First Encounters With Bad Booze, And Why We Drink the Beer We Do

I know better, more flavorful beers exist. When I go to the Meddlesome Moth I always ask for something tart and rustic. Not the sour lambics loaded with fruit, but the naturally fermented old world beers with a lot of funk. I love sour beers with musty and barnyard flavors. I also appreciate beers that capture the floral essence of hops without extracting too much bitterness.

But when I'm not worried about beer-parings with food or a new beer menu and I'm just drinking for the sake of getting tanked I'll order a Bud more often then not.

I get a lot of heat for sipping on the king of beers. I've been asked, almost accusingly by a few new friends I've made, "You're a food critic and you drink Budweiser?" At a party this past weekend, where I had my choice of a world of beers, I drank Bud, from a can. When I hit the corner store on the way home with the intent of sitting on my balcony, I'll buy Bud bottles.

I drink it because I know exactly what I'll get when I pop that top. I drink it because it doesn't leave me feeling heavy and I never get hungover the next day. And most likely, I drink it because it's the first beer I ever drank, at a golf course on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

A sketchy dude at the snack shack squirreled a six pack of cans into my golf bag, and I let it slosh around in the bottom for 14 holes in the summer heat before I had the balls to pull one out. The can exploded in a piss-warm geyser of foam and somehow kicked off a lifelong habit, now revisited if only for the sake of familiarity.

Some drinkers move on and become full blown hop heads, and others continue drinking from the same can their old man threw at the television when their team coughed up an interception. But whatever you're drinking now, that first beer experience is an almost universal rite of passage that everyone remembers.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz