Well, I’ve racked my brain to come up with this one, but here is my first beer memory.  At age eleven or twelve I was with some friends whose dad worked at a junkyard.  I can still remember the smell of oil and scorched leather seats.  Periodically, all of us would be down there together.  We would ride our bikes about 3 miles in the summer heat to get to our cherished hang-out.  On one particular occasion, when the adults were nowhere present, we commandeered an opportunity to furtively slink away with a Bud Light.  Even more than the taste of the beer (which I liked), the excitement and risks involved with getting my first taste of beer was an absolute thrill.  Since that time, I have quaffed veritable lakes of malt products, but there seems to be an element of that first experience in all of my beer drinking exploites.  My palate and preferences for beers have undoubtedly developed and expanded (since then, I have often shunned and castigated Bud Light), even tasting beers reminiscent of that strange oil and leather fragrance.  Yet, the thrill of being able to sneak away to a quiet place and enjoy a can, bottle, or draught is still an elating adventure.  I’m not drinking in the corners of a junkyard anymore, but I can often be found in the corner of a pub or living room (and I do feel like I’m actually living) sneaking away from the busy-ness of daily life to re-connect with the past and hope for a future that is filled with sipping a pint here and there in the far corners of the world.  Rasion d’etre.