Well, well, well. We’ve been waiting for you Mr. Beer Day. Actually, we have already stumbled upon a few other days that were dedicated to beer along our quest. We celebrated National Drink Beer Day back in September, National American Beer Day in October and National Beer Can Appreciation Day in January. All those were fun, but they each had little quirks about them and special qualifications that made them somewhat specific. This day today was dedicated to just one thing and one thing alone: beer. Now that’s a celebration I can get behind.
I naturally had the dilemma of how to celebrate. It was Friday night and it was kind of a long week, so the thought of going out to Happy Hour was in the lead for ideas. I could see a nice cold beer being placed down in front of me on a bar, it’s golden hue a contrast to the white froth at the top, and toasting the day. That’s always fun, but it doesn’t really stand out as a unique way to celebrate. It kind of sounds like a typical Friday night for a lot of people. No, I would have to dig deeper to find a better way to celebrate. My next idea was trying to combine beer with a fun activity and I’m not sure why, but the first thought that popped in my mind was roller skating. I have never gone roller skating in an actual rink. I kind of thought that it would be a fun thing to do on a Friday night. We would circle around the rink and dance to the glowing disco lights and eighties soundtrack, maybe even recreate the Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci moment from Monster, then stopping from time to time to grab a cold frosty at the bar. But apparently these kind of places don’t really exist around here (or in this decade). There are roller rinks in the area, but none offer beer as an option. That wiped that plan off the docket.
As they day marched on and it got closer to that magic time, I was still trying to come up with a plan. That’s when Lola emerged from her writing room. She wanted to see what the plan was. She had just showered and was ready to go out, but she wasn’t all that excited about it. She had had a hard day and just wanted to kind of chill at home. I had told her about going out for Beer Day earlier in the day and she was being supportive, but if she had her druthers, a night in would have been her preference. So we decided to discuss our options. She was feeling me too about wanting to do something fun alongside our beer drinking. We could drink beer any day, but what could we do to make it more fun. That’s when we started thinking about beer activities and Lola came up with the idea of Beer Pong. That’s when our night took a turn.
Beer pong had crossed my mind at some point during the day but I didn’t really give the idea any merit. After all, we are adults. We can’t be playing drinking games on a Friday night. But when Lola mentioned it, I realized that it could be pretty fun. It meant we could stay home and just drink beer and have some laughs. That’s when I realized it would be a true tribute to beer on National Beer Day. A salute to those early days when we are first introduced to drinking beer when you are not actually legal to drink it. You find places to do it. You congregate with your friends wherever the beer is – at the beach, in parking lots, at parties and at houses when parents are away. You just get the beer and have fun. That’s what we were going to do today. This would be the best way we could honor a day that celebrates beer.
I ran to the package store to grab some beer. If we were truly honoring our early years in the world of drinking beers, we should have gone for the cheap stuff. I would have grabbed the Meister Bräu and would have picked up some Natty Light for Lola. But we drew the line there. Instead, I picked up some Corona and some Traveler’s Pineapple Shandy (which was tasty and is now Lola approved). Then I had to find ping pong balls. When the idea of pong came up, Lola was concerned that we didn’t have any ping pong balls and I assured her you could buy them anywhere. I always see them in stores, usually at the check out counter for an easy grab as you are checking out. It would be easy peasy. But it wasn’t. While I didn’t really stretch my search quadrant too far, I did go to four different stores (the package store, Rite Aid, Cumberland Farms and the Dollar General) and nobody carried them. I couldn’t believe it especially after I laughed at how easy they would be to find. I went back home with the beer and then had to solve the ball dilemma. I will say that when it comes to games, I’m kind of resourceful, so I was not giving up hope. I had to find a solution fast because I was starting to lose Lola’s interest. In the end, I landed on using plastic easter eggs which if you taped them shut actually had a nice little bounce to them. We then set up our Red Solo cups in the patented beer pong pyramid, poured beer in each cup and it was game on.
The key to this whole night was the music and for that, we tuned into the DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince channel on Pandora. It was classic hip hop which I was surprised (not really) that Lola actually knew almost all the words to every song. From “Regulate” to “Shoop” to “Bust a Move” – she was singing along and dancing. It must have been a trip for her because when she first heard these songs, it may have been at this exact kitchen table with beer in Red Solo cups at a party while her parents were away. That’s where this night brought us: back to times of underage drinking. I was having flashbacks to college parties too. We pretty much had ourselves a house party tonight, only it was just the two of us. That’s actually a pretty fun night to have.
Plastic eggs do bounce but because of their oblong shape, there is not really a good consistency to the motion they follow. You would bounce one that would bounce over all the cups and then your next one would bounce and run straight across the table with zero arc. It was a challenge. Also, the eggs would crack on occasion so we ended up going through about 5 or 6 eggs. I was the first one to make one in and Lola chugged back her sip. It’s funny how as an adult you are a bit more sophisticated when you are playing games. In High School, you would just plop your hands in, pull out the ball, suck back the beer and continue. When you are older, you carefully remove the ball (or egg in this case), you dry it off with a decorative dish towel, you carefully sip your beer and return the cup to a safe place on the side and you continue. As our first game progressed, Lola was down to one cup in front of her but she kept plugging away and she eventually caught up and beat me. She was the round one winner.
We ordred in some pizza and even that was a trip to have pizza delivered while we were playing drinking games. When the driver pulled in, Lola hid as she would have had someone’s parents pulled into the driveway in the middle of the party. We felt like we were doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing. After the coast was clear, the party resumed and Lola once again pulled off the victory in round two. Were we using actual ping pong balls, I would have been so money in my tosses and would have sunk sank in a few shots. However with a wonky-bouncing egg, I was getting no luck. I will give Lola credit as a tough competitor in anything. She’d probably be pretty accurate with a ping pong ball as well. In our third game, when I think Lola’s motor skills were slightly impaired, I was able to sink the win. So she beat me two games to one – fairly and squarely. That was all we had in us too, but I’ll be eager for a rematch.
I had posted a picture or two on Facebook while we were playing and it was fun to have people chiming in on our fun and it was safe to say that others wanted to join in. I think all adults should take the chairs out of the kitchen every once in a while, line up the Red Solo Cups and have a house party. It’s just good old fashioned fun. I was really getting the best of Lola’s dance moves too. She’s got ’em too. Anytime we have dance music playing, it puts Lola in a good mood. She starts singing and dancing along. At the end of our party, we actually cleaned up right away which was another sign of being mature (or mature-ish). I cleaned up the dishes and the counters and packed away the leftover pizza. Lola cleaned the floors which had suffered from one cup being knocked over by an errant egg. It had that sticky, beer covered feeling to it that I remember from every house party and we couldn’t go to bed without getting it clean. After we cleaned up, we sat down on our couch and just kind of glowed in the joy the night had brought us. It was so fun and a trip down memory lane (served in a Red Solo cup).
That was our National Beer Day and it was a great one. It brought us back to our roots and made us appreciate beer for what it has meant to us in our lives. Sure we see it now as a delicious refreshing beverage, an adult one at that, but earlier in our lives, it was something different. It was the forbidden fruit. It was the seductive temptress that we were not allowed to have. It lead us to adventures when we had less cares or worries and we would just stick with our friends to seek it out and just have fun. Beer has brought us a lot of good memories (certainly some bad ones too), so that’s what we honored today. I think we may start doing this more often. Maybe we’ll even start a Friday Night Beer Bong league. We’ll crank up the Beastie Boys, clear the dance floor, line up the Red Solo cups and let the beer flow. Who’s with us? Just don’t tell our parents.
Next Up: National Empanada Day