A great man once said the world can be divided into two groups: beer drinkers and everybody else. He said it when he was writing the The Man Show on Tap: A Guide to All Things Beer and needed something bold for his introduction. He later thought it over and realized it was kind of cliché and stupid, so he decided to bury that observation in the body of the book near a picture of a girl with huge tits.
Which brings us to the beer lover's lifestyle. Beer drinkers the world over share a common love for their personal brew that affects the way they drink, think, dress, and talk. The next several pages will help you choose the path of how to live your life around beer. After that, you're on your own.
BOTTLE V. CAN
In life, beer drinkers may face many choices, but one of the first forks you'll come to in the road is whether to drink your brew from a bottle or a can. Maybe the choice has already been made for you, because your brand comes in a can, but not in a bottle. But let's say, as a hypothetical, you walk into the store and they have your brand in both bottles and cans. You're going to have to choose one or the other, and which one you go with could say a lot about you. Here are some criteria that may help you decide which camp you fall in.
The typical bottle and can of beer carry about 12 ounces, so they're even there. But
bottles are heavier than cans. They take up more room. You can't fit as many in the cooler, or in the trunk of your Civic for that matter. On the other hand, the increased heft of a glass bottle just may give you a little more "Sez me!" in a bar fight. But then again if, like John Belushi's Bluto in Animal House, you're prone to smashing your beer
container against your head, you may want to go with the can.
Round goes to: Too close to call.
Beer Delivery Rate
Unless you're one of those freaky beer "deep throaters" who can pour beer directly into your stomach, the BDR round goes to the can. You can shotgun a can of beer. It forces you to drink faster. With bottles, beer creates a vacuum at the top when you invert them, slowing your guzzle speed. There is no vacuum when you pop the top on that shotgun, just Newton's law of gravity doing its thing to get you wasted. Want to guzzle even faster from the can? Make a bigger hole in the side.
But bottle enthusiasts have turned to high technology to address this problem and created the Big Bertha of beer delivery, the 40-ounce, which has a wide enough spout to offset the bottle's "vacuum drag coefficient" and even take on the latest in can technology -- the massive shotgunned 24-ounce can.
Round goes to: Tie.
A throne that faces the TV and is made entirely of Lone Star bottles would be a dangerous piece of furniture for even the most nimble pledge. However, with a little creativity and a hot glue gun, such a thing made of Olympia cans would be a handy and attractive addition to any fraternity.
But if you're planning on filling your empties with gasoline and rags to burn down the ROTC building, the bottle is your only real choice here.
Round goes to: Even.
Some say canned beer takes on the flavor of the can, whereas bottled beer remains untainted. Seems plausible, yet that same guy goes to the ballpark and drinks bottled beer out of a wax cup.
Round goes to: Bottle may win on taste, but gets disqualified for wax cup. No decided advantage.
Here canned beer seems to have a slight edge. Some of the premium, and thus more expensive, beers aren't even available in cans, which should give cans greater popularity. But thanks to the combined efforts Dixie beer's long-neck bottle and the great and drunken state of Louisiana, bottled beer consumption balances out all the canned beer sucked down by the rest of the nation.
Round goes to: Dead heat.
Tiebreaker -- The TV Toss
In America we have freedom of speech. And what better way to voice your disgust and rage than to hurl your empty at the offending television? Here the advantage overwhelmingly goes to the can. With an empty beer can in his hand, the voiceless American TV viewer becomes like Elvis with a .38, blowing away the tube of any TV that pissed him off. If you've never taken the time to throw an empty at a TV, you owe it to yourself to experience one of life's simplest joys. It's like throwing rotten fruit at a bad singer...only it's an empty beer can and the State of the Union address.
Throw a bottle at the TV? You'd get a shower of glass that, even if it doesn't break the TV, shatters all over the floor. Nice going, dummy. Now making you have to wear shoes when you get off the couch to change the channel. Let's be honest, if you had a remote, you would have just changed the channel to begin with.
The Decision: Can wins.
However, if you're watching the TV at a bar, and you're planning on never coming back anyway...
LIGHT BEER V. DARK BEER
The light beer/dark beer debate -- it's a quandary that has vexed mankind going all the way back to the 1970s.
