, there would have been the classic George Gershwin's song of the same name. But since it's way too slow to match the trip's general mood, I pick this one from the start of Will Smith's "musical" career.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: Summertime (YouTube)

From the 1991 album Homebase, the song has samples from Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Sober June 2017 - Diary, Part III, Days 11-17

Life goes on. The saga continues. And blah blah blah.

It's not any kind of ale as we all know.
Day 11

Spent the Sunday morning watching my son play in a small soccer tournament. Kinda showed the state of Finnish soccer. The only difference here was that today's players were 4-6 year old boys and girls, the general picture is about adult men. The game looked exactly the same.

Otherwise the day went by so quickly that it seems to have vanished into thin air. Cleaning the house, paying some bills, some family time, watering the trees. Watering the trees? Jesus. June without a drop of beer or any other kind of alcohol starts to have some serious side effects.

Craving for a beer: 4

Day 12

Tonight it was a grill 'n' chill evening with a friend couple and their family. Also it was the first clear chance to slip from the principle. The dude had received good news about getting a new job earlier on the day. So on the way home I picked a bottle of sparkling wine. But I didn't slip - toasted with a mix of ice tea and 7Up. Wasn't hard at all to deny myself the option of some Asti - sweet wines aren't my thing.

Today I realized one thing more clearly than before. The nearest Finnish monopoly i.e. Alko store lies by my direct daily route to work. When the dry month is over, I might get tempted to make a visit and check what's new on my way home a little too often.

Craving for a beer: 3 (and only because visited Alko)

Luckily this is not my lawn to mow.
Day 13

Lesson 1: A good night's sleep is rather to ruin by eating too much grill 'n' chill leftovers during the day. Makes you feel fluffy - in the bad way.

Lesson 2: After heavy eating it's not too clever to go running for the rest of the day. Even though the feeling right after the run would be great, you'll feel pretty bad afterwards. Nevertheless I think the run was good for the body.

Lesson 3: If you do what you're told to avoid in lessons 1 and 2, there's absolutely no craving for beer during the day. Even though brought the Old Numbskull with a couple of friends home today.

Craving for a beer: 1

Day 14

Started with a slow and tired day at the office. The day was sunny and warm, so being at work wasn't the best way to spend the first hours awake. The good thing was - and usually is - the 5-kilometer bicycle ride in the morning there and another back home.

At home it was mowing a part of the lawn and some laundry work. Boring. Had a strange headache all through the day. Should sleep more.

Craving for a beer: 1

One landscape from my asylum
Day 15

Halfway through the challenge. Preparing for next week's family holiday - some packing, some laundry work. It seems that this week I haven't had time or I have been too tired to think about beer or not having one for half a month. Strange.

Craving for a beer: 2

Day 16

Off for a week's holiday. Have been in the new office for a month now. Since the desk there is a height-adjustable one, haven't spent a minute sitting at it. Standing for most of the day starts to take its toll now. Both my legs and my feet are killing me.

The week will mostly be spent with the family. Something special to come but you'll read about it later.

Craving for a beer: 3 (and only because it is Friday)

The instruments of perfection
Day 17

Saturday. Left with wife and kids too see my parents in the countryside. Actually met my brothers and their kids, too. The Grandparents' residence - an old school - has become some kind of asylum or sanctuary to me. Sounds of nature. Fresh air. Room for wandering around and being perfectly still. The best sauna in the world. The Silence.

Excellent place to stop for a day and a night before hitting the road tomorrow. Usually here I cork a bottle or two. Today I corked one bottle of champagne for the others - a late celebration - and settled for some Schweppes.

Craving for a beer: 3 (and only because people around me were opening beer cans)


There's nothing to worry about. It's just a great song that's hard to match with any good beer.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Manic Depression (DailyMotion)

From the 1967 album Are You Experienced, the song was written by Jimi Hendrix.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Sober June 2017 - Diary, Part II, Days 6-10

Time for the second part of my personal one-month long Via Dolorosa. After an easy start, first self-created bumps have been met. However, haven't seen any reason to use the actual Force yet.

Not the usual putting green - mowing this normally requires a beer
Day 6

So, yesterday's wish didn't come true. In Helsinki it was sunny and warm like the first day of actual summer after a nasty cold spring. Immediately the people of the capital city were flooding the streets with T-shirts and shorts on - the Finnish attitude from the first warm day until the end of summer.

Despite the beautiful terrace weather, oddly I didn't miss the beer at all during the whole day. Probably because the burger for the late lunch at Friends & Brgrs was excellent. Probably because my thoughts were completely on work stuff.

Craving for a beer: 1

Day 7

Working in the garden. Even though it wasn't the extreme slavery it'll soon get, it still sucked. Mrs. Gardener hasn't got enough force for the tough jobs of outerior decorations - or at least that's her word - so it's the man of the house who has to use the shovel for the shitwork. The first day of the year carrying sacks of dirt and other gardening crap around the yard means the end of freedom.

