The summer before my junior year of high school, I was cleaning out carts at the country club, power washing them and putting them back in the cart barn, when I decided it was high time to see what all the fuss was about. This time instead of throwing away the unopened beer out of the cooler before temptation could begin to call, I ran into the cart barn like I’d just stolen the Hope Diamond, took another couple quick looks around, popped the top and took a drink of my first ever Rocky Mountain cold Coors Light. It was awful. Tasted like shitty dish soap. It wasn’t until another year later that I would be singing a different tune and throwing back warm cups of Coors while I played my way to beer pong mediocrity.
For the next four years, Coors Light was my go-to. Headed to a party? I’ll grab a thirty. Going to the pool? Sixer of tall boys. From that first sip of beer when I was sixteen to the time I turned twenty-one, I never had to think twice about what kind of beer I was getting. Sure, there were times my buddies and I would treat ourselves; somebody would lift some Shiner Cheer from their parents’ fridge, or we’d get lucky at a restaurant and ask for a Dos Equis and the server wouldn’t ask for ID, but I always came back to Coors.
Even after I turned twenty-one, I never really got into the craft beer craze because I didn’t have the financial luxury to bet $8 on trying a beer I might hate when Coors was readily available, cheaper, and a proven commodity. The choice between a $10.50 six pack of 6% Hefeweizen or an $11.50 12 pack of Silver Bullets was an automatic decision. That is, until I got out of college. Now, without adolescent financial hardship bearing down on my wallet, I don’t know what kind of beer I want anymore. We go out to a bar with two dozen beers on tap and I stare at it like I’m looking at the surface of the moon. Do I want a $9 Guinness? Kinda. But I also want that Shiner Oktoberfest at the corner of the draft wall, at least until I notice that they have Weisse Versa on tap too.
I’ve become like a kid in a candy store, especially during this time of year when every brewery has a holiday or Oktoberfest seasonal out right now. Revolver Blood and Honey, Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat, Dos XX, Neato Bandito, Guns and Oil, Shiner Bock – it’s too much to deal with. I know bartenders are beginning to hate me because I’m one of those grown ass men that walks into a bar/restaurant and asks “what do you have on tap?” like I haven’t been drinking beer for the past ten years or something. It’s gotten so bad that the last time I went out I didn’t even drink. My indecision cracked and after at least 30 seconds of staring at the tap wall, waiting for one of the two dozen different beers to scream “Pick me!”, I just said, “I’ll have a water please.”
I always imagined my adult drinking life would be this booze-filled celebration of all that alcohol has to offer. I pictured myself drinking dignified liquors, having a broad palette that could be at home no matter what was being served. I didn’t imagine all the stress that would go along with that. Walking into a Buffalo Wild Wings or Fox and Hound and pissing off the server because I can’t pick a beer fast enough and then feeling regretful the rest of the meal because whatever it was I blurted out wasn’t really what I wanted is a problem I never thought I’d have. I always imagined I’d be so confident in my drinking that I’d order drinks as easy as breathing. I can’t help it that I love beer, or that when I’m out somewhere and I’m planning to have less than three that I want to treat myself to something a little more palette-able than a Coors Light. If I know I’m going to be drinking, then it’s an easy decision, Coors Light or Lone Star. But if I’m just going to be sitting here enjoying company, watching a game, or having a meal? Now I don’t know what I want. Could be that new porter they just got on tap, or some long lost Shiner variation. On second thought, Sweet tea’s fine..
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