Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cheers, Dadward! (Happy Father's Day)

When men look back at their habits, it is common that those habits be influenced by their parents and their fathers in particular. From our father’s example we learn what underwear to sport, what games to watch, what skills to learn, and what to drink.

While I opted to be a weird Texan, and followed hockey as opposed football, studied art instead of cars and handicrafts, my preference of beer was definitely influenced by father’s own progression of beer appreciation.
In my youth, my father was really just a Coors drinker. Multiple summers we visited the Coors’ brewery, and the fridge in our house was always stocked with a 12 pack of Coors and the same of Coors Light (for my mother) and this, at the time, influenced my world in regards to beer drinking while a child. Moms and Dads should drink the same beer, but mothers would drink the light version, as is their way.

And this mindset was supported for the first thirteen or so years of my life, until the cans from Golden, Colorado where replaced with the brown bottles and yellow labels from the Spoetzl brewery containing Shiner Bock.

I couldn’t tell you what had changed for my father, but all of a sudden it was Coors one day, and Shiner Bock the next.  

Now, Shiner was not my first beer thanks to an older brother who indulged my curiosity of intoxicants while our parents went out of town, as I feel older siblings should. On more than one occasion my brother acquired me European beers that seemed to be the antithesis of the light beers my peers where drinking in high school that I was rebelling against. Where most people cut their beer drinking teeth on bud or miller, I was enjoying Chimay, Guinness, and the other odds and ends that my brother suggested.

As I matured into a beer drinker, and went through the rigors of study at the University of North Texas, the selection of beer was limited in Denton to a few imports at a greatly increased price, Miller products that where cheap as dirt, and Shiner Bock, that was a cheap as store bought dirt (sorry, reference to the Simpsons if you didn’t get it.) Being above Miller products at the time, I almost always opted for a Shiner that could be had at 4.50 for a 24 ounce cup.

To cut what is already a long story short, I began to find a common ground with my father. We would often share a beer or two in the afternoon or on the patio by the pool. Eventually, while in grad school and having a bit more money, my father would always ask to indulge in the microbrews that I was bringing home, and we would discuss beer like men do with one another, creating the strongest connection that I have ever had with him before his passing in 2005 due to cancer.

From this day, while I have more doubt in the quality of Shiner to other available beers, I still enjoy this beer more than its flavor itself can impart. 

More than a tasty, refreshing beer, every Shiner I drink, I am in some way drinking with my father again.

Happy Father’s Day, Edward (Dadward) Coplen, and to all dads.

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