Britt: Fathers and daughters share many bonds. In the case of me and my Dad, we both laugh at "The Simpsons," love animals, played soccer in our youth, and went to college to become writers. And we each enjoy a good pint of ale. Rick: This isn't surprising. Beer is in our blood. It’s not just from the pints we enjoyed during dinners. It also has to do with good childhood memories of playing and laughing while our dads sat nearby and enjoyed a couple of cold brews. And it’s also likely because of our German-English-Polish-Mexican ancestors, who surely gave us DNA with genetic markers that resemble hops. The fact is, we each tasted beer early in life and decided it was pretty good stuff. In my case, it was in the early 1960s, when my mom and dad would sometimes let me sip the suds off the top of a fresh draft. In Brittany’s case, it was pure theft when a three-year-old blonde showed she was her father’s daughter one summer afternoon by quickly downing an unattended Matt’s Premium split. Britt: Beer has always been around our house: in the fridge, in the garage or in whichever hand my dad wasn’t using to flip burgers on the grill. It's on the guest list for birthdays, picnics, sporting events and dinners. At our house, beer's a social beverage that friends and family gather around. And while I did pay close attention to my mother’s makeup, jewelry and perfume, I also had more than a passing interest in my father’s most frequent accessory: a good, cold, pint of freshly brewed craft beer. I like to challenge the societal stigma of beer being ‘unlady-like’. I respect a woman who can walk into a bar, order a craft beer and enjoy her suds with just as much satisfaction as the guy sitting next to her. Rick: When Brittany started going to school, I suddenly realized that not everyone shared my appreciation for beer. While programs like D.A.R.E. have good intentions, nearly all of the information about alcohol in our schools is highly negative and does nothing to reinforce the important messages about moderate consumption, which we tried to communicate in our home. I realized that Brittany (now 21) and her younger sister, Brhea (18) were growing up with beer and it was my job to make it a positive experience. Beer was not the sinister beverage they were hearing about in school. I wanted them to know the beer I enjoyed. Beer made by Belgian monks. Beer made by American craftsmen. Beer made in every corner of the world, by people who carry on a 5,000-year-old tradition. Britt: My dad explained the positive aspects of beer to me at the age of ten, when D.A.R.E. had temporarily impaired my ability to distinguish between a responsible enthusiast and an alcoholic. I was pretty amazed, though, when I learned that beer was a staple beverage at medieval royal weddings, or that beer was on the very first ships that arrived in the Americas. I now sit with a happy smile when I see old sepia photographs of my relatives holding a beer during a celebration, because I can easily understand from where my tastes emigrated. Beer serves as a virtual link to generations of family I never had the chance to meet. Rick: Both of my daughters are constantly impressing me, in so many ways. For example, I love it when we all go out to dinner and Britt decides to have a beer. I’ve never heard her call for a Coors Light or a Michelob Ultra. Those beers might be OK for the neighbor’s kid, but I’d feel like I hadn't really done a complete job as a parent if she didn't know the difference between an IPA and a stout. Britt: My Dad's a loveable pushover who would do anything for his family. Plus, it's pretty cool when I take my dad to hang out with a group of my friends, and he decides to have a beer. I’ve never heard him call for anything that anyone in the room has even heard of before, let alone tried. When curious eyebrows are raised, we get to have a great discussion about the beverage in question, and I learn some new things from him. It’s great to have a parent who’s an expert about something as unique, yet so universal, as beer. Of course, I wouldn’t be doing a complete job as Rick’s kid if I didn’t sometimes try to find a beer he had never sampled.
Father and daughter Rick Lyke and Brittany Lyke live near one another along the North Carolina and South Carolina border.