Evolution of Beer Part I
The general consensus around the Porch is that for most of us, our first foray into drinking consisted of shitty watered down piss poor beers. In fact, I spent the first two decades of my life swearing up and down that I would never drink beer. This likely was a result of stealing sips from my father’s Milwaukee’s Best, or to the layman, BEAST, when I was just a little guy. Needless to say, most uninitiated drinkers have at one point or another served their time sloshing swill before arriving at the great awakening that is craft beer.
As with every epic journey there is a middle to every beginning and end. Typically, it’s not quite a Chutes and Ladders scenario, where one goes straight from Keystone to Pliny the Younger without some experimentation and discovery along the way. And while each path may take a different route, this map could serve as the norm when it comes to a beer drinker’s evolutionary development.
For the sake of discussion we’ll assume that everyone is a law-abiding citizen and start our journey back in college. Ah college, where lb-s gained in the dining halls, outweighed responsibility, classes consisted of syllabus week, finals week and a bunch of hazy nap sessions in between, and cheap beer flowed like, well cheap beer. For many, this time of naivety translated not only to poor life decisions, but also with dismal beer selections.
This primordial group of beer evolution includes the likes of Keystone, Natty Light, PBR (I hung with athletes, greeks, honors kids and yes hipsters, but we’ve already addressed that issue in previous blog posts), Busch Lite (as my friend put it, the camo cans makes it taste better), God forbid one wrong turn with Beer30 (yes that is the name of an actual beer, and yes it tastes as disgusting as it’s name is sounds sketchy) and straddling that line was Miller High Life, the champagne of beers.
This earliest stage represented a serious love hate relationship. They provided fuel for several bouts of not-so-athletic competition. When people recount college as a time of creativity, my thoughts immediately revert back to the myriad of drinking contests invented to satiate our boredom. Beer Pong, Power Hour, Flip Cup, Battle Ship, Beer Baseball, Beer Olympics, Quarters, Horse Races, President, and Boom, just to name a few. Yet on the inverse, too often would the following mornings be mired by the stench of a staler, more putrid version and a stream of groans, curses, and the occasional projectile vomit would follow soon thereafter. Ah the reversal of fortune.
The next stage of evolution is often born out of a misconceived sense of maturity, and sophistication. “Bartender, I just cashed my books, I’ll have a Bud Light, its gonna be a good night.” Barely a step up, but just enough to feel like a high roller, the second evolutionary level consists of Bud Light, Budweiser (aka Bud Heavy or Bud Deisel), Miller Light, Coors Light, Rolling Rock, Heineken (it’s foreign, it must be amazing) and straddling that line, Shocktop. Reserved of special occasions of merriment, these beers said: “Hey ladies, I’m kinda a big deal”, “I do whatever Super Bowl commercials tell me to”, and more conventionally “I’m a poor college kid who think’s they’re hot shit.”
Don’t be misconstrued, I still love the occasional BL and PBR and not just for the irony. To many these are also the drinks of the working class and serve as an integral post work unwinding necessity. But they lack real flavor and deviate from their more complex craft or import, pilsner compatriots.
*This is part one of the evolution of beer. Part two will resume tomorrow! Be sure to check back in tomorrow and feel free to share your thoughts on my evolution of beer!