Somehow in the midst of all that beer, I never bothered to taste much of it. That was the reason for the Lite Beer fixation. A third less calories. Get drunk and don't fill up. Something like that. Beer math isn't always the best way to get at a logical answer. In my mind there is this sensation of a cold beer consumed right after mowing a lawn that had just the right bubble and chill. Quenching. Of course it was rare that I had that one to savor. Instead, it was the steady march into the abyss that made the dulling of senses the main focus. Could I have enjoyed the taste of a craft brew? An IPA? I'm sure I might have, if I hadn't been consumed with consumption.
For many years, I told those with whom I was drinking that I would meet them at Penny Lane. This was a mystical location found at the bottom of any bottle, can or glass of beer. To keep things interesting, I would alternately refer to this place as Strawberry Fields. It would have been more clever if it wasn't a device to empty cups of beer. Which might explain the preponderance of beer-drinking games that consumed more evenings than I can count. It was as if we were getting a volume discount.
I found myself considering this over the past couple weeks after a video of Aaron Rodgers attempting to chug a beer went viral. This caused a number of his NFL counterparts to prove their own prowess at throwing beer down their throats. All these years later, it turns out that the ability to swallow beer is still considered a test of manliness. How about that? Sure, you won a Super Bowl and hold several NFL passing records, but can you force twelve ounces of watery hops down your gullet without throwing up?
For the record, since there apparently is one, Aaron did not throw up. He chose not to throw his head back and empty his beer into his face like his colleagues. Not a choice I made, back in the day. I was in a rush to finish my beer to get to the next one. And the one after that. Now that I have retired, and people ask me why I don't drink anymore, I tend to tell them that Milwaukee sent me a nice note. It read, "Thanks for your patronage, but let's save some for everyone else."
Now chug is something a train does.
Penny Lane is a street in Liverpool.
Strawberry Fields is a garden in Central Park.
And beer is something that makes your mouth taste like a sock the following morning.