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The Evolution Of The Way You Drink Beer Over The Years

Happy American Beer Day!

Today is American Beer Day, which of course means it's appropriate to crack open a cold one right now and celebrate the day in style. Got one? Okay, now it's time to get nostalgic. Beer is America's favorite alcoholic beverage. According to Gallup, Americans who consume alcohol favor beer over wine or liquor by a long shot. Forty-one percent report usually choosing beer, over 31 percent who choose wine and 23 percent who choose liquor.

If you're one of the 41 percent of Americans who enjoy kicking back with a beer every so often, take a moment to recollect your first beer-drinking in experience. Where were you? Who were you drinking with and what kind of beer did you drink? Everyone starts somewhere, and on American Beer Day, we're going to celebrate the evolution of our beer-drinking ways. The way you drink beer now is most likely quite different than the way you used to drink. We can think of no better way to celebrate this national holiday than to celebrate the way our beer-drinking habits have matured.

Here are nine fundamental phases every beer drinker goes through. Let us know what beer/life phases we're missing, and what your fondest phases were.

1
Drinking warm beer in a basement.
Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)/Flickr
First we drank in secret. We drank in basements, hidden from our parents, downing whatever we could get our hands on -- no matter how warm it was. And it was great.
2
Drinking out of Solo cups... probably still in a basement.
Solo, with others/Flickr
Whether it was a high school or college party, you were definitely drinking beer out of a Solo cup. Maybe you chugged as quickly as you could in a game of flip cup, maybe you fished ping pong balls out of your cup before chugging... However you were imbibing, it was definitely out of a Solo cup.
3
Thinking the beer funnel is the best invention of all time.
sjharmon via Getty Images
And then quickly realizing the error of your ways and staying as far away from the things as possible.
4
Drinking so much beer you swore never to drink again.
Sharon Dominick via Getty Images
Until the next night.
5
Ordering beers on tap at the bar legally for the first time.
taketan via Getty Images
Any beer drinker would be nostalgic for the early days of bar-going. Those first few times you could order without fear of handing over a sub-par ID were beyond liberating. Were you legally allowed to be at the bar, consuming whatever beer you wanted at your leisure? HELL YEAH you were.
6
Discovering craft beer.
phooleo/Flickr
Shortly after you started to spend enough time in bars legally, you started to appreciate the glory of craft beer. Your goals shifted from trying to consume as much beer as humanly possible to trying to consume as much GOOD beer as humanly possible.
7
Going through an IPA phase.
edwin.bautista/Flickr
If you've been drinking craft beer within the last 20 years, you've likely at least flirted with India pale ales, that hoppy style of beer that some people love and others hate. You might have even thrown yourself full on into the IPA trend, defending it to any skeptic and drinking only IPAs and nothing but. Eventually, however, you needed to become an aficionado of something else.
8
Drinking seriously sour beers and telling everyone about it.
joshuaraineyphotography via Getty Images
By now a self-proclaimed beer geek, you started getting really into inaccessible sour beers. They're funky and they made you feel cool, even if you didn't like them that much.
9
And then you remembered the old days.
BackyardProduction via Getty Images
You came full circle and remembered the cheap, uninteresting beers that started you on this journey to begin with. You denounced your fancy beer ways, David Chang-style, and returned to the cheap beers of your youth. Only now you don't have to drink them warm in a basement somewhere.

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