Here's the deal. Ready? All light beers suck. There, I've said it. They're all bad, watered down versions of the real thing. Light beer has one purpose: To keep our women from getting fat. But why do guys drink it? Well, it's kind of like what happened with milk...
You started out getting delicious, whole-fat milk right from your mother's loving breast. Nothing could be more nourishing. So, like any guy, you ride that train as long as she'll let you. But as some men approach college age, they apparently stop nursing and start counting calories. They cut back on the blessed, white gazonga gravy, going from whole-fat to low fat, to 2% and finally the dreaded, tasteless nonfat. Eventually they've got nothing left to pour on their Cocoa Puffs but a cloudy milk-water. Pathetic.
Everyone knows at least one guy who cares more about his appearance than the taste of his beer. And while we all know that such a "man" can never be trusted, at least the silvery label on his brew makes him easy to spot. Let's face it, those "light beer" guys and their "abs" are a definite buzz kill.
The jolly beer gut was once considered an achievement -- proof of one's fulfilling the American Dream. But the growing "light beer" faction is trying to turn your tubby testament to a life of luxury into some nonsense about you being "out of shape" or "dangerously close to a heart attack."
rdTruth be told, that bottle of light suds is a "gateway" beer to the more sinister stuff, low-carb and no-carb beers. Of course, the only reason for a guy to drink no-carb beer is because it doesn't stain when he spills it on his dress.
It's Not Just for Black Guys Anymore
Malt liquor is essentially an extra-strong American light lager. Also, in some parts of the United States, any beer over a certain strength must legally be called "malt liquor." It's a "bang for your buck" drink that for years has mainly been marketed toward, and favored by, African Americans.
At more than 7.5% alcohol, malt liquor is to beer what fortified wine is to Kendall-Jackson. Crap. But crap that will put wings on your feet. Whether it's St. Ides, Olde English, Schlitz, or the holy mother of them all, Colt 45, this stuff has one purpose -- to knock you on your ass and fuck your girlfriend.
Maybe it's a result of marketing, or maybe there's something cultural going on, but white guys have traditionally not been big buyers of malt liquor. Instead, they'll have a few beers after work, to relax or whatever. But black guys drink malt liquor to get the party started. Let's not bullshit each other. For years, the only white guys who drank this stuff were suburban teens who didn't know that drinking a six-pack of Olde English talls would make them wake up the next day in a puddle of their own piss.
But with hip-hop supplanting rock-'n'-roll as the predominant soundtrack to our cultural demise, something has happened to malt liquor. Its endless appearance in rap videos has made the mythical "40" a cool thing for white guys in search of an identity to latch on to.
The cultural divide was finally bridged when drinking malt liquor was made secondary to spraying it on a hot video vixen. Here at last, whites and blacks could move one step closer to Martin Luther King's dream. You no longer have to drink this swill to enjoy it. Because white or black, we all love wet tits.
Light of My Life
There comes a time in any avid beer drinker's life that he must decide: "What's the right lighted beer sign for my basement?"
Well, that really depends. Is this basement the slowly evolving fulfillment of your lifelong dream to have your very own bar -- with a real keg, fancy coasters, and a pinball machine -- in your home? Or is this basement just the place where you'll sleep until your parents die and you finally get the house?
Well sir, if your basement is the former, then only one lighted beer sign will do: Hamm's.
The best Hamm's beer signs paid homage to the great outdoors -- like a Schmidt's beer can. But unlike the Schmidt's can, which might feature a hunter's wet dream of elk in the woods or pheasants taking wing, the greatest Hamm's beer signs had a backlit wildlife scene with water that flowed for eternity, thanks to a motorized scroll of "water."
For generations Men have sat drinking in local joints, mesmerized by never-ending frosty mountain streams flowing into eternity, thanks to that gently cycling, endless scroll. The sign's soft azure glow forever beckons Men to the land of sky blue waters, a mythic place that exists somewhere beyond the smoky tavern, where we saw our first Hamm's beer sign, and beyond the oasis of our own lovingly converted basement bars.
But if your basement is simply where you're bunking down till your parents croak and you sell everything off before your siblings come around, then just stick with the cheerleader poster you've already put on the wall. Because even you can't jack off to a beer sign.
There are as many beers out there as there are ways to enjoy them. Below are some of the many reasons you might want to guzzle a beer.
Because it's hot out.
You love the taste.
To make it easier to talk to women.
