humility on tap

So, I don’t really drink beer. I just turned 20, and it’s just not a taste I’ve cared to acquire as of yet. But before I left the US, my dad insisted on starting me on a beer-drinking regimen in order to prepare to enjoy the Best Beer in the World in Germany. The strictly-scheduled routine my dad initially envisioned didn’t really happen, but I did share a Yuengling with him every once in a while to get used to the taste.

Then, once we got to Europe, my mom and I would order a beer at the bar in our hotel, for instance. We went to a microbrewery our first night in Freiburg, and the food and beer were delicious. I was beginning to get used to the taste and maybe actually enjoy it, though there are certain types that I know I definitely do not prefer.

One night, on my way back to my dorm, I passed this cute little touristy restaurant and I was pretty hungry, not having eaten dinner, so I decided to stop, even though I was by myself. So I ordered some Spätzle and a salad… and a beer. Just because I could. A Radler. It sounded pretty legit to me. And I really liked it! There was just something different about it. I felt really cool, because there I was… a mature adult eating mature, adult food and drinking mature, adult drinks, by myself, of course, because that’s just what mature adults do.

On Monday I went to a concert with my friend Sascha, and we went to order drinks. I saw that I could order another Radler, so I did. We got our drinks and took our seats, and Sascha asked what I had ordered. So I told him. He turned to me and went, “Do you know what that is?” Of course, at this point, I was really worried that I’d been drinking some funky or potentially-lethal beer. So I answered cautiously.

Me: Uhhh… I don’t know, I mean I had one last week, it’s pretty good I guess…

Him: Well… it’s just beer mixed with Sprite. Like, half and half.

Me: Hmm. Oh. Well. I guess that’s why I like it so much.

Him: And do you know why they call it a Radler?

Me: Uh. Yeah. No.

Him: Well, in Germany they joke that if you’re driving, you should just drink water. And if you’re riding a bike [ein Rad] then you can drink beer, but it has to be mixed with something else. And you can drink regular beer if you’re just walking.

Me: Um. Yes. Well thanks for informing me. Too bad I still don’t have a bike.

So yes. Apparently I only really like beer if it is watered down by lemon-lime soda. This brought me back down to size, for sure… I’m just glad I found out what I’ve actually been drinking so I don’t form an unrealistic opinion about my ability to hold alcohol. Because that could potentially be bad.

For now, I definitely need to keep working on my taste acquisition, I guess.  But when I do eventually get a bike, at least I’ll know which drinks are culturally acceptable.

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