Any you youngsters grow up drinking craft beer before AALs?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bubseymour, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,903) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    For pretty much 100% of guys over 40 (those raised in the US), I think its pretty safe to say that we all tasted/cut our beer drinking teeth on AAL's/Mexican/Canadian stuff well before migrating into craft beers. Simply because there really weren't any craft beers around to even be aware. Maybe there are a few outliers. Some of you 20 and 30 somethings....any of you get introduced to craft beers styles by family / friends first before every trying the yellow swill stuff? If so, just wondering what you thought about craft beers first and then what your thoughts of AALs after starting out with craft beers for a while.

    It seems so silly now, but when I first was introduced to Boston Lager and Boston Ale back in 1992 timeframe after 4-5 years of slugging down nearly every AAL you could find in a beer store, I thought both of those brews were very bitter and heavy compared to all of the AALs and a small handful of German lager imports I had tried before. Now obviously Boston Lager seems like a light, sweet beer to me.
  2. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,009) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
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    Our son drank Zombie Dust before he drank Budweiser.

  3. FishAndBeer

    FishAndBeer Initiate (137) Mar 11, 2011 Wisconsin

    Nice thread idea! I guess for me, it wasn't really before the yellow swilly stuff as before I was legal age I would try to get whatever 30 pack I had enough money for. At the same time, none of those beers were ever truly "enjoyable" to me. However, at any sort of family gathering when I was a teen and there were adults there that allowed to have some beers and there was spotted cow in the cooler/fridge I would always snag one of those. That was the gateway beer for me to really drink craft, to really appreciate a brew. Whenever I did turn a legal age and wanted beer, it was always a NG offering mostly spotted cow most of the time. In Wisconsin, it's all over and always my throwback beer to my younger days.
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  4. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Initiate (111) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I'm 39 and my first taste of beer was Milwaukee's Best Light because that's what my grandfather drank. The first beer I drank to excess was either Bud Light or Bud Ice. Neither of those were enjoyable really, but I enjoyed the results. When I went to college is when I started buying Victory sampler boxes after thinking that beer didn't get better than Red Stripe and Guiness for a few years. My first legal beer was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. When I finally started going to bars I always leaned towards ones with very large or well crafted beer lists. I've been interested in trying new and different beers ever since.
    dukeandduke and FishAndBeer like this.
  5. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Initiate (111) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania

    You posted while I was typing my response, but this is similar to me. Although back then the fanciest my dad got was JJ Wainwright's Honey Brown. Eventually, I talked him into trying something with a bit more flavor. Now he buy's Great Lakes and Bell's cases regularly.
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  6. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,247) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I did drink some crappy beer in highschool when it was convenient but usually stuck to cheap or pilfered liquor for its economy of cash, space, and time.
    When I was 18 someone shared an old Rasputin with me and the a few days later I was given a Mendocino brewing Eye of the Hawk. I was hooked after that and since then the vast majority of my drinking has been craft beer and I have drank almost no macro beer

    Edit: I'll be 33 this year
  7. bret27

    bret27 Defender (638) Mar 10, 2009 California

    I grew up on the rural Oregon coast. I was 18 in the year 2000. I remember people mostly drinking coors and that type of beer. The beer we thought was craft beer that I remember off the top of my head...
    Pabst blue ribbon, Sierra Nevada pale ale, and red nectar with the hummingbird on the bottle. Mcmenamin’s in pdx only had 1 or 2 locations. That was my first brewpub type experience.
    This was all before I was 21. Ooops.
  8. honkey

    honkey Zealot (583) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
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    First beer I ever drank was Spotted Cow. I spent a summer trying Wisconsin craft beers before heading off to my first semester of college in Alabama which was where I had my first lite beer. In the next 5 years, I probably drank less than 10 AAL’s, but having trouble finding craft beer in Alabama at the time, I started brewing my own.
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  9. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (153) Mar 15, 2014 California
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    (In Bane's Voice) You merely adopted the beer, I was born into it, molded by it. I didn't see craft beer until I was already a man and by then it was HAZY!!
  10. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,693) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    The first beer I ordered in a bar was a Heineken Dark. It wasn't all that hard to avoid AALs if you really wanted to in the late 70s/early 80s, though I can't personally speak to earlier than that.

