I'll order a beer-flavored beer

“Do you have any regular beer?” I asked the bartender.

It was Thursday night, and a couple of us Pioneer folks were giving a farewell toast to a coworker following his final day on the job. It's been a tradition for nearly a decade now when someone leaves, we spend a few hours talking about some fun times, memories and the business.

“Domestic?” the bartender asked.

The funny thing is, I had already played the scenario over and over in my mind before entering the establishment. What would happen when I asked for a beer because I'm not into the fancy schmancy craft beer?

It certainly sounded worse than it reads.

“If you mean domestic, as in Miller Lite, then yes, domestic,” I answered, as I got an unnerving look from the bartender indicating I was probably the first person in months to ask for a domestic bottle of beer.

Minutes before, my coworker and I laughed about what the exchange with the bartender would be, recalling Denis Leary's 1997 stand-up special “Lock 'N Load” and his rant on beer.

To be truthful, the comedian's rant didn't begin with beer.

It was actually about his unhappiness with the changing world of coffee as Starbucks and other coffee joints were becoming very popular throughout the country. Just looking for a regular cup of joe, Leary instead was forced to confront a world of Coffee Coolatas and special order coffees.

The rant then turned to beer — seeing that one of his favorite, longtime drinks was heading in the same direction.

“Who knew beer-flavored beer would be a special order?” a frustrated Leary rhetorically asks the crowd, before explaining his distaste about microbreweries (“Why don't you microbrew me up a batch of Budweiser?”) and his unhappiness of receiving a Sam Adams holiday beer dispenser (“Cranberry ale … Folks, cranberries and beer do not go together. One is for bladder infections, the other is for getting drunk.”)

While this happened nearly 20 years ago, I continue to echo his words "Why does beer need a menu?"

Shoot, I need a dictionary and the internet just to figure out the phenomenon — stouts, lagers, IPAs, ales. Then wheat, barley and rye ales. Huh?

I am not naive enough to believe craft beer is just a phase — like Crystal Clear Pepsi or Fruit Stripe Gum. There's enough interest from beer drinkers and home enthusiasts to have this market for craft brews. And, oddly enough, they like it. Every year Grand Rapids is in the running for "Beer City USA" or something like that.

However, my adventure into trying some of these "craft" beers has been less-than-arousing to my taste buds and actually made me wonder how folks can stomach them.

A few I've tried, the smell alone was noxious to me. Getting past the smell, a swig immediately made me recall the faces my daughter and son made when they began eating canned baby food. You shouldn't have to scrunch up your face, wiggle your nose and pucker up just to enjoy an adult beverage.

If the liquid made it past the first two steps of the test, I would reluctantly take a drink, trying to get as much enjoyment out of it as other folks were. Yet, it didn't happen. Whatever it was, some ingredient, seemed to permeate from deep within and expel itself with every breath. There's not enough Listerine, folks. Other "craft beers" happened to just feel like a bucket of mush sitting in my stomach for hours and hours, resulting in noxious air for those around me.

I can confidently say craft beer isn't for me.

Instead, I'll leave that to those more refined than myself with an adventurous palate. I'll stick with my watered-down, beer-flavored beer.