Opioid Treatment: Making Changes

A lot of people are aware of what treatment for alcohol addiction involves. However, not too many are aware about opioid treatment. In fact, overdoses from these drugs caused over 42,000 deaths in 2016 alone. Therefore, it’s important to know what kind of assistance is available…

Opioid Treatment: Seeking Help

Assessment

The first part of any opioid treatment plan is seeking out help. This starts by you having a meeting with a clinician. These are any certified health professional, like a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or nurse. Here, the clinician will preform an assessment to see how you are doing.

Usually, this is done by asking a series of questions. These questions might be related to how long you’ve been using drugs. They may also ask about any outside factors which might influence the addiction. Then, the clinician will do a physical to check on your overall health.

Establish support

Support is a big part of any opioid treatment plan. Your clinician will help you set up counseling meetings, either with them or another qualified person. Meeting with a counselor can really help you improve your self-worth and stick with your treatment plan. Plus, they can also help you identify what kind of situations might encourage you to relapse.

Of course, it also helps to have strong support from family and friends. Having your family and friends backing you can really give you the confidence to stick to your treatment. Plus, they can help you keep to the plan and apply it in real life, outside of your appointments.

Medication

Withdrawals are a nasty part of any kind of addiction recovery. However, opioid withdrawals tend to be very unpleasant. This can cause a lot of people who try to quit “cold turkey” to relapse. Due to this, special medications are also included as part of an opioid treatment plan.

These medications (like methadone) will help you control these withdrawal symptoms. Each one works in different ways, so some may work better than others depending on the symptoms you have. Still, it’s important to make sure you take these medications properly, with your counselors guidance. 

Wine Bottles: Do They Make A Difference?

Wine bottles tend to give off a pretty simple appearance. However, different bottles do actually come with different features. Size, shape, and color are just some of the ways these bottles can be unique from one another…

Wine Bottles: Size, Shape, and Color

Bottle size

How many sizes do wine bottles come in? If you ask most people, they may only say they know of one. That being the standard .75 liter bottle which you can find all over, from grocery stores to liquor stores. Some people still refer to it as a “fifth”, which refers to it being 1/5 of a gallon, the standard U.S. wine measurement until the ATF adopted the metric system in 1979.

However, wine can actually come in 12 different sizes. Most of these sizes are much larger than the standard bottle. Hence, most people use biblical figures to refer to them, as they come in “biblical proportions”. The largest of these sizes is the “Solomon”, which is 24 times larger than a standard bottle!

Bottle shape

Most wine drinkers are used to wine bottles coming in a few select shapes. However, much like with sizes, there’s quite a large variety of shapes used. Still, most winemakers tend to use three shapes the most often: the Bordeaux bottle, the Burgundy bottle, and the Alsace bottle. 

These bottles serve as nods to where the wine in question was made, or the history behind it. Bordeaux bottles tend to have defined shoulders, whereas a Burgundy bottle has more gentle slopes. Meanwhile, the Alsace bottle is long and slender.

Bottle color

The last element of wine bottles is their color. Unlike the previous elements, bottle color can actually impact the drink inside. This is mainly due to the wine aging process. Certain colors can help control the oxidation process, which in turn prevents the wine from going bad or dull. 

As a result, most wine bottles tend to be some shade of green, which does a good job at controlling the oxidation process. Reds tend to have much darker greens, whereas whites tend to opt for lighter greens. However, certain wines like rosé can show up in clear bottles. 

Beer Packaging: Benefits & Differences

If you’re planning on buying beer from the store, you’ll find it tends to either come in cans or bottles. This might make you wonder why exactly different companies use different beer packaging. As it turns out, each on offers their own set of benefits…

Beer Packaging: Cans vs Bottles

Origins of modern packaging

Beer packaging has been customary for centuries. Brewers have been placing their brews in barrels, casks, and other storage containers since it was first made. However, modern packaging has only been around for a little over 100 years. This is because of the introduction of pasteurization into the industry. 

Pasteurization made it possible for brewers to place their beers in cans or bottles for longer periods of time, and still ensure it was safe to drink. However, these days modern sanitation practices have made some think it’s not needed, and that it lessens a beer’s flavor. Still, without it, we wouldn’t have had the packaging we have today.

Cans

The first, and perhaps most wide-spread kind of beer packaging to look at, are cans. Some companies like to use cans because of their extra sturdiness. Plus, they tend to be easier to store and package in bulk. However, they have once controversial element: the alleged metal taste they give beers.

