Sunday, November 20, 2011

birth of a beer obsession (part 1)

At some point in an extended conversation with any beer geek, there is a point when someone will ask you your entry beer--that beer that started the obsession.  The answer can range anywhere from a slightly embarrassed, mumbled beer name that the drinker doesn’t deem worthy of initiating a hobby to an extended retelling of an epiphany that borders on a religious experience. Mine is both.   

While teaching and coaching speech in Los Angeles, I started picking up a Tombstone pizza and a tall bottle of Rolling Rock Extra Pale Ale.  At this time, I refused to allow any alcohol in the house on a regular basis, so I would only pick up a bottle once a week on the way home from a late night tournament.   While I tried a few others, Rolling Rock was my beer of choice for years.  At the time, it was the lightness of the beer that I preferred; other beers (all faded from memory) were simply too heavy.  I rarely own up to my Rolling Rock origins, preferring to share the following instead.  

Fast forward to June of 2000 and I’m visiting former speech and debate students from LA who were in Chicago.  We decided to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight, so we whiled away the hours at Bennigan’s downtown on Michigan Ave.  Packed because the local jazz festival had just finished, we waited elbow to elbow near the bar for a table.  I ordered a Blue Moon (a Coors product but I didn’t know that at the time).  It was cold, fresh and well served; after my first taste, I held the shaker pint of beer up to the light.  Contemplating this sunset orange beer that glistened from the late afternoon summer sun, I distinctly remember a thinking these words: I wonder if there are any other good beers in the world like this?

According to my Taste Database, I returned to Chicago on January 3rd, 2009 to add Blue Moon to my list.  It only seemed right to return to the same Bennigan’s, site of the original epiphany.   To my surprise, I’ve never reviewed Rolling Rock or Blue Moon on BeerAdvocate, so I will do that and reflect upon my findings for a future post.  

birth of a beer obsession (part 2)

birth of a beer obsession (part 3)


  1. Welcome to the blogosphere! My gateway beer was Newcastle, which then led to many porters and stouts. Now I'm an avowed hop head with a serious crush on sours.

  2. I honestly can't remember what my gateway beer was. I do, however, remember from where my beer obsession sprung. My Dad brought home a bottle of White Buffalo Peace Ale from one of his Colorado trips. Beautiful bottle design... as a 9-10 year old that's all it took. My Dad is a Coors Light drinker through & through, but I blame him for starting my interest in all things beer.

  3. Mine was Bass Ale, as I'm sure I've told you already. I look forward to more great words and beer-y insights here.