I’m not all business here. I enjoy posting about things I like, and I like beer, so let’s post about it.
I have two beer stories I’ll tell you. The first is how myself and small group around my age got jerked around by the drinking age laws. And the second is how I fell in love with craft beer.
Drinking Age Blues
When I was a kid, the drinking age was always 18. And it was… loosely enforced. Still, my friends and I eagerly awaited the day we could legally drink.
A few months before I turn 18, NY raised the drinking age to 19. Wow… really? Yup, really.
So now a bunch of us on the cusp of 18 had to wait another year before we could (legally) drink.
Then I turned 19. And could legally drink. Party time!
For about six months. Then the party ended.
That’s because NY again raised the law. This time to 21. And they didn’t grandfather anyone in.
Wow. One night I’m legal to be in the bar. The next I’m not, and won’t be for another year plus.
Pretty bad, huh? It’s like NY dangled this in front of a few of us, then said “nah nah, can’t have it”. Really, that’s what I heard in my head. In Mario Cuomo’s voice (he was the governor). Disturbing.
Ok, that’s story number one. Onto number two:
A Brown Beer Changes Everything
So let’s fast forward in time a bit for the second story. It’s the 90’s.
My beer of choice was… it didn’t matter. Bud, Miller, Michelob, Coors… they all tasted the same. Not bad, not good, just beer. That’s basically what the beer selection was in America until the 90’s. Fairly bland yellow beer.
Then one day I’m at a bar, and I see a coaster for Samuel Adams Boston Lager. And it says “the best beer in America”. Never heard of it, but what the heck, I asked for one. The bartender says “yea this is new, we just got it” and pours a beer that’s decidedly darker than what I was used to. It was almost brown.
I honestly don’t remember if I “liked” that first Sam Adams, but I was intrigued enough to order a second… and that was that. Everything changed. I was hooked.
Sam was prettymuch the first commercially available “craft beer”. And others quickly followed. Pete’s Wicked Ale, Sierra Nevada, and others. And it just exploded to what we have today.
But man, those first two Sam Adams that day… it was like I graduated to grown-up beer with real flavor. I still feel that way.
I really enjoy beer. I don’t have a favorite, as I love trying different brands.
I’m a seasonal beer drinker. In the summer, I drink mostly IPA’s. I like them bitter, hazy, and in between. I like them strong, and I like the newer “session” IPA’s that are out. I like buying mix packs from different breweries.
In the colder months, gimme dark porters and stouts. And maybe some scotch ale. I like brown ale all year round, and I’m always excited when the Octoberfests and Winter beers come out.
This is my garage fridge (it’s clearly summer when I took this).
One thing I really enjoy is a store with a good beer selection. I can spend a lot of time there looking at different beers from different breweries. And whenever Maryellen and I travel, we seek out local brewpubs and try their beer.
I also brew beer. Usually twice a year (one batch for summer, one for winter). I mostly brew from an extract kit, but a few times I did some all-grain brews (beer from scratch) with my friend Craig. All-grain brewing takes all day, so it’s better to do it with a friend. The best beer we ever made (a honey porter) was from scratch.
In fact, here it is, blotting out the sun. That porter was really something (note: those Sam Adams glasses are pretty nice.)
How much do I drink? Enough to enjoy it, and not enough to be “asshole drunk”. Actually that was never a thing – I’ve been told I’m a fun guy to have beers with. But yea, the days of heavy drinking are long over (I’m a weekend guy these days). Sometimes Maryellen and I will forget the beer and share a bottle of red wine, which is the perfect amount.
I have a few food and drink related hobbies. Another is outdoor cooking. I use both a Big Green Egg grill for grilling and smoking, and a flat-top griddler that makes a stunningly good steak. I’m sure I’ll post about those too.
I hope you enjoyed this beer post. I like it when I learn something about somebody, and you learned something about me today.