When I met my husband when we were in college, we spent an awful lot of time in local bars, participating in the official college student national pastime: beer drinking. We were not beer snobs by any stretch, and on any given night, our thirst was quenched by the cheapest beer in the bar, preferably poured from a pitcher.
We played beer pong, we funneled, and we chugged. (Sorry, Mom, but it’s the truth.) Beer flowed when we hung out with our friends and on the nights we were exhausted from long hours of studying. We had a lot of fun during those years, and I’ll be honest: Cheap beer was definitely behind several of my bar-top dancing shenanigans. (Sorry not sorry, kids. It’s true. Your mom danced on the bar, and she looked good doing it.)
As I got older, I felt the need to be more adult in my cocktail choices. Grown-ups drink wine, and scotch, and fancy liquors — or at least that’s what every Mad Men episode led me to believe. I’d attend work functions during the era of Sex and the City, when everyone and their sisters were ordering cosmos in an homage to Carrie and her friends. I’d sip these fussy concoctions, and while I enjoyed feeling sophisticated, I would have been just as content with a longneck bottle in my hand as I tried to impress my boss.
Don’t get me wrong: I love me a nice glass of wine at the end of the end of a long day. But this gal also very much appreciates popping a cold one after a hard day’s yard work or after a grueling long run. And as we’ve gotten older, my husband and I have found a shared interest in visiting craft breweries to taste local beers and to learn about beer making. Just this summer, we delighted in going to Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, on a rainy day that kept us off the beach.
From our experience, beer aficionados seem to be unpretentious, fun, and down-to-earth. My husband and I have had the best conversations with brewery employees who are often friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to indulge our questions about the taste or ingredients of a particular brew. Going to a brewery or local brew pub feels laid-back and comfortable.
Beer drinkers are just an all-around fun group, if I do say so myself. Ahem.
I’m pretty much up for trying any kind of beer, but just like there are perfect wine pairings, there’s a beer for every parenting occasion too.
These beers practically scream “drink me in the summer” with their light, slightly cloudy appearances and their pieces of citrus fruit floating in the froth. Add an ice cold glass and you have one hell of a summer night ahead of you. And you won’t care that the kids are screaming as they spray each other in the face with the garden hose.
If the kids have been assholes all day, it’s a lager to the rescue. Or if we are being honest: three lagers to the rescue. Buuuurp.
Reserved solely for those nights when your pants feel tight, but the dog pooped in the dining room and you just found out your 9-year-old has a project due tomorrow. This way, you can have two for (almost) the price of one.
When you want to feel fancy AF, but you are wearing a breast-milk-stained T-shirt and your hair is matted in a ball on top of your head, drink a Lambic. Trust.
Some people say IPA stands for “India Pale Ale,” but as most exhausted beer-drinking parents know, it actually stands for “I Parented Alright” today. And when we are sipping an IPA at the end of the day, we are toasting our all right parenting for sure. Bottoms up! We are rockin’ this gig, baby.
Chocolate beers exist for one reason and one reason only: to cure PMS. You can thank me later.
The beer everyone drinks on one day each year when everybody wears green.
If you don’t want to have to share with your husband, reach for a peach or raspberry beer and it’ll shut him right up. Also, fruit beers are a great way to “strive for five.” Duh.
Pumpkin beer is to be consumed for the entirety of October and throughout Halloween costume and sugar crash madness. PSLs during the day, Pumpkin Ale at night.
When you sip an ale, you can close your eyes and pretend you are in a British pub, far away from your screaming toddler and the 96 cupcakes you have to bake for the PTA bake sale. Ales help you find the ability to celebrate in those “Calgon, take me away” moments.
Parenting is hard enough without the complication and pretension associated with wine or fancy cocktails. I can barely pair my never-ending sock pile, let alone figure out what type of wine goes in what kind of glass.
Beer is a simple, easy way to unwind at the end of the day and, frankly, it pairs well with my kids’ leftover chicken fingers.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my husband just called to say he’s running late and my kids are bickering — so that means the clock just struck “beer thirty” around here.