    I'm guessing that the people who started on AALs did so mostly for 'cultural' reasons rather than limited availability.
  11. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,318) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
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    Well, how did I get here.....

    1970s: (I believe 1978) First beer (at grandparent's house) - Just a few sips Ballantine!

    1980s: Middle School / High School / College: Smirnoff & Heineken (Vodka 75% VS. Beer 25%)

    1990s: College / Young Adulthood:
    Jack Daniels; Guinness & Heineken (Whiskey 90% vs. Beer 10%)

    2000-2015: 30s-mid 40s: Makers Mark; Woodford Reserve & Budweiser (Whiskey 90% vs. Beer 10%)

    2008 (I believe - Not positive on year): First craft beer: Bourbon County Brand Stout Eureka moment - Like Reese's Beer Good, Whiskey Better; Barrel Aged Beer Best!

    2015: Joined Beer Advocate - Really started exploring different beers and styles this year.

    2015 - 2020:
    Over 2020 different beers later, whiskey is very rare these days. Beer go Bragh! (Beer 99% / Whiskey 1%)
    #11 dukeandduke, Mar 21, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
  12. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Savant (912) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
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    I had a Fat Tire before anything. Obviously morphed into Bud Light and everything in between; got curious and tried every beer on the shelf where he would buy me. I can thank my crazy ass uncle for that. Not to mention all that beer... but he led me on a path of better beer, but to appreciate the AALs when fishing etc... time and place for everything.
  13. KRug

    KRug Aspirant (226) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts

    I (21) had very casually had one or two AALs at a few different parties in high school but I didn't really enjoy them so I didn't bother drinking much those days. First year of college I decided to give drinking a shot but I knew there had to be better beer out there. I would give my older friends these orders of what to grab at the liquor store based on what I saw on here and Untappd before I joined the site. I ended up confusing them with my requests for "fancy beer" and ended up with a bunch of different things. Think some of my firsts were a few Stone IPAs in a mixed pack, DFH 90 minute, Sam Adam's Boston Lager, etc. Each time I was drinking with my friends I would try to get a few different kinds of beers for us all to try, which proved difficult to get. I long awaited turning 21 so I could go into liquor stores myself and make the decisions. I've found so many craft beers that I love, some I saw on here and some just picked up on a whim. I knew all along there had to be better beer and I found it! I love everything craft stands for and I'm very happy I didn't waste too much time on flavorless AALs
  14. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (2,818) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    First beer I got completely tossed off was a 40 of Mickey’s at the age of 15 in 1999. Me and my boy Mumbles had a compadre buy us it from a local Mexican liquor store. Good times. After vomiting that night, I spent the rest of my high school years drinking 32 ounces of High Life that we bought for $1.19, and 6 packs of Sol Cerveza (four would get me ripped). I remember one night we scored a 6er of Sierra Nevada. Holy shit, we could barely drink it. It was too “heavy.”
  15. marquis

    marquis Crusader (797) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    When I started drinking, at about 16 years old (this was the norm then, under age drinking was expected!) there was little other than what is now called "craft" beer. We had three excellent small local breweries and masses of local pubs sold it at very low prices. Over half the beer sold was on cask.Only Guinness was on keg, but I never drank it.
    Rather than buying bottled beer we took home beer from the handpumps in whatever containers we had to hand.
    Happy days. Limited choice but everything we could wish for.
  16. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (154) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    I didn't drink until college save for 2x at the end of high school (there were..other things in HS I did ).In college it was whatever is cheapest. But occasionally I would treat myself to a case of Leinie's Red or some Anchor Steam. After I graduated in 2001, it was still Bud. However a Fox & Hound was nearby and it was the first bar I saw that had 35 taps of beers I never heard of. Tuesdays were $2 beer nights so that allowed me to try so many different beers and opened the door for me to craft. Hoegaarden, Lefe, Cafrey's, Boddingtons. I know people will scoff at those today but 20 years ago was another world in beer. I think the young bloods getting out of college today, because craft is EVERYWHERE, I do think they're starting higher up on the curve. They can get Revolution or Lagunitas damn near anywhere for just a $1 or $2 more at times than a Bud.
  17. beersampler6

    beersampler6 Poo-Bah (1,636) Apr 4, 2018 Michigan
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    Man that is just incredible. Lucky duck!

