The beer opens. I typically never drink beer, but there’s really something about a cold beer after a long day. The taste isn’t even all that delicious, but the learned association with it is. It’s one of the few beverages that brings up so many emotions… in a good way.
The smell reminds you of those days when you couldn’t buy a beer yourself, you had to play a game of “hey buddy…” asking someone that WAS of age to grab you a 30 pack (or “rack” depending on where you’re from) from the local liquor store (or “packie,” depending on where you’re from) for you and your underage friends. You’d pull short straws to figure out who would be the DD for the night and off you went. The first beer would open and you could immediately smell the Friday night fun that laid before you. Your friends would say dumb shit, you’d laugh hysterically, the DD would be annoyed as we continued to kick at the back of his seat in hysterics… but occasionally it was you so it wasn’t funny that time. From party to party you’d go, running from one as the cops pulled up and then going to the next one… from time to time getting split up from your friends and then taking a casual 3 mile run. Great way to sweat out the poison to make room for more.
The taste would hit your lips and immediately the thought of “homework” was alien. All you could think about was getting some “ass” and drinking more than you should. What brilliant kid was thinking, “We can’t get drunk on our own. Let’s play games to get ourselves even more drunk. In fact, if you lose the particular round of the game you’re going to have to drink your entire drink. That’ll be genius. We’ll drink to the point that we can barely function. I LOOOVE this idea.” And it’s called Beirut, by the way, Beerpong is when you use paddles. I think the movie Beerfest settled this for us.
Looking at the mug with a fresh head on it, the golden ale’d bubbles finding their way up to the top popping only to tell you how refreshing they are. Especially on a hot day, an ice cold beer was one of the most beautiful things you could see. Something about seeing it in front of you was like a reminder that the day’s work was all done and now it was time for some adult fun. The little bubbly beverage that could inspire you to do something you typically wouldn’t do. Maybe it was a couple beers that gave your the courage to ask her out, maybe the anticipation of an ice cold beer inspired your music, or maybe it was it was that first beer of an epic evening that rivals The Hangover movies. Who knows, but I do know when I see an ice cold beer it brings me joy, even if it isn’t mine. As long as it’s in a recreational fashion being taken down in an also responsible fashion, it’s a joyous occasion.
The cool glass against your palm, the sharp bubbles that hit your lips and ice down your entire gullet… there’s nothing like it. The weight of that barley juice hitting the bottom of your stomach brought a sense of full reminding you that this beer wasn’t meant to be chugged… post-college. You can drink all the wine, cider, seltzer, and cocktails you want, but nothing compares to a freezing cold beer that sits JUUUUUUST below room temperature.
The best beer I ever had was when I spent 3 weeks in Okinawa. After training in a Karate school for close to 4 hours, pouring sweat to a point where the dojo called it “Lake Kris” (this really happened), we shoved our puddles of uniforms into waterproof bags, and immediately went out for dinner. We got to the restaurant and after finding a spot on the floor around the tatami table, one of the local students asked each table “Beeru?” I think almost everyone’s hand shot up like a flare into the sky. They came back with mug after mug until everyone had theirs. We then “karii’d” or cheers’ed and the first sip was easily half the mug. After explosively training for such longevity in 110 degree heat with humidity that felt like 100%, it was the most magical liquid. Not only that, but because you’re so depleted, you immediately felt a light buzz. Everyone was so jovial to get together that you’re already on a high, but the Orion beer just hit … different. After having 4-6, you were definitely drunk. When you got back to the hotel, you’d pull your uniform out and bring everyone’s (low man on the totem-pole) down to the washroom. Then after getting another beer from the vending machine (?!?!) you’d meet everyone up on the roof to drink some more beer, stare at all of Japan and the sky that illuminated it. BUT, it was the first beer that was the favorite because you knew what followed.
Think hard, because I’m sure you have your favorite beer you’ve ever had… and you probably can remember your first. My first was ingested by a 15 year old me that had been peer pressured for years to drink… but after a bipolar breakup with my first real girlfriend, it felt appropriate, because that’s what I learned from movies, my REAL education. I even remember walking around Plymouth waterfront after having a Budweiser. Man, I could have taken on the whole town. I think I might have had another half a beer and was the biggest rebel the universe had ever seen… and it was our little secret.
Oh… the good ol’ days… Enjoy that beer, not too many, but enjoy it. It’s a blessing, a reminder, a time traveling device.
Featured Above – An Okinawa beer at the neighborhood restaurant called “Lemongrass.” Neighborhood restaurants were one of the coolest and most intriguing part of staying there. I can’t wait to get back…