New PoP Feature: The Adventures of a 35yo (Alcohol) Virgin – Vol. 1 Bud Light

I’m happy to introduce Adventures of the 35 Year Old (Alcohol) Virgin. Since I personally had my first beer at 15 years old I was fascinated by Ben’s premise – “At 35 years old, I had never tasted, tried or drank an alcoholic drink of any kind. During 2012 that all changes drink by drink.” You can read more about the background here. For the first Vol. on PoP – AV will tackle Bud Light. If you have a drink you think he should try let us know in the comments. Follow all of his adventures here.

Bud Light

At first it was so much nicer than I expected it to be, almost enjoyable. But by the fourth sip I wanted to be f’ing done. I wanted a Sprite.

So the evening was all set. Joe and I headed over to our weekly dinner at our cousin’s Chris & Natalie and they were prepared to make dinner for my first beer—a classic starter beer—Bud Light. We had rustic grilled cheeses with several different cheeses to choose from, spinach, bacon and a few choice breads. And there was homemade tomato soup and some salad.

But I’m guessing you’re still stuck on “Bud Light”. Yes, yes, I know.

Let me quickly explain.

This journey, this Adventure, is a process. I will be trying at least 25+ beers on this little experiment during 2012 and so for me, it made sense to start with one of the most popular and common beers available to kick off my beer experience.

I had no regrets in my choosing, while many of you had several before I even had my first sip. And now I know why.

Continues after the jump.

In contrast to my recent experience with champagne, I liked the first sip or two of the beer. It wasn’t dry. It was crisp and watery, kinda light and tangy. It even had this kinda—try to follow me—floral quality that reminded me of how older potpourri smells: musky, light, flowery, dusty.

I should note that my husband and cousins were kind stupid brave romantic enough to each share a frosted mug’s worth of Bud Light with me for this first drink.

They thought my “floral” mention was comical in both explanation and reality. But I’m sticking to what my palate was telling me.

Maybe it was the beechwood chips placed in the ageing vessel which, according to Anheuser-Busch, creates a smoother taste during the lagering. Hey, a virgin does his research.

Anyway, by the fourth or fifth sip I was picking up other notes. Sour notes, muskier notes. Sweat sock, limp wet leather, bits of dried old fruit rind qualities that with every subsequent sip was grossing me out.

I should mention that while I am a virgin to drinking alcohol. I am not however, a virgin to being around it while others drink it. That is to say, I have heard many a friend and family member cry “this beer tastes like ass” when drinking Bud Light or any of the others in this category.

[remember to casually mention that I might know what ass tastes like, so that in this rare occasion I might have a point of reference. Addition note: do not forget a well crafted sentence or two suggesting I’m joking. Family and friends might read this and find that uncomfortable.]

By the middle of the journey to the bottom of the glass, I wanted to quit. I had no reason to quit. I promised myself that unless it made me physically ill, I would finish every first drink, but this was clearly a test of my resolve. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see that I did a little chronicling of last night’s tasting to that conclusion.

I will say that I had two different grilled cheeses. One with havarti & sharp cheddar and one with swiss & sharp cheddar. The h&c sandwich and beer was much nicer than the s&c with beer. The mixture of the beer and quality swiss was almost intolerable. And honestly, that was fun to discover.

So I didn’t love this first beer. And look, I’m not shocked. As I’m sure neither are you. That said, I’m really, truly loving this adventure. I had my doubts. But even not liking some of the drinks, I’m exploring tastes and qualities I’ve absolutely never experienced before in my 35 years.

And that’s exciting as hell.

So onward! Next up will be a classic vodka drink tonight at a friend’s Russian Christmas party—blog to follow on Sunday. And (drum roll please) in preparation for a bigger announcement/blog tie-in news coming up mid next week, I’m planning a happy hour with friends of Tuesday to try yet another new first drink adventure.

So yes, my first beer, devoid of Spuds MaKenzie, Bud Light Girls or even three crazy frogs, but it’s one I can confidently say that I’ll never forget.

Cheers, Ben

88 Comment

  • It will only get better. As you seem to realize, you started at the bottom of the beer barrel. A wonderful world of suds awaits you.

    • only if you like beer. no offense, but what a 35 year old thinks of their first sip of vodka is of no interest to me. but to each his own.

  • I do like some beers, but imo you’re not missing a whole lot by never having had it before. I’m turned off by some beers, including IPAs which are too bitter to me, and if I order one I usually end up replacing with a coke.

    Best of luck on your adventure! I look forward to reading about it.

  • Bizarre and bizarrely self involved.

  • Or guy drink drunk 😉

  • I like Bud Light. I like other beer too.
    I’ll be interested to see what you think of other beers along the way.

