I smiled, savored my surroundings and prepared to sip the nectar of the gods.
After all, they told me I was drinking Milwaukee’s Best.
It was one of my first experiences with beer. The result: a face-puckering sip that made me wonder if my friends’ affinity for the beverage was merely a practical joke.
They weren’t kidding.
So I put my taste preferences aside and touted the supremacy of Milwaukee’s Best in a way that would make even a used car salesman jealous. In addition, I learned to utter the nickname for Coors Light — “the Silver Bullet” — as if I was describing fine jewelry.
My endorsements had a subtext: “This is the only beer I can afford.”
Amid a chain of local Oktoberfests and Saturday’s beer festival, it’s only fitting to pay homage to beer’s versatility.
Go ahead, take a moment of silence to enjoy your favorite plastic cup pouring, foam sipping memory. Don’t be embarrassed if it involves a funnel.
Our beer scrapbooks often focus on varieties hardly defined as classy. You know, the warm cup of bitter beer you accept solely because the only alcoholic alternative is punch made in a bathtub.
Even into adult life, you’re fine accepting this scenario as your go-to portrait of beer. On your 30th birthday, you call a refrigerator full of Natural Light natural perfection.
Then, you meet a beer snob.
If you haven’t had such an encounter, it’s tough to believe they exist. Beer is sometimes unofficially billed as the antithesis of alcohol snobbery — a beverage that doesn’t require its aficionados to search for deeper meaning.
Yet with the rise of craft beers and a broadened spectrum of mass-produced varieties, it’s easier to find selections that deviate from the world of simple labels.
Suddenly, your drink of choice is too high-class to be tainted by a plastic cup and a ping pong ball.
You meet people who describe beer with words like “essence” and request garnishes other than a rotting slice of lime.
Without discussing incomes or careers, you encounter a major life divide in young adulthood: those who have dodged the Silver Bullet, and those who are still enjoying its wounds.
Authorities won’t confiscate your funnel if you temporarily equate beer with a classy lifestyle. And there’s a good chance your beer snob friends will only punish your ambivalence with excessive eye-rolling.
Call me crazy, but raiding your Natural Light collection in the name of refined taste buds could be a natural part of growing up.
The reassuring part? You now know that life gets better than the Best.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516.