It’s been a long time and more than a few since but yes… I remember my first one.

A week before the Senior Prom at a high school in a suburban enclave for mid-level corporate executives, a few dozen classmates let it be known that they were going to throw a “kick-ass” party to cap that night. The year was 1969 and the big news was a country called Viet Nam. Never mind… most of us were going to college and save the world.

Before that though there was a Senior Prom to get through and a “kick-ass” party to go to. The anticipation was palpable among those who knew about it. Among them were a couple of fellows who would be able to get ice-cold kegs of beer!

Beer was not unfamiliar to me. My father helped Pabst Brewing Co. survive those tough years. Perhaps it was the other way around. It had little effect on me.  I had a sip or two but that was after it had warmed up to just under body temperature. Nevertheless, I eagerly looked forward to my first “cold one”, even having only less than pleasant precedent to base that anticipation on.

What was it like?

It was on someone’s front lawn and from a plastic pint cup. It was ice cold and had no head. The first swallows were liquid refreshment for a parched and cotton-dry mouth. The next gulps left a taste of bitter metallic plaque that tapped on the gag reflex. The next cup had to be quickly dispatched to avoid the ridicule of those who were not novice drinkers and quickly enough to slip past that damn gag reflex. The second was cold and refreshing. The flavor made friends with my gag reflex and the alcohol was tucking my inhibitions into a quiet corner. The third cup of beer went down even easier and my fellow imbibers became some of the best joke tellers in the world, or so it seemed. I vaguely remember my date slugging them back.

After that the night seemed to belong to me. There were more beers and a lot of falling down. (My rented tux was a bit grass stained.) And there was a quickly rising morning sun observed from the back seat of someone’s car.

I was talking about my first beer right?