Mowing the lawn is the only respectable chore outside in summer. Put the earphones on, turn the volume up, choose some tracks with lyrics about murdering virgins and eating babies and push play. Pull the chord of the lawnmower, hear the Ol' Lady coughing at first, then roaring with the merciless blade swinging, and walk around the green asphalt with the gasoline-sucking smoke-blowing polluter for an hour or so. Middle-aged married man meditating. And finally there's the crown for the drugless nirvana: an easy-drinkable cold beer afterwards. Women and male gardeners know shit about the true soul of the yard works.

Craving for a beer: 5 (still having patience, no pain)

Sauna is also a good reason to have a beer
Day 8

A rainy, gray, tired and boring day. Glad it's over. Nothing fun or magical. No clever thoughts or words of wisdom here.

Just remembered one good thing. A bottle of Old Numbskull should be heading my way soon.

Craving for a beer: 2

Day 9

Friday again. After this there'll be three more Fridays left in June. Last of them is the last day of June. Why am I thinking this kinda thoughts right now?

Probably, because today I did two things that are tightly attached to having a beer. After the extreme stupidity two days ago I finally got to mow the lawn. No cold one popped after that. Later I went to sauna. After sweating and relaxing it would've been great to grab a beer. Would. But didn't.

Craving for a beer: 3 (after mowing the lawn 5 and after sauna 6)

Assembling this would have required a beer and another
Day 10

After the well-slept in five days it's great to ruin it with a visit to a hardware store. The Missus wanted to get a plastic rattan sofa to the terrace, so that's what we got. Unfortunately the furniture required some shittier-than-Ikea style assembly. It's such fun to put the pieces together with Allen bolts that don't fit the holes without using excessive force. Almost split my fingers. Any guesses how much I yearned for a cold brew at the end of the day?

Well, not enough. One third of the month behind, two thirds to go. Seems that getting really pissed rises the motivation to get totally shit-faced.

Craving for a beer: 7


What I've noticed is that not having one beer and relaxing every now and then, can really tighten up the screws. Especially if the legal refreshment is missed with situations that clearly cry out for a pint. Been there, done that.

Megadeth: Angry Again (YouTube)

From the 1993 soundtrack of Last Action Hero, the song was written by Dave Mustaine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Sober June 2017 - Diary, Part I, Days 1-5

As promised in the previous post, there will be short but pointless and boring checks how things are going with the beerless beer blogger. Since I don't have the time to hang behind the dashboard every day, I'm publishing this month's diary in stacks of five or more days. You and the other reader probably think - at least after you've read this text - that it's still too frequent. One short summary would be enough: "It honestly sucked big time." Sorry, but my life is self-inflicted suffering right now and you have to face the consequences.

No tears - just walked past Kaisla and Sori Taproom on Day 5.
Day 1

Checked out from Olutopas what's coming to Alko shelves in June. Nothing too fancy - I believe that the Flying Dutchman will still be available in July as will probably the other couple of interesting ones -  so nothing will be missed during the break. Possibly will take some brews home to wait during the month.

Also checked out some comments on the frozen Finnish Alcohol Act updating process. It's sadly funny to notice, how people seem to get stuck on words that politicians use rather than looking at what's actually going on. Of course, it's sad that the politicians tend to both exaggerate and underrate the influence of decisions but people should see things in bigger picture. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Yes, it should - unfortunately lately politicians have shown to be more like incarnations of greed, cronyism and neglect than liable, trustworthy and co-operative people.

Craving for a beer (1-10, 1 meaning nothing and 10 meaning serious shaking): 2

Day 2

Friday. When was the last Friday without a beer? Oh yes, last Friday - after SOPP Tampere. While leaving home from work today one mate said he's gonna crack one beer open. When asking what beer he answered Hoegaarden. It helped: my craving for weekend opener dropped a notch.

One reason for choosing June for a beer free month probably was that I'm not that into summer brews. Traditional summer wheat beers suck, "unnatural" sour ales suck even more and you can always have an IPA - and always be without having it. Right now though it would be nice to crack one hoppy one open and... But no.

Craving for a beer: 5 (after the Hoegaarden mention: 4)

Day 3

Saturday almost completely wasted. Probably too tired from the working week - mostly just sitting around. Cleaning the house a bit, mowing the lawn and playing with the iPad too much. I hope that spending time with Dream League Soccer will not turn into the favorite pastime of the month. If there are things that are fun and boring at the same time, playing computer games usually falls into that category.

The lady asked if she should bring some mild lager from the shop. Answered that if she ain't gonna start drinking beer there's no need. In the end, she bought ice cream instead of cider from sympathy. Nice, although unnecessary.