  • Honestly, at 35 you probably won’t ever appreciate beer the way it’s meant to be appreciated. I hate to sound holier-than-thou, but having that phase in the early-to-late 20s of getting obliterated on pisswater only to realize that fine beer can accompany and enhance a meal is a right of passage.

  • I think you are being way too hard on Bud Light. From the way you reacted to Bud Light, I get the sense that you are just not going to really enjoy beer.

    • Hard to tell if you’re trolling here. I’m going to go with yes.

      • Why do you think s/he is trolling? If the dude had that adverse reaction to a bud light, then imagine when he tries beer that actually has taste! Bud light is not a good beer, but more due to the fact it LACKS flavor and not because of the little flavor it does have.

        Basically I’m agreeing with Meg above.

    • Bud Light isn’t beer as defined by classic brewing techniques. It’s like saying Velveeta or Kraft singles are actually cheese.

  • This is terrible.

    • Yeah, I don’t really get this either, especially as a recurring feature. I think a better idea would be to have PoP guest posters on “Judging Beers with Sam Fitz,” if we want non-expert folks’ takes on beer and other fine libations.

    • The writer seems to be in the so-excited-to-be-doing-this-i’m-going-to-overwrite phase of blogging that usually ends in a terrific flameout after a couple of weeks or months.

      Brevity is your friend, my friend.

      Also, is it possible that never having had a drink made you feel special, and this dramatic reversal and excessive documentation is just your way of hanging on to this into middle age?

      • I think your second point is SPOT ON.

      • While I may agree with your criticism of the blog and its basic concept, I protest loudly to the characterization that 35 years-old is “middle aged.” That don’t kick in until 40, amigo (and I still have a few good years left).

  • I’m with the (hopefully) growing consensus. There may be a place for this feature, but I don’t think it belongs on PoP.

  • I’m trying to decide if listing “white children” as one of your turn offs on the about page is A) funny or B) offensive. I think I’m leaning towards C) All of the above.

  • Maybe it was the beechwood chips placed in the ageing vessel which, according to Anheuser-Busch, creates a smoother taste during the lagering.

    I assure you it was not the beechwood “aging”.

  • Yeah, that was way too many words to read. And like several others, I’m also wondering why you have a problem with white children. And now I’m wondering why you’re here at all.

    • Can’t we just agree that children of all races are annoying little shits and (to stay on topic) beer is required to tolerate them.

      • Well the thing about white children is on his site. And it’s more interesting than what he thinks about shitty beers.

        • I agree. A blog about why this person does not like white children would be much more interesting. But it is a low bar.

  • I feel a little sorry for the author and all the criticism he’s getting… but unfortunately I think people’s objections are valid (if somewhat harsh).

    The blog posting is overwrought/overwritten, and it does seem rather self-involved.

  • This post was intolerable. I like the concept, but this guy failed the execution. Firstly, the premise of this tale begs two questions that he just ignores: (1) why didn’t he have alcohol before and (2) what changed? Those could be really too personal, but if one is going to blog about it and own up to one’s feelings about “white” kids, I think it’s safe to say we’ve crossed that bridge. And he’s entitled to his opinions, just like I think he and his husband are crazy to like pugs. Ew.

    Bad writing aside, just clearing up those things would make this story more compelling because it would create a cool baseline against which to measure this experience. Does alcohol contribute or detract from any familiar experiences?

    Three times each week for a post that long would be onerous for readers of this blog and almost certainly make me stop reading. Maybe a brief weekly digest and, if it continues to be lame, hopefully pulling the plug before he gets his ugly puppies drunk.

    But what we’re all really thinking: why can’t we have Beth Shook back as the feature writer?

    • +1 on Ronald’s first three paragraphs. (I’m not really familiar with Beth Shook’s writing, so I can’t offer an opinion on the fourth paragraph.)

      I do commend the Alcohol Virgin for taking the effort to compose his post, and for submitting it for public readership and comment.

    • I join the concept-is-Ok-but-the-execution-is-not critique.

      And I’d add this to it: fundamentally, the blog reduces the evaluation of a drink only to its taste. If you’re only having each drink once (i.e., no “another round”), you miss out on a great part of why humanity has engaged in drink for centuries. For instance, with Miller Light, you might want to know whether you found it to be “less filling,” which usually would take a 2nd, 3rd, or 9th drink. Also, when this person gets to cocktails, the evaluation of the drink necessarily is going to hinge not on whether or not he likes martinis as a concept, but whether or not he likes a single bartender’s version of the martini, which really says nothing about martinis at all.

  • I like this feature. In fact, I like it a lot more than “Dear PoP, How do I put on pants?” or “Dear PoP, I was walking around without pants and someone told me to put on pants – what should I have done?”

