When I had just graduated from college, most of my mornings would begin with me stumbling over tossed clothes and sneakers to the refrigerator. My mouth typically felt as barren as the Sahara, and only one thing could cure this—water. I never thought I would ever drink anything else in the morning. Least of all, I never thought I would drink beer. One day that all changed.
It’s OK to drink beer in the morning. Yes, you read me correctly: It’s OK to drink beer in the morning. I’m not saying you should replace milk in your cereal with beer anytime soon (though the name Beereal is very fun to say), but I’m letting you know that it’s OK to grab a beer before noon. I promise no one will judge you, as long as you find the right forum to do it in.
It’s well-documented that beer and sports complement each other nicely. In fact, since turning the legal drinking age, I cannot think of a sporting event that I have witnessed where I didn’t have a beer in my hand. Beer helps me cheer louder and with more passion. Whether it’s a football Sunday or a weeknight hockey game, I think beer is a necessity with sports. Now the paradox, what if the sport is played in the morning?
The first time I had an early morning beer, I was invited to a little pub in the city that was going to be screening a Premier League soccer game at 8 a.m. Naively, I assumed everyone would be grabbing a juice from a nearby convenience store, or maybe sipping coffee. I mean, after all, are people even allowed to serve beer in the morning? Surely taps don’t even work when the sun is barely over the horizon. I imagined the pub was just a forum where televisions were provided for watching a live soccer game that was taking place across the ocean. Back in those days my beer knowledge was limited to any saying that rhymed, and of course to drinking before noon looked bad.
What I walked into, however, could have been taking place at midnight in any other bar I had ever been to. There were soccer fans clinking beer glasses, guzzling drinks and singing merrily. I was stunned to still have sleep crust in my eyes yet still see beer consumed so happily and without judgment while the sun had just kissed the sky. Could I have been so wrong about the consumption of beer in the early morning hours? Was it possible that people rose early on Sunday mornings for a glass instead of mass?
There was only one scientific way to find out.
My friends and I ordered a round and joined in the excitement. I don’t know if that first sip tasted as good as my first beer tasted, but I know that it felt special. It felt special to be there in that moment. It felt like I was doing something I shouldn’t, and I loved it. The beer was accompanied by raucous cheering and clumsy sing-alongs of time-honored songs. In a way, this Sunday morning gathering had its own tradition infused in it, and it welcomed visitors with open arms and foamy pints.
Of course, this generosity only abides as long as you wear the right colors.
Since then, I have followed a team that regularly plays in the wee hours, and when I am lucky enough to find an accommodating bar, I love to imbibe in the morning. It’s a special treat. I like to share this experience with anyone I can. It’s not for the faint of heart, or for those who like to sleep in, but it is an experience that I highly recommend. So the next time you wake up with a thirsty mouth, make sure to get yourself to a nearby pub. You will find a camaraderie at the bar that you won’t find at night, and you will find that it’s OK to drink beer in the morning.
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Jim Kohl is the artist and cocreator of the comic strips Happy Hour and The Brewery along with Phil Kriser. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pen and drinking since he could hold a pint. Happy Hour is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday online at happyhourcomic.com; you can also read his beer-centric strip The Brewery every Wednesday at brewerycomic.com.
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