An illustration of three teen boys sitting in a pine tree, they watch the a sunset.

Mike Brown: My First Legal Beer!


Ah, my first legal beer. Now, before I tell you about my first legal beer, I need to tell you about my first illegal beer. To be clear, I’m not advocating for underage drinking, just speaking to the rebellious tendencies of a kid growing up on the mean streets of East Salt Lake. Beer was very hard to come by—for the most part you would have to steal it, find a little Korean market downtown or pay off an older scumbag to buy beer for you (and he would always charge you double).

But my first illegal beer was consumed in my friend backyard during a sleepover with three other cohorts. I was 13 years old and our other friend had an older sister who was only 16, but she somehow had a fake ID and was more than willing to provide us with a rack of Budweiser. The five of us dug in to the warm box of Buds underneath a beautiful pine tree. The yard was huge, so it was easy to conceal our shenanigans from his parents and the authorities. 

I cracked a warm one and took my first sip, and in my head I thought, “This is fucking gross.” Due to the rules of teenage peer pressure, what I actually said was, “This is delicious!” I think I only actually drank one beer, but pretended that I drank two. At the end of the night, we all got cold, stashed the evidence and moved the party inside to the bedroom where my friend proceeded to puke. Then I went home and didn’t tell my mom.  

In my teenage years, several incidents that I won’t go into eventually landed me in a sketchy teen treatment center for nine months. It felt like jail, for real, and most of the kids in there would come out worse than they started. But I was determined to prove them wrong and live a semi-straight-edge lifestyle. To clarify, I never claimed to be straight edge, but I did stay sober as a “fuck you” to everyone who told me that I would relapse.

I always knew I would relapse, but I wanted to wait until I was 21. I wasn’t going to go on a Mormon mission, as expected from my upbringing, and moved out of the house. Those years were great—living a life of skateboarding, underage punk shows and not being worried about my parents catching me engaging in any dubious activities.  

I was so pumped to turn 21 and buy my own beer. To finally be able to pull a stool up to the bar and order a cold one—the freedom was overwhelming. My birthday is May 9, so on the night of May 8, I waited until midnight. At 12:01 AM, I went to the gas station and bought a 12-pack. I can’t remember what brand—surely something cheap. Then I went to some girl’s house and drank my first legal beer! The end. 

Read Another Mike Brown Joint:
Mike Brown: Mushrooms and the Great Outdoors!
Mike Brown (Still) Hates Horses