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Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Beer Epiphany by Bob Skilnik

There is no direct link. You will need to scroll down the page when you get there to finish reading. --pseudolus
My parents once told me that I enjoyed my first beer when I was about three or four years old. I would help myself (so the story goes) to my Dad's fish-bowl-sized schooner, filled with beer from one of the local breweries that still operated in Chicago during the 1950s. I don't remember any of this, unfortunately, but the tale's become a family standard.
I do remember my second taste of beer, this one from the "Land of Sky Blue Water." I was a mere lad of thirteen. This beer drinker's rite of passage took place at the grammar school graduation party of a friend of mine, a hot day in June as I recall. All the parents were upstairs in the kitchen enjoying the cooling effects of a window-unit air conditioner and iced beer. Downstairs in the basement, a reserve cooler of beer was calling to my friend and me. I don't recall if it was the cartoon enticements of the Hamm's bear or untapped teenage curiosity but we went down to the basement where the cooler sat and each grabbed a blue, flat-topped steel can and opened them with a "church key." I got past my second chug of cold beer but stopped when I thought I was going to puke. My buddy's reaction wasn't much different, turning green after having knocked off the entire can.
I was seventeen when the beer bug bit me again. This time I balanced the bitterness of a sixteen-ounce can of Bud with occasional nips from a half-pint of Cutty Sark and big gulps from a clear-glassed bottle of Richard's Wild Irish Rose.
I was on my way to becoming a beer drinker.


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