Do you remember your first beer?
I can’t say I remember the moment specifically (heh), but one thing I do know is that I wasn’t sipping on some fancy microbrewery’s unfiltered cask ale, with a perfect head barely touching the top of a dimpled pint glass. I was drinking a Bud Light, or some other such mass-produced generic nonsense.
My intention was not to enjoy the aroma of the brew, to taste the balance of hops, to comment on the color or mouthfeel of the beer. I wanted to dip my toes into the “beer experience”… that is, to try out this whole getting drunk thing via the most reasonable means (the one being utilized by my friends).
I do remember my first experience with wine, though. It was a similar story. I was 19 years old, and wanting to really get drunk for the first time (based on the anecdotes in my friend-circle, I would seem to be a late bloomer). I didn’t go to a fine dining establishment and ask for their finest Bordeaux. I wasn’t looking for a wine experience, per se. I was looking for a gettin’ drunk experience, and wine was going to be the means.
I was at a house party, and I had a bottle of cheap Merlot in my left hand, and some cheap white wine in my right. I was slamming that stuff right out of the bottle. Pinkies up.
Now that I’m 30, I approach my drinking a bit differently. It’s not that I don’t ever party it up, or drink crap beer for utility’s sake. But as I get older, I’ve realized that I actually like some beers. I know that I enjoy a good porter or bock. I will try new craft beers for the sake of trying them and knowing what they taste like. I will pair certain beers with a meal.
But if I just want to get a bit of a buzz for its own sake, just throw me whatever’s cheap or available. I know what it is that I’m doing there, and I’m okay with it. As it turns out, though, I’m not much of a wine fan. Not even for utility’s sake…. it’s just not my bag.
It’s almost never the case that someone decides they want to “experience” dance music by way of musique concréte or italo disco. That stuff just doesn’t have enough of a presence to catch the attention of most people. It’s the watered-down pop version of dance music that is, mostly due to statistical chance, one’s gateway to the scene.
In other words, I would never have discovered the Detroit techno, soulful deep house, lounge, and classic prog house sounds that I love so much these days if it weren’t for the “Bud Light” sounds that I initially experimented with.
People can complain about the current mainstream success of EDM all they want, but they need to realize that a certain percentage of these fist-pumping, paint-covered, cake-catching kids are going to fuel the underground we so desperately wish to preserve within 2 or 3 years. The rest will stop drinking the wine, like I did.
The real question is, does that college bar full of fratted-out meatheads drinking 50 cent drafts out of a plastic cup make your chosen craft brew taste any less satisfying?
If it does, maybe you like being a beer snob more than you like drinking good beer.