I realize this will shock many of you, but I hated beer in high school and the first couple years of college.

I know, I know, this destroys your image of me, but it’s the truth.

I blame it on orange soda. My parents weren’t big soda drinkers, so I wasn’t really exposed to it. The first time I tried an orange soda at a birthday party in elementary school, the carbonation freaked me out and that was the end. My anti-carbonation stance carried over when we started on beer in high school (don’t tell the cops).

Plus, beer back then sucked.

I was still a young male and would drink beer when nothing else was around, but I tended towards kamikazes. Until the night I got so drunk that when my friends dropped me off at home I freaked out over someone stealing my car. You know, the one I drove to the bar earlier that night and (wisely) left there. The hangover lasted three days – so much for the immunity of youth.

But then I discovered Buff Gold.

In 1990 the Walnut Brewery, the first brew pub in Boulder, opened up. Shortly afterwards I was hired as a 19 year old 140 lb (wet) bouncer. It was a mellow crowd. I couldn’t drink there as an underage employee, but a couple other bars owned by the same guy carried the beer. Buffalo Gold was the first ale I ever tried, and started me down a path of refined malty (and responsible) consumption.

As a side note, Frank Day, the owner, later opened the first Rock Bottom brewery in Denver (same franchise, different name). He also started the Old Chicago’s chain. Rock Bottom is all over the place, and merged with Gordon Beirsch a few years ago, which also owns Big River Brewery, the only brew pub at Disney World (on the Boardwalk). I keep showing my Walnut Brewery nametag at Disney, but they still make me pay for my beers. When they let me in the door.

Anyhoo… after Buff Gold came Fat Tire, which migrated down from Fort Collins an hour north of Boulder. Then all sorts of craft beers exploded, which explains why the American Homebrewers Association offices were around the corner from my old Boulder condo. Turns out I didn’t hate beer, I just hated bad beer.

After I moved to Phoenix a Yard House opened up near us and my (now) wife and I started spending most Friday happy hours there. That’s when I met The Bastard. Arrogant Bastard, if you are being formal, and it is about as serious a beer as you can find. After that anything short of an IPA seemed almost tasteless, and I became obsessed with California hops. I also loved the naming and marketing used by the Stone Brewing company. Beers like Ruination and Sublimely Self Righteous. Tag lines like, “You’re Not Worthy” and “you probably won’t like this beer”.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child she deigned to take the Stone Brewery tour when we were out in San Diego, despite being unable to drink. That’s when I realized the marketing genius of their aggressive, no-nonsense approach. After… a few pints… I emailed Adrian and informed him I had our new corporate branding. “No B.S. Research”, “If you want to feel good about yourself, call your mom. If you want a security program, call us”, and the rest of our site and attitude.

It has been five years since that trip, and our distinct divergence from traditional professionalism. And you know what? People like honesty. And the ones who don’t aren’t the sorts we want to work with anyway. It’s a nice filter that drives the kinds of clients and engagements that make this such an awesome job, and save us from endless piles of lapdogging and paperwork.

And it all started with a beer. Like anything else worth a damn.

On to the Summary:

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Blog Comment of the Week

This week’s best comment goes to DS, in response to A Very Telling Antivirus Metric.

“We stop 0 day* attacks”

*in this sense 0 indicates the number of attacks we successfully stop.

Always gotta read the fine print.