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Beer, Pray, Love

Visiting bars, testing drinks, and rating each one

Everyone in college goes to bars. Those of age, underagers with fakes, and anyone in between has been drunk in their college town at one point or another, and those of us who make a habit out of weekend (and weekday) drinking all have our beverage of choice. Mine is a vodka diet coke, the mixed drink with the least amount of calories and sugar available in order to save myself both a beer belly and a heavy hangover the morning after. But not only does drinking my fave make me look like a little wimp when I'm rolling with the guys, it can also get pretty fucking expensive unless there's a special going on. You know what isn't expensive? Beer. And I decided that it was time to learn to like it. This week, I traveled to five different bars in my college town, told them what I liked, and asked them to select a drink for me based on my preferences.

My first stop of the week was Firehouse Pizza & Pub, the bar in town that plays WWE on weeknights and serves PBR for $1. I think everyone at this bar skateboards there. The joint was virtually empty, which made it easy to talk to the hot bartender with vintage looking glasses about drinks. The second I mentioned I enjoyed something on the sweeter side, he poured me a glass of a raspberry beer. The Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Nitro came in a healthy sized pint glass and cost less than five bucks, so obviously I was game, even though I didn't understand what the hell a rubaeus raspberry was. The beer was flavorful and frothy, and less sweet than a cider, which is what I was hoping to find during this experience, as the ciders I know, love, and guzzle give me gut rot after round two. I was able to sip on the beer for awhile, watch the old wrestling match on TV with the rest of the five people in the bar, and think about how many more beers I had to drink before this week was over. I like Firehouse, I liked this beer, and the start of this Beer Pray Love experience was positive. Half drunk due to my stomach filled with only alcohol, I left my phone number on the receipt to the cool employee who gave me my beer. Haven't heard back from him. Better luck next time.

In order to finish the drink challenge by the end of the week, I had to hit two bars the following day. Binge drinking has never been an issue for me, but beer is filling and drinking more than one on in a short period of time (I'm talking an hour, I had homework to do) made me suspicious. First, I went to Maggie’s, an irish bar within walking distance of my house, and talked with the bartender for a few minutes before she ultimately decided on what to give me. I told her I was interested in trying new beers, but preferred something on the fruity side. Without telling me what it she was concocting, I saw her create a huge beverage, mixing brews and adding a shot of something into the bottom of the glass. She slammed the glass down in front of me, and I was scared. What the fuck was I about to drink? Am I going to die tonight, in my over sized sweatshirt and unwashed hair? Whatever, worth it. When I tried the beer (?), I was shook. It didn’t even taste like alcohol, and if you would have told me that I was drinking Kool-Aid, I would have believed you. The drink ended up being a Snakebite Black, a mixture of light beer, cider, and blackberry juice. The glass it was served in was enormous, and it only cost me $5.25. This drink was, by far, the most delicious one of the entire week, and the waitress was cool as hell. Risky drink to hand out, but I applaud her confidence.

Day 2, with my snakebite, glowing with a soft touch of beer sweat. Glamour.

After Maggie’s, I hit Medici, the stupid expensive, $13 for a cup of macaroni and cheese, typical low lit restaurant next to all the bars. I don't remember why I decided to go here. Journalistic variety? I gave the bartender the same criteria, and she let me sample three separate drinks without asking me any questions or smiling. I get it, hard day at work, no hate from me, sister. One was a citrus beer, another was a clementine beer, and the final one was a blackberry cider. The first two sucked, and I ended up just picking the blackberry cider, something I drink all the time and also something I was hoping to avoid during my alcohol journey. The 'goblet' (not a cup, not a pint, not a number of was literally labeled as a GOBLET. How much alcohol is in a goblet? What is a goblet?) of cider ended up being six bucks, which is a price I would rarely pay for a glass that was barely half the size of my iPhone, especially knowing that I could get a raspberry beer from the hot bartender across the street for much cheaper. I concluded that Medici probably isn't a bar for people who are broke as a joke, aka, me. By the end of this evening, I was sufficiently tipsy and very hungry. I called a friend to pick me up, and she brought me a burrito. Miracles happen every day, and this was an example of one.

The last day of sampling was probably the most difficult. I had been spending my weeknights at the bars, and beer was effecting me way more than my usual vodka diets. Still, I carried on with an open mind. I traveled to Pub II on Wednesday, as many students often do, and told my waitress what I liked. I wanted something that would let me drink something similar to my friends but also something that tasted better than piss water. My waitress brought me a Stella Cidre (why do they spell cider this way? Don't know, but it made me feel rich), costing around four bucks, and it was delicious. Most cider beers are too sweet after having more than one, but the Stella was the perfect amount of sweet and tart, so obviously, I drank 2.

I am tired. I am drunk. I have used a vodka diet to cleanse my palette in between beers.

Finally, I made my way to Lunkers, the dive-type karaoke bar with has a medium sized refrigerator filled with beers that I’ve never heard of. The bartenders both talked with me for a long time about what I liked and what I had already tried in order to give me something brand new. They picked out a citrus beer for me, New Holland Brewing’s Lost Fine Summer Ale, which was supposed to have hints of blueberry and coriander. The bottle cost me $4, so it wasn’t a huge dent in my wallet. I took one sip, however, and knew this drink wasn’t for me. I did not taste anything fruity, only bitters. I wanted to spit it out, but I love these bartenders, they see me every Wednesday, and I didn't want to hurt them. Lucky for me, Lunkers serves $2 well drinks on Wednesdays, so I swapped my beer for a mixed drink and sang Nelly Furtado karaoke, as per usual.

Overall, this experience was a wild one. I found some new drinks, got halfway drunk each night (for SCIENCE), and ate a lot of pasta after midnight. Will I do this again? No (probably). I'll still be a vodka diet exclusive 4ever, but maybe I'll order a snakebite sometime at the bar when I'm trying to impress someone.

Check out the original, cleaner, and more appropriate article on The Vidette

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