“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” That saying has been attributed to Ben Franklin. I’m not sure of the historical accuracy of it all, but I tend to agree with it.
I was raised in a strictly non-alcoholic family. Anything above .01 proof was a sin. If you smelled the vanilla extract a little too long, you might open the door to hell itself and start sliding in. Of course, I’m exaggerating a little, but I didn’t even taste an alcoholic beverage until I was about 20 years old. Back up… I did taste a Bartles and James wine cooler at a friend’s bachelor party when I was 18. But it wasn’t until I was 20 that I actually drank a beer. I don’t remember the scenario, but I’m sure it was one of the guys that lived down the hall from me in the barracks. There were two friends of mine, Damon and… hell- I can’t even remember the others name now. Anyway, they always had a fridge full of Bud light- maybe Miller light. That was probably my first beer. I don’t remember it. That’s light beer for you, right!
I do remember the first time I got drunk. Another friend was going to the class six (that’s military for liquor store) and asked if I wanted anything. I gave her a few bucks and asked her to get me a small flask-sized bottle of “any good whiskey”. She brought me Jim Beam. I took it to my room in the barracks and proceeded to drink it. I even took notes on the experience for posterity’s sake. I’ll have to dig around and find those notes and post them here sometime.
Over the years, I have been drunk more than I care to admit. I hid my drinking for a long time. About ten years ago or so, I finally started drinking at home in front of my family. My wife was OK with it, since she was raised in a home that was OK with drinking (even though she was UPC- she wasn’t raised in UPC). Somewhere along the way- maybe the last five years or so, I realized how crappy most beers are. Budweiser, Coors, Miller… weak, flavorless, and less than satisfying. I think tasting a Guinness or some other good beer was what made me realize this. I started tasting other beers. I even tried my hand at home brewing. I have been extremely busy with some other projects these last two years, and haven’t brewed anything lately, but I plan on getting back into it. It’s a lot of fun.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is to talk about beer. I like beer! but only good beer. My absolute favorite is IPA, followed by a good stout or porter. I generally don’t care for lagers. I’ll drink them, but I prefer ales. My favorite beer (of all time) is Good People‘s IPA- fantastic! I love micro brews. We recently went to a restaurant that had some 150 beers available, and I tried a few. It’s interesting to see how different brewers interpret the same style.
For many years, I felt convicted (that’s oneness pentecostal talk for feeling like shit when you do something they tell you is wrong) for a long the about drinking in general. But somewhere along the way, I started researching the topic of drinking and what it says about the subject in the bible. From this study, I realized that in our canon, all of the verses about drinking fit into one of three categories: drinking is a normal part of life, alcoholic beverages are a gift from God (or at least to be celebrated), and drinking too much is bad. Check it out yourself (Here is a great rundown of what the Bible actually says). There is no verse in our canon of scripture that even remotely hints that wine, beer, liquor, or drinking of them are a sin. There are plenty of warnings against drinking too much, although I’m not even convinced that these verses refer to having too much to drink in one sitting. I won’t make the argument, but it appears to me that most references in the Bible to drunkenness refer tot he state of perpetual drunkenness- making it a lifestyle and a controlling feature of your life.
Either way, I have no problem having a beer in public now. Beer is good, and anyone that says otherwise is ignorant.
In the words of the psalmist,
“He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.