This post is in response to the great question that Liz proposed in this post: Your 3 Most Memorable Beers. We were on one of our back-roads tours of some SouthWestern Ontario breweries when she asked the question, and my own three beers are the first three that came to the top of my head. Here’s the first:
Let me take you back to a time when I wasn’t supposed to be drinking.
Let me take you back to a time when, if you asked me if I liked beer, I likely would have vehemently told you that I’d never drink that horrible swill that tasted more like lukewarm pee, and I couldn’t imagine why my Dad and his friends drank it all the time.
Let me take you back to a time when Root Beer was the only “beer” I could ever imagine myself drinking.
Let me take you back to the VERY first sip of beer that I remember having.
I promise you, it’s NOT a good experience. But I suppose that’s what makes it my most memorable experience.
It was summer, my family and my Mom’s brother and his family were all outside sitting on the swing and in lawn chairs in the yard. The adults were drinking their mixed drinks and beers and the kids were enjoying Kool-Aid. And everyone was enjoying snacking from a bowl of fresh cherries that were in a plastic bowl on the table in front of us.
Remember those cherries — they play into this story. But not in a good way.
I was perhaps seven or eight years old at the time. My cousins and I were likely flitting about the yard, bouncing a basketball down the driveway, pushing each other around in our go cart, playing tag, and then returning to the swing and lawn chairs to sit with the adults, sip some Kool-Aid, grab some cherries and then run back off on our adventures.
At one point, sitting beside my Dad on the swing, I was awful curious about the beer he was drinking. He and my Uncle Leslie often drank either Molson Golden or Molson Export. If I remember correctly, Golden was my Uncle’s beer of choice and Export was my Dad’s. But in any case, they seemed to really enjoy their beer, because I couldn’t recall a time that the family all got together when they weren’t enjoying beer.
So I always thought there might be something pretty amazing about beer. To me, it was a unique adult ritual that I might one day experience.
I had just plopped a few cherries into my mouth and they were half chewed when I asked my Dad if I could have a sip of his beer.
A wry grin crossed his face as he handed the bottle of Molson Golden over to me and said: “Just a small sip, okay?”
I brought the bottle up to my lips, excited that I was partaking in this unique and purely adult ritual. An excitement and thrill raced through me. Dad was letting me sip from his beer! I could be elevated to the same status as him and my Uncle, sitting around, telling funny stories, laughing and drinking Molson Golden. A twinge of power raced through my body at the prospect.
Then the beer, which had been warmed by the hot summer day and the sun, passed my lips.
I choked on the beer, wondered who could have so quickly replaced that golden magic liquid with the vile, sour and bitter tasting horrible swill that was now in my mouth and half-swallowed.
Then I spit it all out in an unflattering spew of piss-warm beer and half-chewed cherries that projected violently out of my lips in a techno-color stream onto the driveway.
Laughter and snickers from the adults and kids alike rang through the air as I sipped the Kool-Aid, trying my best to get that God awful taste of beer out of my mouth. And, more than anything, I struggled with a lingering question even stronger than the horrible aftertaste in my mouth: How the hell could anybody drink that utterly revolting and nasty liquid?
I was convinced that beer was something I would never drink, never enjoy.
Little did I realize that, a bit more than a decade later, the simple act of having a beer with my Dad would be among the most wonderful pleasures in my adult life.
Ah, the naivety of youth.
Feel free to share your OWN most memorable beers in the comments on this post: Your 3 Most Memorable Beers