My name is Gustav Flowbeer—aka that crying kid from preschool—and I’m here to bitch about all the horrible alcohol that has flooded the hollowed pipes of Pembroke Campus and Wriston Quad in one form or another since way, way before we were born. There’s not much more to me than the following—my own take on a classic west coast rhyme: “All I give a fuck about is Natty and sex, plastic fifth of Karkov and some BDH checks.”
The first beer I ever had at Brown University was not a cold beer—in fact, it was a piss warm beer. I was parched following an arduous trip from the train station up the Hill and anything would have sufficed. A high school friend, then a freshman, met me outside of Keeney and serendipitously pulled a silver can out of his pocket. Not knowing that Spring Weekend was an open container pass, I cracked it and drank its contents down in two massive gulps. The liquid tasted like horse piss and fermented corn. Prefrosh, Natty. Natty, prefrosh. That Friday I drank ten more—or twenty. Hell of a way to start a friendship.
Friendship probably isn’t the right word. See, I’ve been drinking Naturals all these years not out of any gustatory pleasure I get from the beer (there’s Pabst or Rolling Rock for that), but solely out of habit. Just as some people still eat Trix despite the shape change and some masturbate only an even number of times a week, I drink Naturals in a sort of daily ritual. And as with any ritual, I both hate and love this behavior.
To understand this we’d have to go back to Spring Weekend 2010. See, that weekend I saw MGMT, Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Wale, and Major Lazer (yes, kids, there was a time before Coachella when a Spring Weekend lineup could actually evoke cheers) and was hopped up on Natty the entire time. In my Spring Weekend rapture, I somehow convinced myself that it was the Natural Light—not the great concert—that was making me feel so good. In retrospect I should have learned a crucial lesson: do not confuse shitty alcohol with a good time. Instead I fell head over heels for the second or third shittiest beer on the planet.
Shitty alcohol has an undeniable appeal to the college student. It is usually absurdly cheap, widely available (have you been to a house party that hasn’t had plastic handles or kegs of low-tier brews?) and tends to have a faux-sophisticated name like Natural Light or, for the cosmopolitan among us, