Friday, May 2, 2008

The Session 15 - How It All Started

When I was a little kid my Dad use to give me the occasional sip of his Bud, Miller's, or Coors Light. Often I would sneak 2 or 3 sips. Something about that flavor of "beer"- so revolting, so interesting, so grown-up. I never turned down a sip or two (not that I got them more than a few times a year). I guess you could say then that I've always been a fan of beer. However, when I got to high school I was never interested in beer, mostly too consumed with athletics to care or even think about alcohol. In college I flipped the switch in my brain that acknowledges beer as a nice drink to pound and get "F'd up." It did it's job on more than 1 occasion, though spending mornings in the dorm bathroom emptying my gastric contents of Coors Light wasn't all that fun. I didn't really drink much beer after that until I was about 22 and figured out having some brewskies (MGD basically) at USC football tailgates was a nice way to pass the time.

It's those same USC tailgates that catalyzed my good beer conversion. At that time not only was I attending small tailgates that were sponsored by Sam Adams, but my sister and I had recently met a fellow USC fan who has since become a great friend, and finally fellow beer blogger. It was after about a year of drinking with Brian during football games that we came to realize we really liked beer. I remember it like it was yesterday (I guess it was only about 4 years ago). Buzzed under the influence of a red party cup of Sam Adam's Light we mentioned to each other how amazing we thought the beer was. Soon after that we agreed we really liked beer in general (for me that just meant Corona, Heinekin, Guinness, and BMC, and the Sam Adams Light, as I'm pretty sure those were the only beers I had tried). And soon after that we agreed we should do our best to try as many beers as possible (I personally had no idea what that even meant at the time). In that short conversation we had agreed upon this quest. If memory serves correct we cheered to that and went about our normal tailgate business (and I do remember USC beating Notre Dame that game in 41-10).

So that was the Fall of '04. I was 23. I was finishing up my last quarter of undergrad work and decided to get to the beers. I actually have a wordpad file still saved on my computer of the rudimentary notes I took of some of those first beers I tried. It makes me laugh but at the same time reminds me of those great times of getting into the craft beer world and not knowing what to expect. Here are a few...

1. Chasing Tail Golden Ale- great all around. Not too heavy, not overwhelming taste but strong. 4/5
2. Belhaven Scottish Ale- Dark Amber, strong, not good with spicy tacos. 3.5/5
3. Anchor Steam- Amber (maybe towards the dark side), pretty light, but semi-strong taste. 4.5/5
4. Newcastle- Very Dark but not too filling. Not a huge flavor, very smooth, pretty good. 4.5/5
5. BayHawk Beach Blonde 4/5
6. Hollywood Blonde 3.5/5
7. Wittekerke White- lemony 3/5
8. Spaten Premium Lager- seems overall similiar to miller light but more flavorful, smoother. On second taste, doesn't have as much flavor as I thought. Good light lager though. 4/5
9. Firestone Lager- Light, but more of a hop flavor than miller light but not too strong 3.5/5
11. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale- Just a tad lighter than Amber. Very strong Hop flavor that lasts a while after the sip. But also pretty smooth, easy to drink- 4.5/5
My friend Brian lived a couple hours away down in San Diego at the time so we didn't get a chance to try too many new brews together, but have since shared many a fine Ruination even though he has moved to the East Coast. I sometimes miss the adventure that was discovering the beer world when I didn't really know anything. At that time it was ALL about the beer quest. I still enjoy the adventure, but for different reasons now. Good friends, good conversations, good times.

Check out the host of this month's session, Boak and Bailey's UK Beer Blog, for the entire rundown of all this Friday's entries.


Boak said...

What's a tailgate?

Nice post, thanks for contributing!

Steve said...

Boak, a tailgate is what is done before football games, though generally some people do them before other sporting events. It basically entails getting to the stadium early and cooking, drinking, socializing for hours. Check this link for more info...