Tell us your first beer memory to win GABF tickets (updated with winners)

hops head.jpeg
Hop heads at last year's fest.
Update: Congratulations to 94cubuff and Teresa Burwell! You have each won two tickets. To everyone else, thanks for writing in: This was one of our toughest contests in a while.

Original post: It was all such a blur. Within 45 minutes of their release on August 2, every ticket to the annual booze-a-palooza that is the Great American Beer Festival had sold out. All of them. While some dreams were achieved, others were dashed. But if you were one of the unfortunates who didn't get tickets, don't fret: Westword has extras to the first night of GABF on Thursday, October 11, at the Colorado Convention Center, and we'd love to give them to you.

If you want to get your hands on them, keep reading. (Spoiler: It requires some deep beer thoughts.)

See also:
- Updated: The Great American Beer Festival 2012 calendar of awesome events
- The Great American Beer Festival is sold out, but these hot events around it aren't...yet
- Five new things to look for at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival

For your chance to win tickets:
1. "Like" us on Facebook, which you can do right here. (Note: If you're already following us on Facebook, you're already awesome and eligible to enter; proceed to step two.)

2. Sign in to our commenting system, Livefyre, and leave a comment below telling us about your first time drinking beer, along with your name (you don't have to include your real name in your account login, just your comment) and a valid e-mail address. Then check back Wednesday to see if you've won.


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26 comments
autmrae
autmrae

My first beer memory was when I was just old enough to reach one off of the edge of the table.  I remember very clearly reaching for the brown glass bottle and stealing a sip then putting it strategically back on the edge of the table.  My dad's family is Irish-German so beer was a staple at every family gathering.  My siblings, cousins, and I would take turns stealing sips from the bottles of aunts, uncles and grandparents.  My parents attributed beer to saving our lives once while stranded in the mountains when my sister and I were just babies.  So their attitude toward beer was one of gratitude and reverence, thus they considered it their duty to look the other way while we were stealing sips.  

madthomas
madthomas

My first beer memory was a few friends and I started sneaking beers from our parents.  We stored them in the closet until we felt like we had enough.  We snuck out at night and drank an assortment of beers at an varying degrees of coldness and freshness.  Didn't get sick but I learned a valuable lesson about drinking quality beer.

davidnjacoby
davidnjacoby

Stowe, Vt. Fall, 1983. I was sixteen years old and had just arrived at a 40-person boarding school where I intended to seriously pursue my dreams of being a hippie. The catalog for the place showed beautiful girls braiding each other's hair, guys in tie-dyes, people rock climbing, skiing, and canoeing. You could tell these kids went on Dead Tour. You could just tell. 

 

My experience with drinking at that point was limited to swigs of Manischewitz and cream sherry pilfered from my parents' liquor cabinet. I think I may have had Southern Comfort once. Beer was just way too big, and way to hard to come by anyway. Much easier to just ask your friend the local dealer to sell you something small, inexpensive, portable and powerful.

 

So here I am at the first night of school and I'm told there is going to be a "keg party." Now I probably had some idea of what that might be, but I wasn't quite prepared for the scene I encountered later that night. 20 or so hippie wannabees, gathered around a huge bonfire off in the woods, all with large plastic cups in their hands, which were being filled by the four or five kegs Genesee Cream Ale that someone not a whole lot older than me had recently acquired (drinking age was 18 in Vermont at the time, and being that the school was not exactly filled to the brim with the best and brightest of our generation, it was no surprise that there were plenty of kids there who were "of legal drinking age").

 

I was handed a cup, and proceeded to fill it up with ice cold, $17/quarter keg beer. First thought of the evening: "Wow, this is SO much better than Manischewitz." Last thought of the evening: "It's kinda cold out here, maybe I ought to head back to the dorms instead of just curling up under this tree to sleep." What happened in between was probably not that interesting. But BEER. Oh, you sweet devil beer. I loved you from first sip, and I love you today. Although if I were to be presented with a cold plastic cup of Genny Cream, I might be somewhat less enthusiastic than I was back then. We're all snobs these days!

 

P.S. Once the school year got into full swing, certain beer-drinking rules emerged, the most memorable of which was "Six people maximum on a quarter keg." These kids clearly had standards of drunkenness that were honed over years of experience and handed down as an important tradition to each successive class. The second most memorable -- memorable, I suppose, for the sheer dedication these kids had to getting drunk -- was "economical drinking," which meant, essentially, that you should eat as little as possible at dinner if you suspected that the 6-to-a-keg rule had not been followed for that evening's party.

