As a matter of fact, I do like beer.
As a kid, beer – alcohol in general – was a bit of a fear factor for me because alcoholism runs deep in my family. So other than getting a sip of my dad’s beer when I was just a wee lad, I avoided it until my last days of high school. I’ve always been mindful of what alcohol can do to you long-term, so I’m tried to be as responsible as possible when drinking.
The funny thing is, it used to be that drinking cheap beer and having to take a leak every 15 minutes was the biggest problem I’d have with beer drinking. These days, I have to eat antacid so I don’t get heartburn.
But this piece is about celebration. It is about beer. It also happens to be the birthday of Tom T. Hall, the gifted song-writer who wrote the wonderful ode to beer – “I Like Beer” – back in the early 1970’s.
In my early days of drinking – when I was beholden to someone else to supply the beer – I wasn’t too picky. I remember – not fondly – the days of drinking Red Dog beer or Busch or Natty Light. Ah, high school.
By the time I hit college, access was greater. My freshman-year roommates and I would get cases of cheap beer like Beast Lite – although Icehouse was also a favorite as it was also the name of our abode – and sit around doing stupid shit like filling the floors with water and play broom hockey or shoot fireworks under our doors (kids, don’t try that at home).
There were also keg parties galore. That meant more cheap beer. Although, from time-to-time, we’d hit the jackpot and run into a keg of Irish Red or Newcastle at some rich-person’s place; but mostly it was Beast or Natty and that horrible smell of sour, hot beer.
Once I got to the point where I could actually legally do my beer shopping, I became snooty. I’d drink imported beers or casually drink Mich Light while smoking a not-so-cheap cigar. That phase only lasted about a year – thank god. What a pretentious ass-hat I would be if I still drank way too expensive light beer and smoked tobacco that cost $10 a pop.
If I could go back 15 years, I’m beat that crap out of me 21-year-old me.
Once I became a working man, I re-found myself, beer-wise. The first beer I ever tasted was High Life out of a frozen mug. So for years during my early adulthood that was my beer of choice. Yeah, sometimes I’d get classy and drink an import – Harp was one that carried over from my phase of pretentiousness – but for the most part I like my beer cheap and my beer cold.
It’s a good combo when you are broke, the A/C doesn’t work and you live in Atlanta.
For a decade, if you saw me at home or out-and-about at a bar or a party, I probably have a High Life or a High Life Lite in my hand. I even loved the TV ads. Remember the one with guy making a hamburger and only eating with a buttered bun and a High Life? Yum.
From time-to-time, I’d drink PBR, but that clear bottle by the Miller Brewing company was my bestie. It really was the champagne of beers.
I found that I liked people who drank what I drank. Cheap beer drinkers were usually more agreeable to my personality. Yeah, we all drank a Guinness once-in-a-while, but in the days before Georgia allowed higher alcohol content beers, there wasn’t really a reason to pay more for the same about of buzz.
This is the point where I do want to talk about a few beers that I don’t like. I don’t like Bud. It gives me a headache. I don’t like Coors Light or Bud Light because they are indeed piss-water beers. If you are going cheap, go cheap. That is all.
In the last five years, my beer drinking has taken place at one place: my house. When you drink at home – and by yourself – your tastes and reasons for drinking change a bit. You aren’t drinking to be social. You’re not drinking to tie one on and dance like an idiot. You usually aren’t drinking for any other reason that to pass the time on a weekend day with a nice buzz or to relax during the week by trying to reduce some stress through a cold, delicious ale.
Or, at least that’s the case with me.
Now days, I drink PBR anytime I’m just wanting to just drink beer or when I am cooking. Grilling or making chili can only be done with a few ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbons. On the flip site, I do enjoy a nice craft beer or three. Dogfish Head is a personal favorite. Their Indian Brown and 90 minute IPA are great, high alcohol content beers with good flavor.
As I alluded to earlier, beer drinking now includes avoiding acid reflux or heartburn. Getting older does that to a person (or at least to me).
In the movie High Fidelity, they make the point that it is what you like that’s important. We can’t have want we want but we can like what we like. I think the same goes with beer.
If I ask a person what kind of beer they like, I can pretty much tell if they are worth getting to know or if we’ll have anything in common, just by how they answer.
And what if a person answers, “Oh, I don’t drink beer. I only drink wine.”?
My advice? Runaway immediately.
Here’s to you, fellow beer drinkers. And here’s to beer.
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