Young and Hungry

The Fall of the King of Beers and First Encounters With Booze

Stetsons isn't the only bar that that has discontinued Budweiser beer. One of my favorite Mexican joints, Los Tios in Del Ray, has removed the ubiquitous lager from its menu recently as well. In fact many bars I've frequented don't carry Bud.  Kev29 who commented on my recent post thinks that DC just isn't a Bud heavy kind of town...

...And sorry, but this just isn't a Bud heavy town anymore. But with all the incredible beers you can get on tap nowadays, who cares?

I think there's more to it than that. Sales of Anheuser-Busch InBev's flagship brand have been trending down nationally for some time, as lighter products from Coors and Miller gain market share spurred by recipes that were inherently lower in carbohydrates.  Budweiser has answered with Bud Select and Select 55 but it is too late; And as Kev29 asked, who cares?

Well I do. I love an ice-cold bottle of Bud.

While drinking one of the cities coldest at Cashion's Eat Place (they claim to keep one cooler set to 31 degrees) I talked with the bartender, George Manolatos, about our shared love and how we ended up hooked on what many view as piss.

George told a tale of sneaking into an icebox in his father's garage after mowing the lawn on weekends. Apparently his old man stocked can after can.  The jig was up when his father noticed excessively eager lawn mowing habits.  He must have been cutting grass twice a week in winter.

My first Bud came in the form of a six pack given to me by a snack shack employee with questionable morals. It was August and I waited until the 14th hole to open up my first can. After a few hours of sloshing around in the bottom of a golf bag in 90-degree heat, a warm geyser of froth gushed forth.

Needless to say, that day I had trouble understanding why people even liked beer, let alone drank it till it came out of their ears. I kept at it though and I've been drinking Bud ever since. Our stories made me curious for others' tales of first encounters with alcohol, whether stolen away from a parent's liquor cabinet, or guzzled at a high school keg party.

So when did you first imbibe?  And did the experience foster a life long brand loyalty, or does it still leave a bad taste in your mouth?

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  • Alan

    Southern Comfort, stolen from the parent's liquor cabinet when I was 15, taken to the basement, passed around and drank straight from the bottle. After the first shot my stomach was on fire and I broke out into a sweat. Drank it a few times after that but never since. I mostly drink beer these days with an occasional mixed drink (martinis, margaritas, G&T's, etc.) And yes, Bud is s*&t--it has a noticeable metallic taste and gives me a headache after half a bottle.

  • Andrew

    When I was a kid, my dad used me as his personal butler. Before the remote control, I was always instructed to "get up and change the channel" or "run into the kitchen and get Dad a beer." My compensation? Dad always let me take the first sip out of every beer (typically a can of Rolling Rock or a bottle of Heineken--arguably not much better than a cold Bud!)

    To this day, I love the first gulp of every beer I drink, but having been trained to drink beer one-sip-at-a-time, I'm more likely to steal a swig from a comrade than order a beer of my own!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry Orr Shtuhl

    Bud isn't the worst beer in the world. If you're after a good, crisp, easy-drinking lager, there are literally hundreds of better ones. But just as sometimes a preservative-packed Martin's Potato Roll works better than an artisanal baguette, there are situations -- such as shitty bars, backwards ballparks, and weddings of unenlightened acquaintances -- when a Budweiser is a decent compromise. Hopefully we'll eventually reach a day when craft beers are an option at every drinking occasion, but in the meantime I'll reluctantly choose the heavy over the Bud-Miller-Coors trinity of light beers.

    Although, Scott: at 31 degrees I'd have a hard time distinguishing Budweiser from hot dog water. You're killing me, man.

  • M

    I grew to love Bud at the Ear Inn in NY, where every third round was a double knock. My friends loved it so much they were a six pack for Halloween, complete with aluminum foil hats as bottlecaps.

  • Raul

    The first beers I tasted were Natty Light, Coors Light, Corona, Miller Lite, Bud Light, etc. After having tried various shit lagers, I came to the (flawed) conclusion that all beer tastes horrible. I quickly resolved to never drink beer again and stuck to mixed drinks and cider.

    I went through two years of college before someone finally pushed me to give Sam Adams and Harpoon beers a chance. Shitty pale lagers nearly convinced me to swear of beer for good.

    I get that sometimes people don't want to drink an imperial stout that's as thick as motor oil or an American IPA that's as bitter as a grapefruit soaked in Angostura. But, why Budweiser? Surely there are more mellow craft beers out there that won't overwhelm you, but at least don't taste objectionable if consumed at a temperature above the freezing point of water.

    I've never understood why people actively want to drink anything that tastes kind of bad. Anti-snob mentality? I don't know, but you should give a beer like Bell's Oarsman a try. It's a pretty mellow craft beer and tastes absolutely pleasant.

  • Paul in Virginia

    Genesee Cream Ale :- d

  • Kev29

    For what it's worth, I think that cold bad beer has its place (tailgates, fun on pontoon boats, college). But I just don't need it on tap at a decent bar in DC.

    Find a comfy bar stool at Churchkey one weeknight, order a Victory Prima Pils for $5 (which ain't that bad here these days) and enjoy. Then maybe make your way through the other 4 or 5 lagers on tap.

  • Keith B.

    Orr, sometimes people just don't feel like dropping $10+tax on a 6 pack to get a buzz after work. We're not all wealthy new media alt weekly columnists flush with disposable income. Yuengling's my "economic downturn" beer. I'd prefer Full Sail Session but I've never seen it for sale near my place.

    The first beer I tried was an Icehouse someone brought over, and I gave up on beer for a few years.

  • Chris Shott

    Budweiser is my favorite Belgian beer.

  • DH

    As a homebrewer, my tastes trend towards preferring imperial stouts, double IPAs and the rarest, hardest to find unique beers. But there are plenty of times where it is impossible to find a good craft beer, and in that situation, my choice is always the King of Beers, a beechwood-aged light lager brewed with the choicest hops.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry Orr Shtuhl

    Keith, that's a good point; I'd say that cheap grocery beer is a whole different discussion than bar beer, given the giant disparity in availability. Full Sail, by the way, is starting to trickle into DC; it's far from bargain prices, but I've seen their black lager in 12-packs at least. Hopefully the pale ale is to follow.

    And if I may speak on behalf of all "wealthy new media alt weekly columnists," I thoroughly admire your sense of humor.

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