    When I first started drinking beer in the mid-90s it was all Bud Light, Corona, Rolling Rock and MGD. I think my first "fancy" beer was a Sam Adams Boston Lager.
  18. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,636) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    The saying is that older people are set in their ways, but I wasn't old yet. All that I had ever drank since the 60s were AALs. I was 50 when I had my first craft beer at a new brewery in town in 1996, and I haven't looked back since. I can probably count on one hand the number of AALs since then.
  19. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (221) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I'm 33 so still under 40.

    I didn't drink until I went to college.

    My dad growing up only drank Miller Lite. I had probably 4-6 sips of his beers the my entire childhood combined.

    Then the summer after freshman year in college my roommate would very occasionally give my girlfriend and I a single beer they had bought to share over dinner.

    The first two were Bud and Miller but then they bought a Shiner Bock.

    I really hadn't cared either way about the first two but I really liked the Shiner.

    I didn't really drink again until my girlfriend turned 21 (She's my wife now and 1.5 years older than me). Once that happened we exclusively purchased craft beers and import lagers.
    I really liked Red Hook, Sam Adams Black Lager and others.
  20. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (122) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    Dad and grandpa always had Grain Belt, Hamm's and Pig's Eye. I started with those plus MGD, PBR, Schmidt, Old Milwaukee.

    And I still enjoy those to this day.
  21. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,773) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
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    I’m in my 20s and kind of, I also drank AALs but I did have craft in my freshman dorm fridge. It took me a while before I got really into it, but I always had cheaper craft 6ers boulevard summit schells Sierra Nevada Sam Adams etc.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,394) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The term I would use vs. "cultural" is familiarity. My father was a Piels drinker and I had many 'swigs' of that beer in my childhood. When I was a teenagers the popular beers were Genny Cream Ale and Molson Golden. We drank many bottles/cans of those beers in the local park around a bonfire. While attending college the beers served at fraternity parties was Pabst Blue Ribbon. Yeah, there were 'alternative' beers available but me and my friends mostly drank AAL for familiarity reasons.


  23. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,903) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Did anyone start out with drinking IPAs (old school/non-NEIPAs)? If so did you like them right off the bat, or took some time for your palatte to adapt before enjoying them? I think the 1st IPA I ever had was Hop Wallop by Victory...probably late 90s/early 2000's? A friend of mine bought me a sixer for us to try. We both thought it was the most bitter god-awful beer we've ever tasted. Drank maybe half and drainpoured it and went back to our AALs. I had been sampling some various craft brown ales and wheat beers and such a few years during the 1990's, but IPAs were just a whole other level of bitter than I didn't initially care for at all. For what it's worth I had the 2019/2020 re-release of Hop Wallop maybe a month or 2 ago, and thought it was absolutely delicious.
  24. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,903) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    It wasn't all that hard to avoid AALs? I'm confused as back when I was a teenager, AAl/Canadian/Mexiacan beers made up about 95%+ of the beer variety in stores before 1990 (at least in MD). I don't recall SNPA or Sam Adams showing up until 91/92 timeframe (or maybe I just never noticed them in the coolers or shelves. If you are starting out on beer and know nothing at all except for what you see older kids and parents drinking, most kids (myself and everyone I knew), that were adventerous and were exploring and sampling beers it was trying out all of the 30+ AAL/Malt liquor choices to find the ones you liked. Only Euro imports were Heineken, Becks, St. Pauli Girl, Bass, Guiness and Lowenbrau...just off my memory. Actually Lowenbrau was the 1st beer I got wasted on.
  25. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,359) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    We drank some of the cheapest stuff around, Red White and Blue, Vally Forge, Gibbons. Like $3 plus a bit for a case. Rolling Rock and Budweiser sometimes was beyond our money. When SA first came about, it was like this stuff is bitter, it was definitely an eye opener, and I’d say not in a good way at that time. Funny how times have changed, now if I have the rare one my thought is it’s kinda sweet. I feel bad for kids today if there beers are like Pliny or Headhunter, where do you go from there?
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  26. REVZEB