Craving for a beer: 3 (it was a very slow Saturday although someone mentioned the word 'beer')

Day 4

Slow-started day finally turned into an energetic end of the weekend. In the evening though, the clock was almost stopped since having some coffee and cake at the father-in-law's, brother-in-law's and the latter's son's combined birthday party. Discussion with the youngest of them who turned four probably saved the day. Pretty analytic young fellow. To grow fast they seem, Yoda would have said.

Back at the house had a blast with the vacuum-cleaner and the washing machine. In the midst of the intensive household jobs I did a cracking amount of chin ups and push ups. Finished the day with an 8-kilometer run with a friend. An IPA afterwards would've been OK but managed fine without.

Craving for a beer: 2

A part of grey and rainy Helsinki caught to the memory card
Day 5

Waking up at 4:30 a.m. with roughly four hours of actual sleep after being overalert because of the late exercise isn't my thing. Sitting for over three hours in a train to Helsinki and drinking a cup of bad coffee isn't my thing. Having to walk past some pretty decent pubs in the evening after the day's workshop when it's raining outside isn't my thing.

Well, at least the day's work was my thing and walking in the rain was at least refreshing. The day wasn't completely lost. By the way, the capital of Finland is very ugly and depressing when it rains. And there weren't too many people on the bar terraces today. I'm not bad or evil but I wish it would rain and be very cold until the beginning of July.

Craving for a beer: 3 (after the self torture, i.e. walking by Kaisla and Sori Taproom: 6)


Theme song of this month. Do I need to clarify? No? Good.

Garbage: Only Happy When It Rains (YouTube)

From the 1995 album Garbage, the song was written by Garbage.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ölmönger Special: Sober June 2017 - Prologue

"From this day on I will not drink a single beer nor any other alcoholic substance until the 1st of July 2017."
No need for this for a while.
So there went the official declaration. I'm taking this month off from enjoying great, good, mediocre and bad beers - and other alcoholic beverages, too. The particular reason for this idiocy is "for a change". There are no health, mental, social, gastronomic or other issues behind a sober month that I'm aware of. I'm usually not eager to dare or challenge myself with routines and I don't want to test my will power, motivation, attitude, commitment or other shit people call mental strength. For a change, for fun & entertainment and for the sake of stupid ideas and empty arguments are the correct answers to the question "why".
Today's cheers!
"It'll be a quiet month with the blog, then?"

Wrong. In addition to the fact that in three months the blog's beer backlog has grown to around 30 tasty or very tasty brews that wait to be ölbeated (i.e. written and finalized), there are several other beery things to write about:
A beer lover's sober diary (or at least some samples). It would consists completely of factual and fictional text on what the main character thinks about his situation of beerlessness, how full or empty his life has become, how he thinks or doesn't think about a pint or a half, what alternative activities he finds to replace drinking beer etc. Damn interesting like every public diary is, if you ask me.

A bicyclist's brewery tour in Pori without beer. There are four operative commercial breweries in Pori and a brewery restaurant Beer Hunter's owned by one of them. The cycling distance between the northern-most and the southern-most is a little over 10 kilometers. Having the start point in the city center and the end point at the Beer Hunter's pub would make the tour around 20 kilometers long. Since the purpose is to ride the complete tour with a bike, it's probably a good idea not to have any beer involved. If any of the breweries in Pori get interested - nice. If not - bugger.

Couple of texts on things that suck ass in Finnish beer scene. I mean things like
  • using and even discussing about the completely redundant concept of beer culture - this one is guaranteed
  • inventing or beer trends out from the crystal ball ("This summer it'll be a sour ale summer." No, it didn't get there last summer and it won't this time.)  
  • calling people to join "the craft beer movement" to oppose the "wrong kind" of beer drinking and drinking beer of a "wrong kind" - I guess this is a global thing but nevertheless, the idea sucks but has sold well
  • combining brewers, journalists, politicians and consumers with mostly different thoughts, aims and motives to one solid group of people and calling it the "beer society"
  • seeing the alcohol politics and plans for development either completely in black or completely in white... 
The fountain of self-asserted and pseudo-philosophical crap around beer offers an infinite number of topics for critical and provocative stories, which will probably circle around the basic simple question "why are we wasting our time to this decorative bullshit instead of just simply enjoying beer". I promise that I can't give an absolutely correct answer to the question but I can give some options.

"So one answer for the one month break could be your blog?" Yeah. Definitely maybe.

One thing is for sure. Since I don't drink beer in June, there'll be no basic Ölbeats or any other beer reviews published until July. Skitbit June 2017 will be violently skipped, too - my apologies to Laitila, Radbrew, Ruosniemi, Saimaa and other Finnish microbreweries for that. ;) Just because of an idiotic principle. Unless I decide to turn into a non-alcoholic drink blogger on the way. I probably won't - but you can never tell. But there will be music.


Nothing to do with the subject or the reasons behind it. But it would be hard to match this with a drinkable beer, I think. And I like Amy Lee's voice.

Evanescence: Call Me When You're Sober (YouTube)

From the 2006 album The Open Door, the song was written by Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo