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Have you ever thought about your favorite beer? I’m not talking about the 9% Triple IPA that costs $13 for a six pack. I mean your favorite domestic. The one that if I opened your fridge would be 2/3 of the beer population. Have you ever wondered why it’s always Miller Lite you reach for when you’re headed to a tailgate? Better yet, why does everyone in the group show up with Millers except for Mike who always brings Budweiser? My two best friends and I are a great example. We’re basically the same person. We share the same interests and graduated from the same school, but our favorite beers are totally different. How can we be so similar in everything except for something as simple as a beer? It’s not like a Miller is any different from a Coors in the first place.
Your favorite beer probably has nothing to do with the taste. The only reason I drink Coors Light is because when I was a cart boy in HS someone left a full one in their cooler and that was the first beer I tried. From then on when I’d try to buy from a convenience store that I hoped didn’t card I’d get Coors because it was familiar. Sure, we all know the difference between a Miller Lite and a Budweiser now, but back when we were first cutting our teeth on beer we didn’t have a clue. We just knew that Dad stocked the fridge with Millers so we could sneak a couple without him noticing. Or that the bum you split a 30 rack with on a Hey Mister would bring back Buds.
Sometimes your favorite beer isn’t your first. You might have started out on Miller Lite, but after spending your undergrad abusing more Millers than any 20-year-old can stomach you’ve started drinking Budweiser. It’s not that Budweiser tastes better, it’s that the smell doesn’t flood your memory with four years worth of hangovers.
Regional loyalties and nostalgia are also a big factor in our choices as well. Open a Texan’s fridge and you’ll find at least one Shiner. We might not drink them exclusively, but State Pride demands at least one Shiner Bock in the fridge at all times. Maybe you’re on a PBR kick. You just got back from the deer lease, couldn’t stop thinking about how grandpa always had a couple rolling around in the back of his truck, and snagged some on the way home in honor of a few good childhood memories.
No matter what suds we swear our allegiances to, we rarely find our favorite beers from the taste. There’s deeper meaning behind those cans. They get there from a careless or helpful relative when we were younger. Or we pick them because that’s what the singer at our first concert drank on stage. Maybe that’s what the fraternity house always stocked. Whatever the brand, our favorite brews will always be short on price and long on memory..