Still, the thing about these cans is they use inner liners, which prevent the beer from touching the can directly. So why complaints about taste? In reality, it actually comes down to smell. Smell plays a big role in taste, so if you’re smelling a metal can while drinking beer, you might think it has a bit of a metal taste.

Bottles

Beer bottles have bee around for a long time as a beer packaging option. As a result, they’ve gone through a lot of change over the years. However, many bottle are pretty standardized these days. Most tend to keep the same standard size, shape, and metal cap seal. Bottles are an especially popular choice for craft beer brewers.

One area where bottles vary is down to the color. Bottles can come in colors like brown or green, or even just clear glass. Brown is commonly chose because it blocks more light out, and keeps the beer fresher for longer. Still, it’s a good idea to keep bottled beer away from light, no matter its color. 

Tannins: Are They Bad?

If you’ve drank wine before, you’ve probably heard the term wine tannins before. However, not everyone knows exactly what they are or how they impact your wine. Better understanding what they are can help you improve your wine knowledge…

Tannins: What Role Do They Play?

What they are

Tannins are a naturally occurring compound found inside of grapes. Mainly, these compounds show up in the grape’s skin, seeds, and stems. As a result, it’s only natural for them to show up in your wines. While the grape juice turns into wine, the skin, seeds, and stems release their tannins.

The longer the grapes soak, the more of the compounds are released. This is what makes certain wines more tannic than others. For instance, red wines tend to be very tannic due to having longer soak and pressing times. By comparison, white wines tend to have less of these compounds in them.

The impact on wine

Tannins impact wine in a couple of ways. Their main impact comes in mouthfeel. These compounds create a dry sensation in the mouth when your drink wines with them. Therefore, very tannic wines will impart a much dryer mouthfeel than those which have less.

These compounds also act as a natural antioxidant. This helps protect the wines as they age, which makes them key for wine-makers who want to age their wines. For example, this is what makes wines like Cabernet Sauvignon so appealing to age. Plus, antioxidants also give health benefits to humans as well!

Downsides?

The main downsides of tannins depend on your own personal preferences. If you’re a fan of dry foods and drinks, then they’ll probably be right up your alley. However, if the thought of drying out your mouth isn’t too appealing, then you’ll probably want to opt for wines which have minimum amounts of the compound in them.

There’s also the issue of headaches. Tannins can cause headaches for some people when they drink wines. Obviously, no one likes a headache, especially when trying to drink some wine. Still, all that means is you’ll want to look for those wines which have less of these compounds. 

Wine Headaches: What’s the Culprit?

Wine headaches can make people feel like they’ve got a nasty hangover. Often times, these headaches are the result of people not drinking enough water alongside their wine. However, sometimes they can occur even when you watch your intake. As it turns out, there’s a few other factors which could be the culprits…

Wine Headaches: Finding the Cause

Tannins

Tannins are one potential source of wine headaches. These are the impurities in wine which come from the grape skins, seeds, and stems. While all wines have tannins in them, red wines tend to have the most. For most people, tannins just cause a slightly dry sensation in the mouth. However, for others, they can be a cause of headaches. 

One way to see if tannins cause you problems is by performing the black tea test. Much like wines, black tea is strong in tannins. Allow your tea to over-steep to get the most tannins into the tea, and try to drink it. If you experience a headache, then you’ll know you and tannins don’t match.

Sugar

Sugar can be another source of wine headaches. This is especially true when alcohol is involved. Sugar, much like with alcohol, requires your body to use a lot of water to process it. If you aren’t well-hydrated, then your body will have to work overtime to process both the sugar and alcohol in wine, which can lead to worse headaches.

Aside from ensuring you drink enough water, there’s some other steps you can take. For instance, you might want to avoid dessert wines or cheaper wines, which tend to have a lot of added sugars. You may also want to avoid white wines which are “sweet” or “semi-dry”, as they also have some high sugar content.

Histamines

The last main cause of wine headaches are histamines. These are the chemicals which our bodies release when we have allergic reactions. As a result, they’re behind symptoms like runny noses and watery eyes. Another one of those unpleasant symptoms tends to be headaches.

Recently, experts have found that aged food and drink can cause our bodies to release histamines when we consume them. However, this doesn’t mean that wine is something you have to give up on. Taking a histamine blocker beforehand can help prevent a headache from starting. 

