As everyone knows, I love beer. I am a beer nerd and will go out of my way to find new and interesting beers to try. However, looking back, I didn’t always like beer. My first experience with beer still makes me gag to this day.
I have no idea how old I was, but this was in our home back in Wisconsin. We were downstairs in the basement while the grown ups were upstairs, playing cards and drinking beer. Now you probably remember that the basement stairs sat right below the living room so if you spilled something in the living room it would spill down onto the basement stairs.
At this point, our readers can probably guess what happened.
I don’t know who was drinking the beer or who put their beer on the floor above the stairs, but someone spilled a can of Miller Genuine Draft. It got all over the carpet right at the door to the basement and it smelled so bad.
So yeah, that was my first experience with beer, and it was gross as hell. I remember thinking I would never drink beer.
Well guess what, childhood Emily. You were wrong.
Well, I guess I wasn’t entirely wrong. I have yet to drink a Miller Genuine Draft and I doubt I ever will because it’s gross.
My next experience with beer wasn’t until I was in my early twenties because, as you know Daniel, I was a huge fucking nerd in high school and never did anything against the rules. I never drank alcohol, I never did drugs, I never snuck out. I think I got grounded once for missing curfew because I was too busy watching weird anime at my friend’s place. That was as bad as I got. Huge nerd alert.
When we moved to Washington, dad started drinking more microbrewed beers and one of his favorites back then was Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewing. He talked about how delicious it was and how it tasted like chocolate and how it was so much better than any of the mass-produced beers. At the time, all I drank was Smirnoff Ices and Mike’s Hard Lemonade and even then I thought they were too sweet.
I looked at the Black Butte Porter in the fridge, shrugged, and decided to give beer another try.
It was so delicious. It did taste like chocolate and it was crisp and refreshing without tasting like liquified candy. That was where I started to fall in love with beer.
I started trying other beers when I had the chance, usually sticking with beer that had a low alcohol content and lighter flavors since the darker stuff was still a little intimidating. Well, nowadays I absolutely adore dark, dry, bitter stouts that dry your mouth out like a nice red wine and it was the Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing that got me hooked.
Our Aunt Jaime was in town visiting and she went out of her way to pick up a four pack of Old Rasputin. Everyone who tried it said it was too dark and bitter, but she kept saying it tastes like black licorice. Well, I wanted to look cool in front of everyone and I like black licorice so I took a sip off of her beer.
Oh my god, it was amazing. It was rich and spicy and amazing. It was like wrapping a warm blanket around you on a cold, rainy day. It was like the smell of campfire smoke. It was like floating in a tub of warm water. It was amazing.
After that, I was always drawn to the darkest beers I could find. I would go out of my way to drink every imperial stout or porter I could find. They made me feel cozy and warm and comfortable.
I have plenty of stories about other beers that have had an impact on my life. The Tsunami Stout from Pelican Brewing, the Oktoberfest from Sam Adams, the Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing, the Ten Fiddy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues. I can distinctly remember the first time I tried all of these beers and how they made me feel, but I’ll save those stories for another time.