 

P.P.S. The school shut down in 1994, nine years after I graduated. No big surprise there, I suppose. I have no alma mater, which is sad. Although every time I tip a cold beer, I realize that in some sense, I DO have an alma mater. My alma mater is BEER. 

 

hadselnator
hadselnator

I must have been ten years old, stole a can of bud from my dads fridge on and me and my best friend took two sips and poured the rest out. We both thought that adults were crazy to wind down from a day with something that doesn't taste appealing at all. Who knew later in life I would have the same opinion on bud, and how I would come to love such great craft beer especially from here in Colorado!

 

Kevin

hadselnator@gmail.com

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

I was 14 and my friend Pat and I took one of my dad's Miller Genuine Drafts from the garage fridge. I remember exactly what I said as we handed it back and forth and choked it down: "How does anyone like this?" At the time I meant beer in general, but now I know that subconsciously I must've meant "crummy beer like this", which is why I've dedicated myself to the pursuit of quality beer!. Here's to good craft beers and the good people who make it!

 

Alex

 

milleralexjames@gmail.com

teresa.burwell
teresa.burwell

TODDLER DECEIT

 

In august of 92

barely able to tie my shoe,

I have a memory…

Of my very 1st drink.

 

Bronco Sunday,

During the game,

Mama handed me a beer,

Just because I wanted to volunteer.

 

With Mama in the kitchen,

Pappa in the living room,

I took a sip with every step towards completing my mission,

This bottle of mine is going to bring milk some new competition.

 

Salty, then sour, sweet to bitter my Golden Corona

Has to give me a superpower.

Knowing this mission was almost over,

I wiped my mouth to avoid any exposure.

 

“Why is there some missing beer in my nozzle?”

 I looked up and smiled,

“Mama took a sip from the bottle”

With papa’s smile, I knew my actions would be my secret for awhile.

 

All game long, with his trust,

I retrieved the bottle to quench his thirst,

On the way back I hid my sips of something so robust,

Almost got away with my toddler deceit…

Until I tripped on my feet falling to the floor head first. 

 

Teresa Giovanne

giovanne.bellezza@gmail.com

 

 

purseprincess1
purseprincess1

I am originally from Texas. I remember going on a brewery tour at Shiner Bach. I wasn't to into beer since I tried it when I was a lot younger and thought it tasted like what I imagined piss would probably taste like! So I got my free beer on my tour and voilla I realized at that moment all beers are not created equal I could taste the flavors a hopps and umm it was delicious!  So that is truly the first time I tasted a real beer and am so glad I live in Denver because it has so many unique and vibrantly flavored beers its like riding the best beer flavor rollercoster ever! Forget Nappa Valley Beer fest is the Real Deal!

KO5
KO5

I was 14 and I friend of mine dared me to take some beer from my fridge.   I grabbed 2 cans of Schlitz when my dad wasn't looking.   I was only able to force down half of my can while my friend drank his and the remainder of  mine.   The Schlitz was so bad.   I never had another Schlitz again until last winter at the Winter Brew Fest..  New recipe?!?  Tastes the same!   Luckily living in Colorado, I have endless choices of great beer.   My friend now drinks Bud Light !

Sweezy
Sweezy

I was probably 15, on a boat at night, in the middle of a lake in Virginia. My older brother and his friends were having a good time, feeling no pain and listening to the radio. I distinctly remember that Solsbury Hill came on about the same time I cracked an ice cold can of whatever uber-cheap beer was on board. It did not go down smooth at first, but I got the hang of it quickly. 

 

A few of them did the trick, and I thought I was making headway chatting up my brother's girlfriend's little sister, who was about my age. I felt like the coolest kid ever (for once, and never again). Then the radio died and the lights went out. We were adrift in the middle of a very big (and dark) lake. It was determined that someone was going to have to swim for help. I was feeling a new kind of confidence then and volunteered for the mission. Everyone thought that was a good idea, even though I wasn't from around there, had no idea where I was, and was drinking for the first time. But I couldn't think of a better way to show off for the little sister, and I dove right in.

