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In the beginning...

Nathan Gismot, March 24, 2014 -   

Beer, by all accounts, has been around for a very long time. In fact, it appears that people have been brewing and drinking beer since more or less the beginning of recorded human history. What that means, among other things, is that you, dear reader, no matter how old you are, are a pipsqueak in comparison.

You were born into a world in which beer was a well-established beverage; a thriving, mature industry; and a cultural touchstone. If your parents didn’t drink beer, then your uncle or your friend’s parents probably did. Absent that, you saw people drinking beer at sporting events, on TV, and in the movies. Unless you’re an outlier (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it was almost inevitable that you were eventually going to take your first-ever drink of beer.

That’s what I’m interested in today: your origin stories. Eno shared his last summer, and I think we should revisit the topic.

Were you one of those kids whose dad snuck you a sip or two when you were five?

Did you grow up in a super-conservative home where even the mention of Demon Liquor incited shrieking and gnashing of teeth; and did you, the intrepid rebel, sneak out one night to a bonfire party where some Matthew McConaughey look-alike had, in a grand gesture of bro-down benevolence, wheeled in a keg for you rascally intitates?

I also want to know what you thought of your first taste of beer. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Were you indifferent to it?

Some of my friends swear that, for them, it was love at first sip. Not me. For me, beer was an acquired taste. I think I was six or seven when I had my first tiny little sip of beer, courtesy of a friend’s dad at a Super Bowl party I was at with my family. I thought it was disgusting. Since neither of my parents really drank much, and since they never had beer in the fridge, I didn’t get much of a chance to dispute that initial impression. The result was that until I was about 17, beer was just a bitter, nasty beverage that some people drank. Even then, I really just tolerated it; it was probably a few more years before I started to actually like beer. 

Much of that, I’m sure, can be chalked up to an issue of access: I was underage, couldn’t buy my own beer, and had to make do with whatever cheapo stuff my friends and I could get our hands on. As I crossed the threshold of legal drinking age, and was able to stride up to checkout counters, and into bars, with confidence, I began to understand that there was much more to beer than Milwaukee’s Best, Bud Light, and Genny Cream Ale.

So there you have it – that’s my story. What’s yours?

Nathan's on Twitter & Untapp'd @nategismot

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