A brief history of beer in my personal human experience
My personal history of beer includes getting drunk, getting "zooted," drinking lots of beer and enjoying good sensations!
I was fifteen years old and attending Junior High School 141 in Astoria, Queens while living in Jackson Heights. My buddy Franklin who also lived in Jackson Heights was a year older and in my class. One early Spring morning as we approached the end of the year and attendance at that school, Franklin suggested we get a 12 pack of Budweiser and drink it at 85th Street park before we went to school. From that day on, I was hooked.
It wouldn’t be long before we made a tradition of getting drunk before school, and that summer we bought a case of Budweiser, filled a large cooking pot with ice and brew, and got drunk in my bedroom while my parents were away. The conversations were young and ridiculous, and I remember at one point, with Franklin being Asian, asking him if a particular country was, “filled with Gooks.” He took no offense, but I neglected to estimate the severity and duration of the beer buzz, and was caught drunk by my mother later that afternoon – that was the end of my friendship with Franklin. But for beer and I, it was only the beginning.
High School days, the underage drinking monster:
Having been accepted to the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan, New York was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Though academically poor, I became experience rich, rebellious and highly experimental. One of the benefits of going to a magnet school in Manhattan was the ability to branch out into friendships with kids from all over the city; each group having their own tastes. Kids from Laguardia HS peppered all over Manhattan from midtown to 181st Street loved their pot, LSD and Guinness, Art & Design parties way into Flushing and Kew Gardens had their fancy Heineken and Coronas, and the Metalheads throughout loved their Absolut vodka but added the Aussie classic Foster, not to mention the classic Bud, Bud Lite and Guinness……
The roughest crew that I rolled with in terms of beer however, was right in my hometown. My cousin HL next door, HQ (the designated drunk driver) down the block and I were the ultimate beer guzzling troublemakers of our time. We made a habit of driving around looking to crash parties of people we knew and people we didn’t know. At the time I had long hair and a large untamed goatee, sported a pancho and carried a meat cleaver and a tire iron along with my 40 oz. Something, somewhere and at any given weekend, we would get into HQ's Jetta and crash into parties looking for women, getting "zooted" and trouble.
We had the absolute worst taste in beer at the time. The cheap 40 ounce bottles of Old English, St. Ides, Crazy Horse, Midnight Dragon (I used to distribute posters of this poison throughout Brooklyn) Ballantine Ale, Colt 45; all real cheap at around $2.00, all very, very potent brews. At times we would chase that shit down with, ughh, Night Train or Cisco aka liquid crack(anybody remember that concoction before the name became associated with network electronics). For a couple of 17 year olds, it got the job done. I had a large blue coat that my stepfather had given me, and I would steel places blind; art supplies, film… shampoo! I got so cocky that I eventually started taxing 40 oz. bottles of Old English from convenience stores, 2 at a time, while microwaving sandwiches and taxing those as well. Dozens and dozens of crashed parties, connections from HQ and HL, as well as my own people from A&D and Laguardia, all connected at some point or another to party like monsters during the wildest years of our lives.
At our Pinnacle, we each celebrated having drunk 8, 7 and 6 40 oz. bottles each: HL, me and HQ, respectably. That night we crashed a wholesome sweet sixteen party, and I was thrown out by the father for having put out a cigarette on his shag living room carpet. Outside his house door was another out of control party hosted by Jackson Height's local street thugs. I remember drinking some more then going back to the house and offering the father a pocketful of change for damaging his carpet. We spent the remainder of the evening laying down on park benches at 85th street park and watching the sky spin.
In the span of 1989 through 1992; from Jackson Heights & Astoria Queens, Flushing & Kew Gardens, Brooklyn, Roosevelt Island, downtown, midtown and uptown Manhattan and among a wide & varying group of diverse reckless teens; my monstrous underage drinking involved some of the roughest, cheapest beers available to mankind – but they all got me drunk!
College and early adulthood:
Good sensations and mainstream beer - this was one of the most boring and lamest periods in terms of beers. However sick and twisted alternate experiences have been, beer and alcohol took a back seat.
Among some of the more normal occurrences in college was going to bars and hanging at the dorms and getting drunk. These experiences paled in comparison to the wilder side of those college days, but when hanging out with a more normal set of people, beer was the norm. During those days, Corona and the Pale Ale classic Rolling Rock were my normal flavors.
Oddly enough, those beers were consumed when I hung out with my buddy Sasha, which is certainly not a normal dude, but rather one of those sick and twisted freaks of this planet. These days, Sasha enjoys the the finer offerings of hard booze such as scotch and tequila.
The buzz from Coronas was thin and light, but I really enjoyed the crisp and sharp buzz from Rolling Rock. Back then I didn’t know the differences of beer, but now it’s clear to me that Pale Ale and its brutal cousin India Pale Ale were to become personal favorites.
Adulthood - Beer Beer and more Beer:
As I aged and smoked cigarettes more regularly, I got into a real rut in terms of beer. It’s probably the reason I experimented more with hard liquor than beers. But my then girlfriend, now my wife, and I enjoyed many nights in our party room at my apartment in Astoria, Queens. The Big Lebowski got me into a period where I drank nothing but White Russians, and there was a time where Vodka Martinis were king. But we smoked and drank all night, and nothing goes with cigarettes as well as the light mediocrity of Bud Lite and Michelob Ultra.
Bernadette stopped smoking a good while before we decided to start having children. I, on the other hand, was sucking down those bad boys like free beer at a college kegger. When she quit she forced me into the basement, which was fine with me because that had been our new party room since we moved into our first house. Unfortunately, I smoked a good 30 cigarettes while downing as much as a case of beer – while drunk dialing my poor friends and relatives between midnight and 2:00 a.m.
Once Bernadette got pregnant, she forced me out of the house and into the backyard to continue smoking. That too was fine, except that at times I would relieve myself on the side of our house while neighbors were close by. Finally, as winter approached and I froze my balls off, I quit smoking.
Renaissance; rebirth: Fine beer
I took a break from booze shortly before our son was born; I needed to be ready for the delivery which has the inconvenient habit of being unpredictable. Once the boy was born, the house had been established as smoke free, and I just wasn’t interested in smoking any more.
While shopping for a new house in Pennsylvania, my family and I had lunch at a local brewery in Tannersville: the Barley Creek Brewing Company. It was at that place that I was introduced to the magic of craft microbreweries. I tried what now remains one of my favorite beers, the Barley Creek Antler Brown Ale.
Back in New Jersey, I noticed that I had a little more money at the liquor store, and that the liquor store that I frequented was, well, kinda ghetto. Why didn’t I notice that before? Because the beer was cheap. Soon after I found a store with all sorts of beers, and I immediately began experimenting two six packs at a time and expanding my palate.
Right after we moved to Pennsylvania, it took a little while to get used to the new beer buying rules, but it wasn’t long before I found a favorite distributor and frequented some breweries.
The present and the future; Good Sensations - the beginning
Sitting for breakfast this morning after a few months at our new house and contemplating my history of beer, I was overlooking the mountainous view past our gazebo, one of my favorite features of this house. Living in the Poconos is a sweet reward for my difficult life, and I’ve been acquiring a joy for guns, golf and fine brew, among other pleasures. On my 34th birthday last year, one of my goals was to harness the joys of living, and the move to PA was a tremendous step toward that goal.
Now, my goal is to start this, and if successful, other web sites that chronicle the fruitful harvests of my life. And it is without saying that the beer buzz is one of my favorite joys of living. Alright,heard enough about my personal history of beer and getting buzzed, ready???
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