I’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately, and not the kind that comes from a night of fun. The jury — i.e. my doctor — is still out on what’s causing them, but all I know is the results are devastating: I haven’t had a drink in a week.
Let me be quick to tell you I’m not an alcoholic. I know; that’s exactly what an alcoholic would say. But I consider myself a booze enthusiast. I love the taste more than the intoxication.
Okay, sometimes I like the intoxication. As a Type-A personality fo’ sho’, a glass of wine at the end of the day can help me relax. (And so another generation of young women become their mothers….)
I love the flavor of a good, dry red on the tongue, making the mouth pucker just a little before letting the oak, berry and cocoa settle, or the bitter-weird hardiness of a not-too-hoppy IPA, stroking the throat like a massage, or the milky smoothness of an unfiltered sake. My God, alcohol can be wonderful.
I know you and I are just now meeting, and so far this might seem too much like a happy drunk shoving into you at the bar and spilling ESB and TMI into your lap, but all this is to say I have a passion for beer, wine, liquor, liqueur, vintages, vineyards, viticulture, barrels, brewers, breweries, distilleries and, most of all, any of it that’s local. In fact, I have a bumper sticker from MenaRick Vineyard & Winery that reads: “Yadkin Valley is for wine, Napa is for car parts.”
Let me repeat: I am not an alcoholic.
A few years ago, I wrote the Wines and Vines column for Winston-Salem Monthly, covering topics like Yadkin Valley wineries (RayLen, Elkin Creek), sangria (I got killer recipes from Bruce Heye, “the Wine Guy”), mulled wine (à la Westbend Winery and Brewery) and tips about drinking and weight loss in the New Year (yeah, I’m not a huge fan of that one).
Since then, I’ve been to a ton of craft breweries in the Triad, a bunch of wineries, a beer festival in my hometown of Statesville and a Greensboro booze bus called Tap Hopper Tours. And I have a thirst for more.
Still not an alcoholic.
Assuming I can drink again by, say, Christmas, I think I’ll survive long enough to give you some decent ideas for where and what to drink in the Triad and maybe even convince you of my premonition about the next big “craft” phase.
I may not be nearly as innovative as Eric Ginsburg, this column’s former author — you will not see me making my own craft beer — but I hope you’ll stick around for the ride.
Hop in the back. I’ll be the DD… for now.