"Why is your beer light and his beer is so dark? They are both just beer, right?" I'm presenting this question to my mother and my first step dad (Nam vet dad or NVD). In my five-year-old mind, beer is all the same.
"Try 'em." NVD suggests.
I reach over to my mother's Pale Ale and fail to notice the absurdly uncertain look on her face as I take a sip.
"Ugh! Gah! Blech! Nyeeyeyeyyeyeyeyeah...." I shake my face in horrific disgust. My tongue is starting to lose all feeling but my sense of taste!
"Now try mine." NVD says, nudging his beer closer to me. I'm urgent to get the taste of the first beer out of my mouth so I hastily grab his with the senseless, caution-throwing curiosity that children are known for having.
"UUGGGHHH." I rub my tongue with my hands and shake spastically like a rat that's just been electrocuted. "I'm gonna throw up! Ew. How can you drink that?"
"It's an acquired taste." NVD says triumphant, sitting back and giving my mother a sophisticated glance.
Needless to say, my first time getting drunk wasn't on beer; it was cinnamon schnapps, interspersed with peach schnapps sips to wash it down. Peach pie. The cinnamon burned a little extra and the peach smoothed it out. This is a story for another time.
Anyway, I now have grown a taste for some beer but I still can't take the light hoppy kind. And I have still not found my dream beer:
Imagine a Guinness or some other thick, dark, bread-like stout, brewed with fennel and sarsaparilla, nice and heavy with the black licorice overtones and a subtle flax grain finish to wash it down. Maybe a dash of clove.
Until I find this brew or convince someone to brew it for me, I usually drink a Guinness with a shot of one of the following on the side so I can blend it together as I drink them both:
2. Sambuca, Ouzo or Pernod
Yeah, call me whatever heathen name you can think for me. I'm just all messed up from that beer experience as a child.