 

I managed to reach shore, barely. Swimming was...unpleasant...during my first beer buzz. I crawled out of the water onto a golf course, soaking wet, kind of drunk, and wearing only a swimsuit. After what seemed like hours wandering through woods and over fairways I reached a road. It was pitch black and very quiet. Eventually a van happened along. I was comforted that it looked a bit like the A-Team van. Inside was an old couple that looked like they just stepped off the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Her beehive hairdo was a good match for his cowboy hat, sequined jacket and gigantic belt buckle. It was very surreal but they offered to drive me around until I saw the house where I was staying. I didn't see any better option. They had a twelve pack of Budweiser sitting up front between them (don't drink and drive!) and offered me one. I didn't want one but took it because I feeling pretty awkward, sitting soaking wet and shirtless in the red plush backseat of a strange (and pretty hammered) couple's van.

 

So we cruised around the lake for almost an hour, mostly in silence, with the windows down and the radio off. The only sound was the wind and the occasional snap of a beer can being opened. After many wrong turns I finally saw salvation and the porch light. I thanked them and they drove off into the night, never to be seen again. Our hosts were none too pleased when I woke them up, especially because my brother had apparently "borrowed" the boat. When we found them, everyone was pretty lit, including the little sister who was unfortunately unable to recognize my heroism, or anything else. 

 

KDBryan
KDBryan

I was 8 years old and I idolized my Dad. He often cracked open a beer when he came home from his job at Gates Rubber Factory. I was always fascinated by the "weird soda" that I wasn't allowed to drink.

 

One day, I finally got up the courage to ask him if I could try some of his beer. He laughed, smiled and said "Just a sip, but you can't tell your Mom, okay?". I nodded eagerly, thrilled at the fact we were going to share a secret together and that I would finally be able to taste Dad's grown-up drink - beer. He passed me the can and I hesitantly took a small drink.

 

It was Coors.

 

I had expected the drink that my Dad always drank that made him relaxed and happy to taste wonderful, like Kool-Aid. Instead, it tasted gross as Hell. The closest thing my young mind could associate it with was vinegar. I couldn't help but make a face and my Dad laughed uproariously.

 

Dad gently took the can back as I grimaced and looked for the nearest source of water to wash out my mouth. Still chuckling, he told me that I wouldn't like it until I got older. As it turns out, that was a lie - I still hate Coors to this day. Fat Tire, on the other hand, I adore - but that's a whole 'nother story.

 

K. D.

 

KDBryan@gmail.com

94cubuff
94cubuff

The first time I tried beer was at a family Christmas when I was four years old.  (Parents please don't disapprove, the story is kind of sweet!)

My grandfather and all of my uncles were sitting around drinking bottles of Michelob.  I was sitting on my granddad's lap.  When he got up to go into the kitchen, I grabbed the bottle to take a swig.

He came back in and saw me, and put it back down.  He told me "Scooter, you want to be careful with that stuff.  It makes you do crazy things, and marry crazy women like your grandmother!"

Michelob was a staple at every family gathering until the day he passed away.

As I've grown older, I've gained a true appreciation of good beer.  However, every year on his birthday I still raise a Michelob in his honor.  (Of course, not a Michelob Ultra.  That would make him roll over in his grave!)

 

Scott

cocubfan@gmail.com

rentedlunchbox
rentedlunchbox

I was around 20 and my older sister, her friend and a few others all had a cabin up in the mountains for another friends birthday. That night we were all sitting around a huge bonfire by the river. I had never been much into alcohol at all and my sister and her friends knew this. Even though everyone knew I did not really like beer they all went to the liquor store and bought different types of beer. We sat around the fire and we opened each type trying each one and passing it around so everyone got a taste. From that night on I was hooked with finding as many different styles and flavors of beer from around the world as I could. I remember just being amazed at the fact that beer wasn't just beer, it was complex and full of flavor. One beer that looked the same did not taste the same as every other beer we tasted. I still continue to find new beers to try and build my collection of bottles from around the world. 

 

allisonbpatrick
allisonbpatrick

I was a very naiive, young, dumb (and dare I say horny) 13 year old girl trying to impress Todd Walker who was 15 and had a car (a Mitsubishi Eclipse of all things) and liked to party. He took me out on our first date to a house party and cracked open my first beer for me - a lukewarm, possibly skunky Natty Light. I tried to play it cool but soon enough it was evident I couldn't hold my alcohol, it was way past my curfew and there was no way to sober me up. He packed me up in the Eclipse and drove me home. My mom and stepdad were waiting up as Todd tried to stand me up and walk me to the door. For whatever reason I thought I could blame everything on a bad sunburn that was making me feel faint and dizzy. Mom didn't buy it, sat us both down and had a "coming to Jesus" meeting with the two of us. I spent the next day battling an epic hangover, complete and total embarassment and the shaming, disgusted looks of my mother. Todd Walker never spoke to me again.