    REVZEB Poo-Bah (6,443) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois

    As a younger guy, though craft beer existed it was never in the budget back then. I remember senior year of college at a birthday party, splurging for a fat tire on tap to try the first time and thinking it was the beverage of the gods! Much better than boxer, milwaukee's best ice, or mickey's!
  27. Ezekiel81923

    Ezekiel81923 Aspirant (272) Jul 8, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I'm 33. Being from the Philly area I grew up in Yuengling country. Most people in high school and college drank miller lite, busch light, lions head, etc. If you drank Yuengling you were fancy, or "rich".

    My drinking career didn't really kick-off until about the time I was 21 anyway (2008), but for about the first year I drank Yuengling and Molson pretty regularly. I was 22 when I stumbled upon BA and the top 100 list. I walked into my (still) favorite beer distributor looking for 3F Gumballhead having no idea how smaller craft breweries worked and having no idea 3F didn't leave Indiana. The nice man was kind enough to point me towards something similar, Southern Tier's HopSun, and I haven't had Yuengling since.

    So I guess you'd say I skipped macro almost completely. But I came of age during crafts renaissance. Not a bad time to be 21.
  28. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,693) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Yeah, I put the word in quotes to indicate as broad a usage as possible; but essentially meaning the culture of one's family and friends. If you happened to grow up in a family or area where it was common to know where to go to get certain foods or ingredients, for example, the same principle applied. Sometimes it was a couple hour excursion, but at least you'd be able to get the 'good stuff'.

    Same thing applied to beer: it was out there somewhere, but it was up to you to go get it. What's so great about now isn't the variety so much, as it is about how fresh and available everything is.

    Even when I was traveling or visiting I would be pleasantly surprised by what we'd come across, even in the south. And if the choices were still limited then good old Lowenbrau and Lowenbrau Dark could still be had. One benefit of them being brewed and distributed by one of the American bigs, I guess :wink:. They weren't the best, but I always had a soft spot for them anyway.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,970) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Drank Ballantine India Pale Ale throughout the 1970-1980s, via P. Ballantine & Sons (mostly "borrowed" from the old man's stash- he was a regular XXX drinker but bought the IPA once in awhile) and then Falstaff's version from Narrangansett and, in the '80s, brewed in Ft. Wayne. I like it but it was definitely a "special occasion / sippin' beer" - a sixpack probably lasted a month or more. Lived with a young woman who loved the stuff.

    And then Bert Grant's IPA when it showed up on the east coast (1990s, I guess?). Before the arrival of Grant's, among retailers and drinkers "India Pale Ale" was simply understood to be Ballantine's, like these 'snips' from ads in 1960s - 1980s:
    Labatt had exported their IPA into the US earlier, but I think it pretty much disappeared in the 1960s, except in certain markets right along the border. I had it, purchased in Canada, in the late 1970s. Don't know what it was like its heyday, but it proved to be one of my biggest beer disappointment up to then :grin:.

    Well, in '75, here's one PA distributor's import line up.

    I remember seeing most of them in NJ (as well as buying many, as well). But imports were a tiny (~2%) percentage of the US beer market into the late 1970s and tended to be sold primarily in larger metro regions. 25% of all imports, went the industry rule of thumb, were sold in the NYC/NJ metro area.

    Circa 1990? In the US? Lowenbrau was brewed domestically by Miller, with adjuncts.
    #29 jesskidden, Mar 21, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
  30. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,693) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    I drank a lot of Dink-n-lacker Dark, myself :sunglasses:.

