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Yesterday, I rolled up to a bar in an attempt to get nice and hydrated before my rec volleyball game. It was a new spot, one of those trendy, almost-hipster “brew houses” with something like 40 beers on tap, and I was immediately impressed upon walking in the door. I caught the bartender’s eye, and in a clear, authoritative voice, ordered my go-to – a Coors Light. I know it’s not the best beer out there, but it’s effective. It get’s the job (getting me buzzed enough to think I’m good at volleyball) done without filling me up too much. It’s not flashy, but its fundamentals are rock solid. And yet, when the bartender heard my order, she all but sneered at me. Gesturing to the endless taps behind her, she spoke with condescension dripping from her words. “Are you sure you don’t want to try something else?”
I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it’s not, and it’s time for me to speak up for myself and for all others like me. I’m tired of being beer shamed. Yes, I drink cheap, watery, blue-collar beers, and I’m not ashamed at all. Hell, if Keystone were offered at more bars, I’d drink that. If a domestic macro-brew is good enough for the farmhands and construction workers of this great nation, then by god, it’s good enough for me. I don’t need a fancy triple-IPA that tastes like a crack-whore’s whore crack. I don’t need a cider that carries hints of every fruit under the sun, all bound together into a flavor storm that is both refreshing and exciting. Give me an ice cold Coors and I’m a happy man.
The only thing that makes me unhappy is the stigma that seems to come with my order. Why can’t I enjoy something simple without people judging me for being a simpleton? I knew that this bar offered a myriad of different ales, lagers, and stouts from small craft breweries throughout the world, and I appreciate that. I think it’s awesome to try new things, and I respect the commitment this establishment had to providing its patrons with a ton of options. However, at that moment in my life, I didn’t need any of those options. I needed a dark bottle with bright blue mountains on the label, and what I got was attitude (along with that bottle). It’s the same attitude I’ve gotten from people at parties when I roll in with an 18-pack of Millers or from friends when I arrive at the pregame with a three-pack of PBR tallboys. I receive condescending looks, snide remarks, and people asking me “when I’m going to grow up.”
To answer their question, I am grown up. I’m grown up enough to know what I like and what I don’t like, and not be swayed by peer pressure to drink beer I don’t enjoy just to appease the masses. I don’t enjoy most IPAs. Will I try a new one occasionally? Of course, because I believe in trying everything at least once, and I like variety in my life. But I’m not going to bring a sixer of expensive beer I don’t enjoy to party just because that’s “what grown-ups do.” I don’t judge people for enjoying a Michael Bay film over an Oscar winner, nor do I make fun of those who enjoy Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” over Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. There’s no shame in enjoying the simpler things in life, and no one should have the right to shame anyone for it.
Today, I’m standing up for all my fellow cheap beer drinkers. Raise your Bud Heavy, your Natty Daddy, or your Silver Bullet, and be ashamed no longer. Next time someone makes fun of you for drinking a can of “water-beer,” let him or her know that when they’re head-bobbing at the bar because those 11% ABV craft brews got them lost in the sauce, you’ll just be gearing up into party mode. Be proud of the fact that you’re ordering beers that won’t break the bank, and that you can drink all night and not end up asleep on the bar by 11 p.m. Cheers to drinking one million Miller Lites this coming weekend – and every weekend after that. .