food4thought
food4thought

earliest memory of beer - my mom drinking coors light over ice with a lime and taking small sips...oh so classy.

cory.casciato
cory.casciato

As a Westword contributor, I know I can't win, but I wanted to share my tale anyway. My first time drinking beer was at 13 when my mom decided it was cool if I had a beer when I wanted one, as long as I was hanging out with her. She gave me a Budweiser, and I eagerly popped it open, had a swallow, and discovered that beer actually pretty much sucked ass. Not wanting to look like a poser in front of mom, I forced myself to drink the entire 12 ounces of skunky, shitty, foul all-American pisswater pilsener even though I would have rather have drank my own urine. Then I refused to drink beer again for more than four years, which may have been what she was hoping to achieve all along. If so, nicely played, mom. Nicely played indeed.

a_ostrowitz
a_ostrowitz

A 3-year Old's Hangover. I guess I  must have realized I liked beer at a young age because my mom loves to tell the story of my hangover at age 3. One time when I was two years old, my parents had a dinner party. It was the middle of the summer, and I believe that Corona was the beverage of the evening. Apparently, my parents were enjoying the party because they didn't notice what their devious child was doing until their friend's 8-year old child told them that I was drinking from the adult bottles. Apparently once everyone had migrated to another room, I went around the table and finished off what was left behind in each of the beer bottles on the table. It was probably only 1/2 inch in each, but I guess it was enough for one mess of a 3 Year-old hangover. What can I say? I was probably just trying to fit in at the party.

 

Amanda

aostrowitz@hotmail.com

rjclarkmu
rjclarkmu

The first beer I had was in high school when my friend was housesitting for a coworker.  The coworker was in her thirties and trusted a high school kid to housesit, so I'm not sure what she was expecting.  Anyway,  the two of us just hung out and drank a few of the husband's MGDs  and watched a movie.  We got a little tipsy and fell asleep.  However, the next day we realized that the guy is going to miss his beer, so we had to talk some college kids to buy us a 12 pack of MGD to replace the ones we drank.  We replaced all the beer and then some.  I bet the guy was really confused about why he had more beer when he got back than when he left, but they never did complain about it!

sergio.herrera1980
sergio.herrera1980

i want to tell you guys about my moms first time drinking...it was a family birthday so we all go out to a local bar. my mom was having such a good time she started mixing beer and tequila. after several shots and beer my mom decides to get up on the tables and sing some tunes. so there u have me babysitting her, my dad is laughing his ass off. my brother upset about it. by the end of the night we had to carry no wait roll my mom on a chair with wheels to rhe car. across the bar. the stares we got were at the time upsetting but now we laugh about it...needless to say this story gets brought up every family gettogether

Kaitlin13
Kaitlin13

I remember being in my dad's man cave watching a Broncos game when I was about  6 years old and he let me try his icy-cold Coors Banquet. It was love at first taste! I would sneak in every Sunday thereafter to try for another taste. I've now acquired a better palate for beer, and would love to go to the GABF!

Stacy Carrera
Stacy Carrera

cheap booze bought with a fake id so so loonnng ago...my taste has definitely been refined since then. :)

sara.e.grossman
sara.e.grossman

A haiku about my 13 year old self:

 

My dad said to me,

"Have a sip. It's made from hops!"

I spit it out. Yuck.

helkins
helkins

Deep thought? Really? Like most of us I'm guessing, I was drinking underage at my brother's party and drank a little too much too fast and passed out before the party even got started. Back then there weren't any microbrews or at least not where I lived. Bud was king. My tastes have improved since then.

 

Holly - hollye75@gmail.com

Lauren Hoff
Lauren Hoff

A keg of 90 shilling on my 20th birthday just as the first snows were falling for the 2007 blizzard.....

KristinMarie
KristinMarie

Ok, so my story isn't earth shattering or anything, but this moment has stuck with me. During middle school, my two best friends came to my house for a sleepover. We were stocked with Mountain Dew and snacks, but needed to add more to the mix. I stole a Busch Light from my older sister's stash and we snuck it back up to my bedroom. We proceeded to pass the beer around in a circle, followed by a can of Mountain Dew because we didn't particularly like the taste, but we were determined to drink all of it. 

shyde722
shyde722

I was 13 an stole a beer from a family friends Ice Chest while camping in CA. I snuck off with my best bud a tom girl and drank it under the stars with her! It was a Coors with push button top- kids

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