Why the First Half of a Beer Is The Best
The sound of cracking open a cold one is among the greatest of all time: tccccckkk-haaa. It’s the start of the weekend, the kickoff, the flipping of the clock from 4:59 to 5:00 pm. It’s the sweet sound of freedom that precedes your first refreshing sip of beer.
Ahhhhh. There’s nothing quite like it, right? The frothy overflow of a just-poured draft, the first few gulps of ice-cold, hoppy ale running down your throat. Fizzy, foamy, frosty, crisp. But nothing gold can stay. You get carried away with the chip bowl, or go to the bathroom, or get caught up in telling a story and forget about your drink for a couple minutes. Your clammy hand wraps around your pint for a bit too long. It’s a little warmer and a little flatter than it was at the start. It’s not your fault that nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. It’s another casualty of the passage of time: The quintessential thirst-quenching beverage—one that puts even blue Gatorade to shame—is now just a bunch of warm liquid.
The first half of a beer is why we drink beer. The second half is an afterthought at best, backwash at worst. If you were to watch all the beer commercials from the beginning of time, you’d hear the words cold and refreshing over and over and over. That’s because marketing people aren’t that creative, and also because that’s what sells beer. No one drinks beer for the tepid second half. It’s Target to Walmart, Slack to Microsoft Teams. They serve the same purpose, sure, the first and the second halves of your beer. But they don’t even compare.
All right, relax, you in the back. Yes, workable solutions exist for this problem, but they pose their own set of challenges. Such as: drinking a pony-sized bottle of beer (but where does one buy these?) or ordering a flight so you are served only five first halves (but what if we aren’t at a craft brewery?). Far more common are the anti-solutions, such as the tallboy and the nightmarish stein. Don’t let Oktoberfest distract you with its beer cheese from its giant warm-beer crimes.
This article appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Esquire
None of these are acceptable solutions! Blessedly, we have one.
When you look down at your glass, half empty, with condensation dripping down its sides, don’t summon your freshman-year-of-college powers and slug it like you’re about to take home flip cup for the team. Don’t just get it over with.
Get yourself another first half of a beer.
From here on out—and we mean this—we don’t care what you do with the second half of your beer. Pour it down the drain. Send it back. “Accidentally” knock it over. Water the plants with it. Put out a fire. Give it to the dog. Beer-batter some fish. Hand it to the person complaining that you drink too slowly. Pour it into an inflatable kiddie pool so that one day, eventually, you’ll have a small pool full of beer. Whatever you gotta do to get another beer in front of you, so you can tccccckkk-haaa that fresh can and relive the rush of the first half all over again.
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