    Eta: oh yeah, and the occasional Whitebread Ale too. :grin:
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  31. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,636) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    PIG'S EYE!!! :astonished::astonished::astonished: That's the first that I've ever heard of that one.

    The IPA that was on the sampler flight of my first craft beer session went undrunk. I didn't try it again for probably six months, and by then it was good. I fell in love with that brewery's porter as my first style that I loved. By today's standards, it was actually a good IPA.
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  32. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Initiate (111) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania

    While I started drinking mostly AAL's at a young age, the first beers that I remember really loving and buying regularly were Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Victory's Hop Devil, and Erie Brewing's Railbender Ale. I'll admit it, I drank the AAL's to get drunk as a high school/college kid. Those 3 beers made me realize that I could actually enjoy the beer. So while I didn't start on those types of beers, I immediately took to them and considered them far better than the beers that tasted more familiar to me.
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  33. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Initiate (111) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I never cared for Yuengling lager when I was younger, but I did love their Porter and Black and Tan. These days I wouldn't drink Yuengling for anything, but that's mostly because I despise their business practices.
  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,970) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, always fun to find misspellings in old ads (well, some still show up among the "educated beer connoisseurs" who post in beer forums, too:grin:). But this ad from a website a decade or so ago still contains several of my favorites:
  35. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,693) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Omg! Whole Garden is quite the stretch.

    That one has to have been dictated over the phone or something like that.
  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,359) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I can surely say that back in the day no one knew that Yuengling existed. We hit the bars in Trenton starting at 16 or so, and every bar had Schaefer and Budweiser on tap, every now and them maybe a Schlitz , or Michelob , the odd Heineken when we had a bit more money but only one bar had it. Schaefer was 15 cents a glass, Bud was .20, and for $2 you had yourself a night. We never thought to tip either.
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  37. Kb024

    Kb024 Initiate (134) Jun 11, 2015 California

    DFH was probably my first hoppy beers before i turned 21. I liked their Shelter Pale Ale and 60 minute better than the 90 min. My favorite was beer was probably Magic Hat #9 which had a hint of some floral Hoppiness without being bitter. Started drinking Flying Dog Variety Packs and kinda liked the hoppy ones. Moved to CA shortly after that, tried a bomber of Pure Hoppiness and i hated it. Tried Arrogant Bastard and Stone IPA and didnt like those. Started liking Hoppy beers after trying Lagunitas IPA . I really Liked Lagunitas Sucks and Brown Shugga. Tried Sierra Nevada and didn't like it but I didn't realize they were always really old and stale at the liquor store i went to. Got Smacked in the face with a fresh hoppy wake up call when I finally realized that beer freshness makes a huge difference. Started drinking Alpine right from the source and my mind was blown. Started drinking Pliny which is always fresh, Loved it. Now I love West Coast IPAs and Pale Ales. DFH 90 min, Pure Hoppiness, Sierra Nevada are favorites of mine. I still don't really like Arrogant Bastard or Stone in General. Started liking NE IPAs but they filled me up and let me down, gave me heartburn. Tried Heady Topper and liked it but didn't live up to the hype. No date on can didn't taste too fresh. Started trying different styles. Now i'm not too picky. I pretty much drink everything. SNPA is my go-to
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  38. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,177) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Genesee Cream Ale
    Milwaukee's Best
    (Dad's) Heineken....

    those were some of the things I had before oh, 22-23 year old. After had my first SA Boston Ale and Anchor Steams, well, that was it. Never looked back. Cheers.
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  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,970) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    I'm partial to "Magic Cat" and "Bass L" [say 'em both fast out loud]. "Hearts", too.

    GUINNESS: "Hey, where's my second 'N'?"
    STORE: "Oh, sorry - we gave it to Peroni!"

    That's what I've always figured + spoken with an accent. :smile:
  40. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,078) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Dortmunder Ritter Brau Dark for me.