Your buddy's buying.
To go with your pizza.
To celebrate closing a big deal.
You've just roped your first steer.
You've just made your first bust.
To try to fit in at the company picnic.
You've just lost your virginity.
It's on sale.
You need courage.
You need a reward.
Your team won.
Your team lost.
Because you don't give a shit about sports.
You want to get drunk.
You got dumped.
You got fired.
Because you're still standing.
Because drinking Windex gives you a tummyache.
Because that asshole over there keeps glaring at you.
You really dig urinating.
Because all women are crazy (or "stupid," "evil," etc.).
Because empties are easier to hide from the wife.
You want to have some vomit for the sidewalk-painting contest
later that night.
Because Jimi's still up there jammin' in heaven.
Because tonight, anyone who has ever wronged you will taste your revenge.
Because the cops are right behind you.
It helps wash down the pills.
Because it stops the voices.
You've just killed your cellmate.
You need to sign your name in some snow.
You've just gotten a tattoo that reads "Mother"...on your penis.
Because you're with friends.
A few words about Beer and Fashion:
Generally, mixing anything "beer" with your attire is a "don't." Sure, that beer logo looks great on the many bottles and cans you've got piled out behind the trailer, but that doesn't mean you need to be a billboard for your brand. Unless you drive the big semi that brings the precious brew to the Safeway, you shouldn't wear the logo on your body. That's why a guy who's rockin' the Miller High Life trucker cap is really no cooler than the guy who's sporting a tiny wet spot of his favorite beer's remnants on the crotch of his pants.
But some guys have a love for beer and a complete lack of irony that compels them to sport their favorite brand of suds on their clothes. They just can't get enough of Stroh's T-shirts and Busch hats. Incidentally, it has been scientifically proven that any guy who wears two or more pieces of beer-related clothing will have mysterious stains on at least one of them.
Yet a strange phenomenon happens when those very same clothes are worn on a chick. Suddenly those cheesy vestments take on a whole new dimension. They're hot! Something about a cute girl in a goofy knit hat made out of Old Style cans, who's wearing a pair of tiny cut-offs held up by a Buckhorn belt buckle, screams "vixen." She's the one who at some point during the concert is going to be on a guy's shoulders with her top off, cheering the band on with her hands in the air while her perfect tits bounce to the beat of the drums.
Too bad she's with that dipshit in the Budweiser T-shirt.
The Beer Lover's Hat
There isn't a child over the age of six who doesn't know that the hardhat with two beer cans strapped to the sides is the pinnacle of American beerphilia.
If you think about it, unless you're bald or it's raining out, there's no real reason to wear a hat in the summertime. But American ingenuity and mastery of technology has at last created headwear with a purpose -- to double your intake of an intoxicant. It's just the kind of thing you might hear about in a beer-related death...and it makes a great gift.
Though everyone has seen the double-barreled beer hat, most guys don't have the balls to actually wear one. It takes a rare breed of Man to pull that off. You know the type. He's a dignified, go-his-own-way kind of guy who says, "Fuck it!" a lot. You'll usually find him dancing shirtless in the circle track bleachers, as the sun scorches his budding breasts.
A self-appointed mascot, he entertains the crowd. "I got a head on my beer, and beer on my head!" he repeatedly bellows. Later, his quip will become an unintelligible sputter interspersed with hiccups that dangerously approach vomiting, but it will still be every bit as funny to him.
Sometime around the third race he pulls out all the stops, slipping on a cardboard tray soaked with leftover ketchup and falling, teeth first, into the railing. And yes, some people laugh. The rest simply cheer.
And when the race is over, he heads back to his pickup with the picture of Calvin pissing on a Ford logo in the rear window. But this beer-swilling showman's work is never done. He's going out to a dinner tonight, which means a stop by the house for his "Pull My Finger" tank top.
Disability Beer Hat
Although everyone's seen the novelty beer hat with two cans of beer strapped to the sides, you may not be familiar with the Disability Beer Hat for men with no arms, the only beer-assist hat sanctioned by Medicare.
There are men all over who, through no fault of their own, have no arms. Some lost them fighting for this country, some lost them in industrial accidents, while
others lost them when Green Bay didn't cover the spread. But these men need beer too. And this is the hat that gets the job done. It's constructed almost exactly like the novelty hat but uses American Medical Association (AMA) approved Velcro straps and surgical tubing, rather than cheap plastic or PVC.
