Well, we've all seen this coming. After suggestions from my wife, friends, and even my boss, I have finally come around to writing about my experiences with beer. This will be mostly dedicated to beer reviews, but will also cover other topics such as Hops, Glasses, Bars and whatever random thought fills my head at the time. Before I hit you with my ramblings, I feel a short back story is in order...
Now I would never advocate underage drinking, however my infatuation with beer began when I was 13 years old, living in the suburbs of Memphis, TN. Preston, my best friend at the time, and I started the "Imported Beer Society" (aka I.B.S., not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The name came not from our extensive background in imported beer, or any beer for that matter, but a certain curiosity for drinking better than average beer. The Imported Beer Society had its first official gathering shortly after inception. Heineken was procured from another friend's creepy older brother who gladly purchased not only a sixer, but also a pack of Swishers Sweets cigars with a 20 I had given him, in exchange for being able to keep the change.
Barely teenagers, we had nowhere to refrigerate our beverage, nor could it be left outside in the warm southern climate, so for a week its storage was under a pile of clothes in my closet. The night finally arrived when we would be able to drink imported beer, like men. After smuggling it over to my friend's house and stashing it in his parent's detached garage, we waited for everyone to go to sleep. I think our intention was to wait until midnight, maybe later, to crack open our first beer.
And then it happened, roughly 11 o'clock... it was time. We cracked open the first two of our warm Heinekens and took a swig, thinking this skunky flavor had to be what damn good beer tastes like. We lit our gas station cigars from behind the garage, keeping a careful watch on the house for signs of being spotted. The taste of dirt and burning tree leaves from the cigar must also have been an example of high quality, after all, I doubt either of us had heard of a humidor. After a few puffs of the cheap tobacco, they were quickly extinguished, our first bottles emptied and on to round two. I remember thinking how cool it was that we were drinking an imported beer, although I doubt I knew anything of its origins, composition or how it compared to other fine beers. Down goes bottle number two... hello buzz. For reasons still unknown to me today, we decided two each was enough, and to dispose of the remaining two, being careful to leave no trace behind.
Often when I think of all the incredible beers I have tried, from Dogfish's 90min IPA and Bell's Hopslam to Founder's Breakfast Stout and Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary line, it brings me back to that warm green bottle. To this day, I still get excited when the opportunity comes along to try a new beer.