I didn't come to beer easily. My family upbringing was relatively dry, my mother's drink of choice is sloe gin and coke (It's a Wisconsin thing) and my father prefers vodka sours. Beer was something my grandfather drank and that was limited to a fine selection of Red, White and Blue, Blatz, Old Milwaukee, and Old Style. I remember the first time I ever drank it as a kid, I was about 8 or 9, the beer was Old Style, and it didn't go well. I instantly disliked it to such an extreme that I had no interest in it for damn near the next decade.
It took enlisting in the Marine Corps to change my opinion, and even then it took awhile to captivate my interest. While I drank beer over in Okinawa, it wasn't until I went on deployment to the Mediterranean where I had my revelation that the beer world was a big and wonderful place. Hindsight being 20/20, the European beers I drank were not top shelf by any means but they were better than the Buds and Millers I had been putting down. The real stroke of luck though was the timing of this event.
This happened in 1996 and the micro and craft brewing scene was picking up steam in America. When I returned there was no looking back. Pete's Wicked Ale served as a gateway beer for me and I started trying more and more styles and types. Returning to Wisconsin for college only served to further whet my appetite as I fell for New Glarus and Central Waters. The best part was and still is that there is no end in sight for beer creativity.
It has been fifteen years since the light switch went on for me. The beer world is continuing to evolve and mutate and that is thrilling. I can't wait to see what comes next.
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