Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pictures of the kids

Beer is beautiful. At least it should be.

Whether it's the tiny bubbles settling in a well-poured Irish stout, Belgian lace coating the inside of a glass in snowflake-like patterns, or merely the the rich pallete of beer colors: obsidian, caramel, amber, red, gold, and straw--beer should be a feast for all your senses (I like the way it sounds, too).

So I thought I'd snap a few pictures of some brews near and dear to my heart while working on bottling this weekend.

Mole Porter, v. 3.0. Though beers tend to look darker in large volumes, this one is just as black in the glass.

Chris' hefeweizen, which I enjoyed while getting ready to bottle. Notice the excellent head retention. (Aside--this good beer, Muddy. I know it isn't what you were aiming for, but I think it's maturing into an interesting combination of flavors. Play with it a little and you might be on to a completely new style.)

Matrimoniale, my pride and joy. I was worried about this on the first few tastings, now it's all I can do to keep from drinking more than one at once. Not a beer for everybody, it's definitely more in line with the more aggressive Belgian trippels (think Westmalle, if you've ever had that). But I'm really, really happy with this one. I hope I can pull it off again.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Drink A Day...

...keeps the inches away?

So says a new study published in BMC Public Health.

Now, I am routinely merciless in my evaluation of public health "studies" in my professional life, so it would be hypocritical of me to be any less rigorous in my reading of this just because I happen to like the results. Among other things, their endpoint is BMI, which is used not because it is remotely relevant, but because it is easy*.

Still, I think the results of this are instructive. Though I don't for a minute think that there is a causal relationship between having a drink or so every day and avoiding obesity (and neither, to their credit, do the authors of the study suggest this), this may reflect a couple of general principles.

First is good, old-fashioned moderation in all things. People who drink moderately probably eat moderately, too. (The study also showed a correlation between heavy drinking and increased risk of obesity.)

Another, I think, is that a generally relaxed attitude about life is good for you. That may sound facile, but there is pretty good evidence that stress and the increased cortisol levels that go with it are positively associated with abdominal fat deposition (possibly an evolutionary artifact of a time when we had to survive periods of food scarcity, something that was no doubt rather stressful!)

Anyway, the all-or-nothing approach to anything strikes me as a pretty tough way to get through the day. Balance. Balance. Balance.

There are many ways to unwind...and for some of us, few things beat a tasty brew at the end of a long day. And I do have one pretty much every night...though in my case, it usually follows an hour or two at the gym...

...but I guess that kind of proves my point...

*Because BMI is calculated from only height and weight, you can simply mine charts for the data. A trained monkey medical student can do this. A vastly superior metric would be body composition, measured by skin impedance or even just the old-fashioned caliper method. But this requires actual work...