In the late 90s, in my early 20s, I lived in Atlanta. I didn't know how to drink yet. I mean, I knew how to put alcohol in my face, but I didn't know how to deal with myself on a regular basis in a bar. I drank a lot of rum and cokes back then, because it was something my parents drank and didn't seem ridiculous.
I kind of stand by that. I had good drinking instincts.
At five, my dad taught me how to order. I remember it clearly - I doubt he does. He was playing at a beach bar, and in the middle of the afternoon he stood me up on a bar stool and handed me a money.
"Don't yell for him. Look at the bartender and hold up your money, he'll come to you." He did, and I ordered a Shirley Temple, and I learned a skill that has stood me in good stead for 35 years.
So, 97 or 98. East Atlanta before that was a thing. A friend took me into a bar, stepped up, and said, "Two Pabsts please."
There are moments in my life that became forks. This was one of them.
You couldn't get PBR is many places then. Atlanta was a rockabilly town, and Pabst was part of the fun.
I remember the way that first Pabst tasted. Clean and dirty at the same time. Cold, a line to my gut. I don't know how many $1 tall boys I drank that night, but I was sold. Brand loyal, buddy, to this day. I literally just walked in from karaoke night, where I drank more than a reasonable number of them.
Have I showed you my tattoo?