Beer.

I love beer. I really love beer.

Now when you read that, what was your first reaction? Was it negative?

It’s my belief that American culture towards alcohol is primarily a negative. When I say I love beer, I often wonder if I’m perceived as an alcoholic or a beer swilling frat boy.

I don’t think I’m either. I just love beer.

I like the taste of beer. Sure it was an acquired taste at first, but now it’s an appreciative taste. Depending greatly on my mood, I may thirst for a Labatt Blue, or a Budweiser. If I’m feeling eclectic, perhaps a PBR tall boy.

Hot summer day, something hoppy like a Magic Hat H.I.P.A. And nothing tastes better than a fresh Switchback after a day of skiing.

So what brings this up? Well, I was on a business trip with some colleagues last week. We had been delayed in Richmond, VA for a couple of hours and we were had a couple of drinks at a bar there. Finally we took off and landed in JFK (most disgusting airport I’ve ever been in) where we were delayed for another couple of hours. By then it was after nine o’clock and I was sick of being in an airport.

The others grabbed a table at a restaurant while I stayed outside to answer a phone call. I got back and they were all drinking waters. I ordered a Yuengling (they don’t distribute to the VT so I try to order it hen I can) and maybe it was me, but I felt like I got looks from the group.

This could have been a total paranoid observation on my part, but I think it did spark something in my mind re: alcohol and it’s perception in the U.S.

When I think of alcohol and it’s effects, I think back to my high school French teacher and his description of the French devotion to wine. He said essentially that the French don’t drink to get drunk, it is instead a side effect tot he experience of drinking alcohol. They drink wine in an appreciative way – appreciating the taste, fell and smell of the drink and conversations and experiences while drinking.

I’ve tried to think of drinking in that way too. I won’t apologize for my love of beer. Like I said before, I love the taste of beer. I love tasting new and different varieties of beer and returning to old favorites as well. Beer varieties can be like tags for the memory. Certain beers will bring up specific memories.

I will always associate a recent trip out west with Fat Tire Ale. College: Labatt Blue, the first summer out of college: Harpoon Summer, a NEACAC conference in Boston: Samuel Adams Summer Ale, a trip to Paris: Heineken, St.Patrick’s Day my freshman year of college: Magic Hat #9, and there are many more.

So where does the problem begin? At what point are we taught that alcohol is bad and people who enjoy alcohol (without taking it to excess) have a vice?

I need to think about a little more. This post is already much longer than I had anticipated.

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