It tasted awful. I couldn't believe that anyone would drink this stuff. Even the small taste of Everclear that I had sipped half a year prior wasn't as awful. My arch nemesis, American Light Lager, and I had finally met, and our life-long struggle would begin.
I don't believe I had beer again for nearly a decade. I went through the entirety of my college years without a single sip of beer passing my lips. That one taste was enough to ensure a near 1/10th of a century of malty abstinence. The watery, bitter flavor stayed that strong in my mind.
My good friend had taken his two vehicles to a car show, one Saturday soon after we had graduated from college. We had spent the day looking at nice cars and having his vehicles ogled in turn. It was a relaxing summer afternoon.
His older brother had gone along and packed a cooler of "beer" that he ended up not finishing. On our return trip home, our two 17 year old selves realized that said cooler was sitting in the back of the truck we were riding in, with his brother in another vehicle that was not going in our direction. We had hours to go try our first barley-pops and no one would be the wiser.
The location for this experimentation? The back part of my family's 10.5 acre property, as far away from the house as we could get and still be hidden from view. We parked the truck beneath a black walnut tree. Sitting on the tailgate, we each snagged a can, popped the top, took a sip and promptly spit beer as far away from our mouths as possible. How did anyone drink this stuff?
Washing our mouths out with some water, we decided that surely this was drinkable; we just needed to be prepared better the second try. We gathered our nerve, sipped again and spit out further than the first time. Nope, that was not any better. Beer clearly was not going to be my thing.