  • You gotta try a Long Island Ice Tea. May not get drunk off of just 1 drink, but that one could do it for ya.

    • Yes!! This post would be a LOT better if one of two things happened:
      – (1) PoP commenters suggest and vote for the next drink
      – (2) He could have each week consolidate the experience from one of the years of drinking he missed out on. Of course, he’d have to rewind to Naty Lite and work his way back up to classy Buds. Watch out for that rough patch in a month when you think you like Gin…

      • Ha ha, I could not drink Gin from 1995-2007. We have since reconciled. Tequila and I are also back together. I am still not speaking to Rumplemintz or Goldschlager and never will.

        • what about jaeger? /throwing up in my mouth as i type that/

          i’m not friends with any hard alcohol except vodka. all others are complete bullies. and some, like gin, used to be bffs with me, but we’re no longer friends.

  • Try again with red cups and ping pong balls. That’s the only way *I* have enjoyed bud light.

  • Hmm. I’m agreeing with the people who don’t think that PoP is the correct forum for this. It’s a bit far afield from what PoP typically covers. The OP has his own blog to document the journey.

    Constructive criticism to the OP: get thee to a proper bartender for a real drink (Passenger, Gibson, etc.). Also, try flights at wine bars and do some beer tastings. Meridian Pint, for example, has small pours of beers so you can try a variety without ordering full pints.

    • Meridian Pint has small pours of beers that I can taste without paying for it and not liking it?! I’M EXCITED! THANKS FOR THIS INFO! This would be a perfect PoP group activity!!!!

      • Sorry pal. You do have to pay a few bucks for the small pour. Free beer would be awesome, though.

      • saf

        “Meridian Pint has small pours of beers that I can taste without paying for it and not liking it?!”

        No, you added a bit. The small pours cost a smaller amount than the full pints. They are not free.

      • I’ve found that almost any bar will give you a taste (literally one or two sips) of a beer or two to make sure you like it before you fork over the money for a pint. Obviously this is not something to be done on crowded nights or with more than one or two beers at a time, but it’s a nice way to make sure you’ll like something new before committing to paying $7 (or whatever price) for it.

  • The negativity of the comments on this post is insane!

    This guy is just another odd DC character and you don’t need to judge him by normal guy standards. I mean, everybody loved the Blelvis post from back in the day!!!

    And I’m sure it’s hard to write well about beer. Especially if you’re drinking it for the first time. Imagine telling somebody about the first time you had chocolate cake. Can you tell somebody what it tasted like without referring to the taste of chocolate?

    Just another oddball post on PoP. No rule says that this website needs to stick to some kind of readability guidelines. With the amount of posts PoP puts out the quality was bound to suffer (ha, kidding)!

  • Also, you know what would be awesome is if instead of one bud light, he had 17, or did a century club, or … anything else.

  • This feature will be back because it is already up to 60 comments.

  • I would rather hear PoP’s review of beers, since I know his palate is more refined, dignified and he has a deep, deep, DEEP well of experience after reaching 35.

  • Dang you are all harsh. I think this is fascinating – thanks for including it PoP!

  • I think this is an intriguing premise. I agree with others that the writing could be more concise but I think it has potential and is worth checking in with occasionally.

  • Damn, tough crowd, but that’s no surprise. I commend the guy’s initiative and work. I commend PoP for posting it because well, duh, he’s awesome. If I had a longer attention span than a squirrel and/or more free time then I would read this.

    One thing I do know is that if a post doesn’t interest me then I move on… not comment on how much it (and the person who wrote it) disgusts me. If you don’t like it quit your bitching and make your own blog.

    • The crowd isn’t the problem. It’s this guy with his crappy story about crappy beer. (Sorry guy, but it is what it is.)

  • Hey, Booze Virgin, don’t let these wankers get you down. I think what you’re doing is interesting, and I look forward to reading more.

  • damn, some folks are harsh. but I have to agree that this is an odd one for PoP. Nothing much local about it. maybe if Ben went to a different watering holes and added some commentary about the place/people. drinking is almost as much about where as it is what. also, a “my first inebriated moment” post might liven things up. try some chimay or old chub.

  • My first drunk was at age 6 on Carling Black Label beer at my dad’s office picnic. They had barrels of ice with cans of grape & orange soda and Black Label beer. We had been taught that soda was bad – so of course I took the beer. Had no clue what alcohol was. When dad took us to the playground at night after work, we came home and dad had a beer, giving all the kids an ounce – so it seemed the right choice. I still remember the puzzlement of feeling drunk and still love the can!

  • tell him to try a flamingbutthole: a shot of pure 180 proof grain alcohol with enough tabasco in it to make it look like an enflamed butthole

    goes down real fiery i tell you what

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