Pale Ale: A Popular Choice

Ale is one of the two major types of beer out there. However, pale ale certainly stands out as the most popular choice these days. Still, what exactly makes this style such a hit? There’s a few reasons as to why this beer has taken off in recent times…

Pale Ale: What Makes It Popular?

The beginnings

Pale ale, like a lot of unique beer types, came about due to advances in technology. Mainly, this technological advance was in regards to the brewing process. For a long time, the standard fuel for kilns was wood. However, brewers found it difficult to control the heat, often resulting in darker brews than they envisioned.

Things took a turn when brewers began using coke. Coke is a fuel source which is made by heating up coal in an air-tight space. The result is a very powerful, and very consistent, source of fuel which brewers began using to make pale ales. The most popular brewers were those from Burton-on-Trent, who began labeling their brews as pale ales.

The brewing process

With how tricky it was to produce pale ale, you might assume that the brewing process must be pretty in-depth. However, it’s actually pretty similar to how one would brew any other kind of beer. The main difference between ales and their counterparts, lagers, mainly comes down to the yeast.

Ales are what’s known as top-fermented. This means brewers place the yeast at the top of the wort, and let it ferment. Brewers also use high temperatures in the brewing process. Pale ales simply go an extra step in this department, as their brewing process involves even higher temperatures.

Taste and variants

Pale ale falls into a nice middle spot when it comes to flavors. These ales tend to have a good balance between the sweetness of malts and the bitterness of hops. As a result, they’re popular with beer drinkers who usually only stick to lagers and other darker beers.

Plus, this balance makes them very popular in craft brews. A lot of the most popular craft beers on the market tend to be pale ales, like IPAs or American Pale Ales. Each of these variants offers a bit of a unique spin on the standard pale ale concept.

IPA: A Craft Beer Staple

If there’s one beer type that many people associate with craft beers, it’s the IPA. Still, what exactly makes this beer variety such a popular choice? If you’re curious to know why this is, you might be surprised to learn that it really comes down to one specific factor…

IPA: A Popular Choice

The history

The origins of the IPA concept start as far back as the 1700’s. As the story goes, traditional beer brews apparently couldn’t survive the trip by sea to India. As a result, a London-based brewer named George Hodgson developed this lighter brew which could survive the trip, and made a fortune off of it.

However, the reality is a bit different. Hodgson’s brew was popular, but he wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of making a lighter ale style. Plus, other beers could in fact survive the trip to India just fine. In reality, beer drinkers in India just really enjoyed the brew, hence the name Indian Pale Ale.

The role of hops

The defining feature of an IPA are the hops. Indeed, these brews have considerably more hops in them than other brews. This explains their much more lighter appearances. In fact, it was the hops in the original brews which made them taste more fresh than other beer brews, despite their long voyages to India. 

Hops, however, can be somewhat polarizing. Some beer drinkers love the flavors hops can bring to an IPA. This is why they’re such a popular choice for craft beers. Still, others feel that they make the beers too bitter to really be enjoyable over other choices.

Different styles

With how popular the IPA style is these days, it makes sense that a lot of different styles have popped up over the years. For example, the British style is much more closer to the original, very-hoppy version. However, American styles vary by coast; West Coast versions favor bitterness, whereas East Coast ones prefer balance with malts.

One of the more newer versions which has been gaining ground has been the Belgian style. The Belgian style favors experimenting with fruity hops, creating a nice middle ground between traditional brews and the more-bitter IPAs. This makes them a popular pick for craft beer brewers.

Digestifs: Unique Drinks & History

Most people assume that drinks tend to accompany a meal. However, there is a special kind of drink which comes after everyone has ate: digestifs. These unique drinks have a pretty interesting history to them. In fact, you’re probably more familiar with some of them than you realize…

Digestifs: A Sip With History

The history

Digestifs go back pretty far in terms of history. Originally, people drank them for their perceived medical benefits. Much like bitters, people thought the drinks could be cures to nearly any ailment. This was due to the variety of herbs and spices one could find in these drinks. 

Eventually, in the 18th century, people began to bring the drink over to the dinner table. The drink ingredients were thought to help with stomach aches and making it easier to digest foods. As a result, people began drinking them after they ate, usually after either a big lunch or their dinners.

