Of rafts and summers and malt beverages in a cooler. (part 2)

It was Memorial Day weekend in 2010 and I was down in Atlanta visiting with one of my dear friends, classically hot and humid. We had a large group that year, about nine of us in total and I was the odd man out when it came to refreshing adult beverages to enjoy. The plan was made that we would all enjoy some rafting down the Chattahoochee river. Now there are two things to note about this plan, one is that I have always only had a shaky relationship with water that I can’t see through. The second is that there was a huge flood that had occurred in Nashville, TN and the ‘Hooch’ as the locals call it was flooded with the water traveling down it, all shades of brown present and not a single bit see through at all. This trip meant I would need proper liquid encouragement to pretend that I was OK with the prospect of being tossed overboard at any moment by a rogue couch in the water.

We rented one large raft which meant there was a limited amount of space to begin with, we had enough room for one large cooler and we needed to provide enough beverages, alcoholic and otherwise, for everyone to survive the three hour excursion. This meant careful packing and immediately we had a problem. You see everyone else was more than content to swill cheap suds throughout the trip, this meant cans which are ideal when you’re trying to jam a cooler full to the brim. I however was the exception with my bottles of Twisted Tea taking up a lot of room and being only drank by me. This meant by default that I was begrudgingly given enough space for six of them. Six Twisted Teas is not nearly enough to get nor maintain a buzz for 3+ hours riding in the hot Georgia sun and I quickly found myself baking and thirsty.

I would love to lie and say that my first appreciated beer was something that I now consider delicious, some super hoppy IPA like a Flower Power or my beloved A-10 Warthog. That would be no way to start off our relationship though dear reader and I admit to you now that the first beer I have ever liked was in fact a Bud Light Lime. Worst than that is that I am not even ashamed of it. I will always have a soft spot for Bud Light Lime as it was my gateway beer.

When presented with that empty cooler and my growing thirst I was presented with a Bud Light Lime as a potential alternative and though it seemed preposterous that I would like it I decided to give it a shot. I sipped at first, cautious, like a lover who had been burnt in the past. What I found was that it was surprisingly not gross. It immediately tasted like the same lime flavoring that they use for Fruit Loops and I sipped it a little less cautiously with that in mind. In fact the more I drank it the easier it became to drink. My mind was reeling, my entire ‘no beer’ identity was called into question in my head. It wasn’t long before I was done with it and eagerly reaching my greedy little claws into the cooler for another. My friends rejoiced and no longer would I feel their barbs about drinking my ‘girly drinks’, I had grown up in front of their eyes.

The trip concluded and I went back home and immediately bought myself a six pack of that pinnacle of achievement known as Bud Light Lime. The first one was yet again just ‘not gross’ I didn’t really like it but I didn’t hate it either, the second one was easier and soon I finished that six pack and found myself looking for other beers to try. The progression of my developing beer palate was interesting, Bud Light Lime lead me to Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Fruit beers are apparently the perfect gateway for a non beer drinker. The next beer I got was entirely due to the style, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, illustrated by the good doctors friend Ralph Steadman and a decent Belgian style IPA. A close friend of mine introduced me to Guinness shortly after and wow was that a good experience, I never knew beer could have such a deep rich flavor.

Thanks to that rafting trip and my friends persistence a whole world of beer has opened up before me! I eagerly look for new beers to try, I am the opposite of a beer snob in that I will try just about any beer that is offered up before me. I like to think that I am making up for lost time that way. This blog will chronicle my travels in the world of beer. You will see stories of brewery visits, you will see straight up beer reviews and you will probably get a little more storytelling in between. I sincerely hope I can entertain anyone willing to put in the time to read this and look forward to the opportunity to at least try!

– The Bottle Muse


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