And now for something completely different:
The first beer I remember drinking was Country Club Malt Liquor in the half sized cans. That was the beer my dad drank when he drank, which wasn’t often. I remember a rare party we had at the house when I was 8 or 9, and how Dad filled some big silver tubs with ice and nestled the “Clubs” down in it. I wasn’t supposed to drink, of course, but I managed to sneak a few when no one was looking. They just looked so damn good all rimed with ice.
My first beer crush was on Schlitz. When I was a teenager of 15 or so, my friend Steve and I would pay this guy to pick us up a case of beer when he went to Fort Smith for work. (We lived in a dry county and you had to drive 25 miles or so for beer.) He always bought Schlitz, most likely because it was cheap and he got to keep the rest of our money. But man, I kinda liked Schlitz. I got some good buzzes off that stuff.
I eventually moved on to Schlitz’s big brother, Schlitz Malt Liquor in the 16 ounce cans with the Bull logo. You could have a “party” good night with a couple of sixers of that. But before the Bull I went through a Blatz phase. Steve and I drank so much Blatz, which was both cheap and pretty decent tasting, that we stopped talking about getting drunk and told folks we were gonna get “Blatzed” instead. Sadly, Blatz disappeared from the stores at some point though, so we made the move to the Bull and never looked back.
When I wasn’t interested in getting drunk but just wanted a beer I’d drink Miller, which was smooth and didn’t give me headaches like Budweiser did. I drank a helluva lot of Miller Ponies in my time. They were just right on a hot day, because even if you were just sorta sipping you’d finish those 8 golden ounces before they started to warm up. My brother Raymond and I used to fish a lot and we’d always take Pony Millers along. We’d get out in the boat and get all set up, crack the first Pony, and say: “Now if the fish just don’t bite we’ll have a good day.”
There was a tradition in my part of the south concerning bringing beer to parties. Most people brought beer because it was expected, but they didn’t want the moochers to drink all their refreshments. So, many folks brought beers they didn’t think anyone else would have the intestinal fortitude to imbibe. One of my brothers brought Pabst Blue Ribbon, for example, because everyone else said it tasted like crap. I came to like Crapst Blue Ribbon myself, so my brother started bringing Red, White, and Blue, which was a cheaper Pabst. (Made from rotted hops, I believe.) I must admit I never worked up the courage to get drunk on RWB.
My brother-in-law always won at these kinds of parties though because he drank things like Stag, and Lone Star, and Falstaff. About the only thing these “brews” had in common with beer was that they were mostly liquid. I called them Gag, Lone Puke, and Falshitt.
I was a beer trooper, though. In an emergency, meaning nothing better was available, I could even drink Sterling or Coors. I always regretted it the next day, but hey, you gotta have some regrets in your life. Next post, though, I’ll tell you about the one beer I actually, kid you not, poured out. I wouldn’t even inflict that swill on my brother-in-law.