Your options

Digestifs come in a very wide variety of options. In fact, drinks you may already enjoy could technically be a digestif! For instance, fortified wines like Ports and Sherrys fall under this category. So do drinks like Congac and brandy. Even Scotch can be a digestif, as people usually drink it after meals.

However, there’s also some choices you might not be familiar with. There’s Italian amaris, which tend to be much more bitter than other drinks. There’s also French liqueurs, which have much more herbal flavors than their counterparts. Germany also has their own variants, including choices such as Jägermeister or the ever-potent Underburg Bitters.

How to drink them

Don’t worry about digestifs being some complicated drink to pull off. In fact, they’re actually pretty easy. More often than not, people tend to simply drink them straight, either chilled or at room temperature. Certain options are taken like a shot, whereas others are sipped over time.

Still, if you do want to get a bit fancy with it, you can make some cocktails with a digestif. The simple, yet effective Old-Fashioned is one of the most popular choices. You could also opt for something a bit more unique, like the 1800’s-throwback Sazerac.

Craft Beers: What’s the Difference?

One of the most popular trends in the beer world has been the rise of craft beers. You can find these beers in practically any bar, brewery, and even store now. But what exactly makes a beer “craft”? As it turns out, there’s a few things which go into this definition…

Craft Beers: What Are They?

The definition

The definition of craft beers is rather simple. These are beers which are made by small, independent breweries. That means the big major names in the beer industry tend to not be involved. Instead, these breweries tend to be more locally-based and smaller in scale. 

Most people know these drinks from the wide variety of different flavors they come in. Now, having a unique flavor isn’t exclusive to craft beers. But, due to the freedom these breweries have, they have the ability to experiment more with their brews. This is why you see so many different flavors coming out of breweries like these.

What about “microbrewery”?

If you were following the beer scene in the 1990’s, you might’ve heard the term “microbrewery” thrown around a lot. Those in beer industry also used this term to refer to small, independent breweries that were popping up at the time. So what exactly lead to this term falling out of use and craft beer becoming the new norm?

There’s actually two main reasons for this. Firstly, the actual law behind being a “micro” brewery limits the amount of beer the breweries could produce. As these breweries became more and more popular, it also just didn’t make sense to still be called a “micro” brewery. As a result, the term slowly fell out of favor.

Is craft better quality?

A common misconception about craft beers is thinking they’re all better than mass-produced beers. After all, when we hear “craft”, we assume that means a higher quality standard. However, this isn’t always the case. Just because a beer is “craft” doesn’t mean you’ll find it tasting better than other options.

The same goes for bigger beers. It all comes down to personal preference. So, don’t let the craft label eschew your perception too much. All it refers to is how they craft the beer, not how it might end up tasting to you. 

Bitters: Crafting Cocktails

Most people think that mixed drinks are a simple equation: just add your mixerand your liquor of choice. However, there are some extra touches which you can make use of. One of those extra ingredients can be bitters. While their name might fool you, they can actually add a new level of uniqueness to your drinks…

Bitters: A Drink Enhancer

A tricky name

Bitters have a bit of a deceiving name. For starters, they don’t refer to some kind of bitter feeling. After all, it wouldn’t make much sense to drink something that makes you feel that way! Instead, they’re actually a liquor-based flavoring agent which are added to drinks. Due to how potent they are, people add them to drinks in droplet-sized amounts.

However, don’t think that these enhancers only add bitter flavors to drinks either. In fact, they actually can add a wide variety of extra flavors. For instance, there can be spices, fruits, roots, herbs, and plenty more. As a result, you can have bitters which are sweet, tangy, sour, or anything in-between.

The history

At first, bitters didn’t start out as an extra drink ingredient. Originally, people believed they provided medical benefits, like boosts to the immune system or a curing malaria. Historians have traced the first bitter back to ancient Egypt, where Egyptians mixed wines with local herbs.

However, the Middle Ages is where the modern concept of a bitter developed. As alcohol became more available, and doctors believed it to have healing properties, more and more people began mixing herbs and other similar items with them. Eventually, once the cocktail began to take off, it was only natural bitters found their way to them.

Modern usage

These days, bitters are growing in popularity. As more unique kinds of cocktails continue to pop up, people are always looking for new flavors to mix with them. The rise of craft distillers has especially helped bitter companies continue to grow and expand in size and popularity.

Flavors are also continuing to grow in variety. These days, you can find flavors like grapefruits, cumin, and even barbecue in stores or at bars. Plus, you can even make your own unique flavors at home!