I had my first beer around the age of two or three years old. I believe it was Budweiser and my dad had set his down and I asked if I could have a sip. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t like it, my dad said yes and as he correctly predicted, it was the nastiest thing I’d ever tasted in my life.
I didn’t try beer again until sometime when I was a teenager. My friend Andrew’s family lived in an old house that previous tenants had passed away in. In the barn, we found all sorts of cool stuff. One of those cool things we found was a can of beer that was dated somewhere between the 1930s and 1940s. Wow, what a cool gem this was. It was still perfectly sealed and everything. Had we been smart and not stupid teenagers, we would’ve tried to see it for a pretty penny. Instead, being stupid teenagers, we had other ideas.
“Hey,” said Andrew. “I heard beer gets better with age.”
Well, that was all the motivation I needed. We popped that can open and each took some big swigs of that over half a century old beer.
Beer does not get better with age. That’s wine. Beer, in fact, gets worse with age.
Disappointed with our find, I didn’t drink beer for quite some time again after that deeming beer to just flat out be nasty.
When I was fifteen, my family was entertaining for some guests. There were mixed drinks to be had and I saw that my family was using rum. I casually asked my second father (my first one passed away) if I could have a shot. Though I don’t think he ever met my birth father, he apparently had the same thinking. Knowing full will that I would not like this unmixed, he gave me a shot with no mix or chaser. Well, that shot of rum burned going down and I ran to the bathroom for water to get the nasty taste out of my mouth. It wasn’t until sometime later that rum could be a tolerable experience with some Coca-Cola. Live and learn as they say.
When I got my first apartment, the previous tenants had left a Budweiser in the fridge. Yep, still nasty as I had remembered. For a while after that I simply stuck to rum and wine coolers. You know the stuff, Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver. Yes, there is much shame admitting that. Then, after I had turned twenty-one, my uncle offered me a Sam Adams Light. I was impressed. It didn’t taste like crap. In fact, it tasted good. Shortly after that I tried a Boston Lager and fell in love. I learned that beer didn’t have to be nasty or an acquired taste. It could in fact be quite delicious.
From that single Sam Adams, my pallet expanded immensely. I learned there was a whole world of amazing flavors out there. A local pub served a solid black stout every winter called the Viking Plunder that was 11.5% alcohol. It was amazing. Sadly, the brewery that made it no longer exists.
Some years after drinking beer exclusively, my friend and I saw some Smirnoff Ice in the store and we decided to grab some for old times. Oh it was so damn sweet. How did we ever drink that to begin with?
My pallet has refined itself quite a lot over the years. I consider myself an IPA man, the more hops, the better. And I love a whiskey on the rocks. Whenever I’m in a new town, I always try to sample the local flavor, but if I can’t find something new or just need something classic, I always go back to that Samuel Adams Boston Lager. When it comes to beer, that was my first love. I love my IPAs (especially from Stone), but a Boston Lager is the perfect any beer. Always perfect for whatever the occasion. Cheers.