I like to think back on my speckled past of brew consumption and at times it makes me shudder. I laugh and shake my head at the poison that I used to pour down my throat, and more hilarious was my mindless support and dedication to something that even at the time we knew was truly, disturbingly bad. But I have evolved. I am of a higher mind and appreciation for not only the craft beer scene, but for how I want to feel, before, during, and after. I know now that I care where in the past I did not. Here is a little insight into my evolution…
It started with tapping the shoulder of a willing quick stop patron to purchase the most beer for the cheapest amount of cash. The usual suspects were present in this dark period of my life. Mickey’s, Coors Light, Olde English, Steel Reserve (or as it was known amongst us then, 211), and what disgusting reminiscing would be complete without Natural Ice, aka Natty Ice. Then of course tapping shoulder gave way to fake ID’s and ghetto liquor stores that would actually watch out for cops as we, er, people would exit the store. This is when my evolution, though in its infantile state, began to take shape.
I have told the story of the first craft beer I ever tried which was Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, their cascade hopped go to brew. I was not ready for it of course but it got me headed in the right direction which eventually led me to Pyramid’s Apricot Ale. The subtle fruity tones were a pleasant surprise but not overpowering. It was a whim. Lets try something different. It changed my perception that beer had to taste like what I imagine the bottom of a bums foot would if you were to lick it. Do you have the visual? Good, moving on. This phase did not last of course, as too much of a good thing eventually turns bad. It was at this point that I fell into my drinking game phase, where the all consuming need to be victorious ruled my world. Unfortunately that also meant a leap backwards in my evolution to the drinking game staples of Coors Light and for God’s sake I think there was some Keystone and Milwaukee’s Best (The Beast) in the mix (dry heaved just now). This went on for years. Eventually, something clicked and I wanted more than just a cheap buzz from copious amounts of the macro crap brew.
I wanted a Fat Tire. I wanted the nostalgic Apricot Ale. I was evolving again and as I talked about before in my post “The German Influence” this evolution ignited “The Search”. I have not looked back since that first taste of the Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen, and eventually I evolved as man has from the hunched ape-like being to this Upright Drunk.
None of us start out as the people we eventually become. Not all of us are lucky enough to actually be what our child imaginations wished for way back in out pedal car days, but kudos to those who are using their adult imaginations to pursue their adult size dreams like brewing craft beer. The industry will not evolve without these envelope pushers and we cannot evolve without them. Isn’t it great to be Upright?