Right around the time when people were first learning to, I never really liked beer. I mean, when you first try it, no-one really likes beer, but to my eternal shame when I didn’t like beer I wasn’t quiet about it.
Yes, I’m afraid I was in fact one of those type of self-important teens that made that “You’re a childish idiot” face when offered a beer. I made the kind of ridiculously youthful face that semi-autistic babyteens, drunk on their own massively overblown sense of adult responsibility make when they haven’t realised that it’s not socially expediant to be a teenager and openly not approve of beer, cigarettes or disrespecting your parents. So I was one of the kind of guys who had to get to beer through on his own by taking a brief and depressing trip through alcopops. Fucking alcopops. Admittedly that ended the instant I got drunk enough to vomit Smirnoff Ice out my nose for the first time, but I remember a good three month period aged sixteen when beer was something I just didn’t understand. Along with being a teenager. And girls. And, come to think of it, everything else. This, combined with the fact that I looked like I was a fourteen year old girl until I was twenty two made it so that I didn’t really drink at all. I was, through cruel chance of genetics and an initial misunderstanding of the question, a sober type.
This, thankfully, only lasted until I went to university. Finally bouncers would stop openly laughing when I tried to get into pubs. Off License owners would stop calling the police to find out how I had faked my passport. This plus the necessity of making friends, not coming off like an asocial asshole and convincing girls I was halfway normal made the whole “Becoming Best Bud’s with Bud*” thing somewhat of a priority. It was a slow process, cause the beer I was drinking was the cheapest you could possibly obtain that was still technically still consumable by humans and as such, comprehensively disgusting.
The first culprit was a “delicious” brew consumed by Irish students nationwide called “Dutch Gold”.
The truth is, there are are only two real reasons anyone would ever drink Dutch Gold. The first and most obvious one is that it’s cheap. It’s so fucking cheap. It’s so cheap that it makes me think that somewhere there is an international consortium of evil Dutchmen who are worried that people will suddenly attempt to steal their REAL gold and as such, they are trying to distract treasure hunters with themed alcohol that will remove their resolve. The second is that there’s a strapping Dutch pirate with a Keg on the front of the can that starts talking to you in hilarious Piratisms the more you drink. For example, he one told me that I “Neeeed’d to Reeconsid’r the Lustee Wench which ye be Pereooooin as shee bee a Doood”, so in that he’s my personal hero.
Once I had graduated from university, I was finally financially capable enough that I actually started being able to afford to buy beers in actual bottles. The main bonus of this was that I no longer got rashes on the inside of my thighs from the excess chromium in the cheap cans. I, like half the English speaking world think the Spanish speaking world do and as such start drinking them too, started drinking Coronas, much to the disgust of my then Real Ale obsessed brother.
Now I’ll admit that the main attraction of drinking Coronas is that they’re super light, incredibly refreshing, come with a delicious slice of lime that really sets off what little flavour it has and it also makes you look cool and Mediterranean to women. The other attraction is that they get you drunk.
Which, I suppose, if I’m being honest, is kind of the real reason I drank them.
And then, in the saddest manner possible, I finally made it home. I had to go right around the world to start drinking Guinness.
When I lived in Hong Kong, there was a bar that I went to on a regular basis where being Irish got you free drinks. Sadly however, these free drinks only came in the form of pints of Guinness. And at the time, I hated Guinness. I really, really did. Now you have to understand, I’m Irish, so it’s kind of a missed opportunity for me if I don’t drink Guinness. People from other countries kind of expect you to, give you more kudos if you do and are quietly disappointed if you don’t. Plus like, they were free. So I learned to love my national drink in a country where they didn’t know how to serve it, store it or keep it. And to be clear, Guinness is a cold weather drink, it’s not exactly the kind if thing you want to tackle as a method of hydration. Yet I persisted. I drank a lot of it. Cause it was free.
So now, I’m a Guinness drinker. I bet the fourteen your old me would be livid at me if he knew. But who cares about what he think, he looked like a girl.
*Just to be clear, I never drank Bud. NEVER.