I drank my first beer when I was fifteen years old. It happened at a party during the summer break between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Someone—a complete stranger, in fact—handed me a bottle of Miller High Life and I pulled the ring tab. I then took a sip and grimaced.
I didn’t have an immediate appreciation of “The Champagne of Beers.” In fact, as soon as I drained the can, I politely excused myself from that social gathering, went outside, and found a remote spot where no one would see or hear me vomit.
Since that first beer experience, I’ve finished at least a million bottles and cans and have gone through several phases as a drinker. Luckily, I survived the “Self-destructive” period with body and mind mostly intact.
Today, I am in my “Beer Appreciation” stage. I now have the money to buy bottles put out by international and/or obscure breweries. When I open such a beer, especially one I’ve never had before, I like to get all my senses involved. I like to pour the liquid into a glass so that I can see its color and translucency. I then often swirl the liquid, to see how it behaves, and breathe in its aroma before taking my first sip.
Lately, my favorite beer is called Wild Blue and is put out by Blue Dawg Brewing. I never would have imagined that I’d like a lager that has a blueberry base, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that each bottle contains eight percent alcohol by volume doesn’t hurt.
In four days it will be Christmas, so lately I’ve been drinking special Christmas brews. Today, while writing this, I’m drinking Ye Old Christmas Ale, produced by Saint Arnold of Houston, Texas. The bottle says that the beer is “Rich & Cheerful.” I think they mean that the consumer, after putting away a couple of bottles, has a rich and cheerful feeling in both his head and heart.