For only $480, and the additional cost of one outpatient appointment for a fitting, most insurance companies and the VA will cover up to 85 percent of the cost.
If you know a man with no arms, reach out to him and let him know about the Disability Beer Hat.
* Also available: a model that works for men with arms but no hands. *
"Dude...That's My Brand"
There are men out there who develop a profound loyalty to their beer. Like a baseball team, a TV show, or any cult that's worth a shit, certain brands of beer have legions of devoted followers. They're the "that's my brand" faithful who can be counted on to offer colorful testimonials such as, "Nothing else will do," or "I'd rather go without than switch...and that's why it's in my truck, Officer."
Loyalty comes in many stripes. There are Coors drinkers. Bud drinkers. PBR guys who've been drinking it for thirty years. I'm a huge believer in having a total, unequivocal loyalty to one brand...I've had it several times.
Why do guys have brand loyalty? Because loyalty gives guys a sense of "belonging." This quasi-religious sense of team spirit bonds men, making it possible to build
civilizations, raise the flag at Iwo Jima, and play "who farted?" for an entire three-day camping trip. Beer loyalty is all about belonging to something -- and not something phony like a gym. These guys would never stoop so low as to belong to evil gyms, with their unholy high prices, their blasphemous one-year-no-money-back commitment, and their fucking ab crunchers.
Similar to religion, brand loyalty gives some folks both comfort and support through life's troublesome times. They've seen the power of their loyalty, for it moves in mysterious ways. Like when they're so smashed they can barely speak, yet their brand's name is the one word their bartender can still make out.
Brand loyalty can be determined by a lot of things: price, availability, and price. It's certainly not because of taste. There's nothing remotely tasteful about the homeless guy who's halfway through a twelve-pack of Old Milwaukee piss. The closest he could come to "taste" is to finish the rest of them and barf you a Jackson Pollack. He bought that cheap swill for the same reason you bought it in college, because he could afford it. He's not homeless, he's frat-houseless. His brand of loyalty was determined by cost.
But there are times when brand loyalty can be shortsighted. Before you swear your life over to MGD or Bud, remember all those guys out there who once pledged their allegiance to Blatz beer. They're like Brooklyn after the Dodgers left for Los Angeles. The town was never the same after it lost its beloved team. Like no town ever had, Brooklyn loved their "bums" who rode the subway and broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. And still the Dodgers left -- forever. Slow death.
So, in the words of another Robinson, Smokey, "You better shop around." Next time you're out having a beer at a bar, picking up a six-pack or stealing a keg, grab just one bottle of something you've never tried before. Because, trite as it seems, beers are like women. You owe it to yourself to experience as many as you can before you decide on "the One."
Here's another reason. Are you ready? You should hold off on claiming a brand loyalty because it could be, it just might be -- if there's a God in Heaven -- it just might be that you're the lucky son of a bitch who, like Hefner, Casanova, or the non-white players in the NBA, never, ever has to settle on just one.
With beer, we have the best odds of being perpetual playboys, going from one sweet, young, brand-new beer to another -- no questions asked.
We are Men because we dare to dream.
Sadly, corporate brewers, the Church, and your woman have prevented you from becoming the Mack Daddy of beer.
You are not the Chosen One.
You've Found Your Beer When...
Finding the right brand to remain loyal to can be difficult. Some romantics will say, "Don't worry, you'll just know." Well, the rest of us can't be so sure. This list will help you determine if you've found the beer you'll be with for the rest of your life.
You've found your beer when:
You come home every night and it's waiting for you.
You can spend hours with it and not even notice the time.
You don't have to work very hard to get its top off.
It doesn't mind you spending your time together sitting on the couch, watching TV.
Its "born on" date doesn't go back too far.
Even though you know maybe hundreds of other guys have had it, you can't stop going back to it.
It doesn't break your balls if you haven't seen it all weekend.
It doesn't matter if it's light or dark, color is no longer important.
It doesn't bother you while you're taking a shit.
It doesn't fuck with your head while you're trying to drive.
You wake up in the morning and it's there, right next to you, spread out on your sheets.
And finally, you know you're going to be with that beer for the rest of your life when...it says, "I'm pregnant."
Copyright © 2004 by Ray James