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Original Post:

I don't drink, generally speaking. I always list myself as a non-drinker on forms that ask such things, as my usual consumption rate is less than one per month.

Part of the reason is because I had some bad experiences as a college student, and didn't like the person I became after drinking a lot. Part of the reason is that I now carry a gun just about everywhere I go, and alcohol doesn't mix well with guns. And part of the reason is that most alcohol tastes like crap.

This is especially true with beer. Even when I was a drinker, I hated beer. It always tasted so nasty and bitter. At the urging of several people over the years, I've tried this and that, but every time walked away even more convinced that people who drink beer are simply out of their minds.

Eventually, I did find that one beer -- Killian's Irish Red -- didn't taste so bad. I also tended to be OK with the other "red" beers, Red Dog and Red Wolf, though I haven't seen them anywhere for a long time. But Killian's itself isn't sold in that many restaurants, so it's not like I'm going to have that many opportunities to drink it anyway.

The funny thing about liking an uncommon brand -- and nothing else -- is that suddenly everybody's a beer connoisseur. A lot of my friends turned out to be closet beer snobs who were convinced they knew what I would like and not like. Even moreso than ever, the past 3 or 4 years have seen all sorts of things being shoved in my face with the ever-so-helpful "try this, I'm sure you'll like it". I've sipped Canadian beer, German beer, Australian beer, Mexican beer, all sorts of American beers, just to get them to shut up and leave me alone.

Every single brand tasted like dog whiz. I honestly don't know how people can slurp this crap and not want to retch. And every time the response was one of two things: either "you just don't know what's good", which always made me think that maybe the "connoisseur" was just trying to protect their exalted status, or "we'll keep trying and find you something", as though finding a beer one likes is one of life's great achievements that everyone must do before they die. Mostly, I try to stay away from situations where my "beer snob" friends are drinking, because I'm tired of being treated like a freak because I don't like beer. Seems like they'd appreciate having a default designated driver, but that's never the way it works.

My impression of all this has always been that what the beer snobs really want is not for me to find a beer that I like, but for me to like the same beer that they do. It's as if by getting my approval for their choice, they gain some kind of validation for their expertise.

Then a really interesting thing happened. I was out with another friend, one who does not have the affectation of being a connoisseur. He's just a redneck buddy who's probably tried everything from jug wine to turpentine. We had the "beer conversation", where I told him what I like and how I pretty much hate everything else, and he said "hold that thought". He ordered a beer from the waitress, she brought it, and he set it in front of me. "Try that. If you don't like it, I'll drink it". I rolled my eyes, having been through this dance too many times, but dutifully gave it a sip. And you know what? It wasn't bad. I kept it and he ordered another for himself.

So now I know there is one person on the earth who will actually listen to what I have to say, and who has enough experience to actually make a good recommendation. I shouldn't be surprised... that's how he sold me my house when he was in real estate.

So now I like two kinds of beer: Killian's Irish Red, and Rolling Rock. I still won't be drinking all that often, but if the situation calls for it I suppose my options have just doubled.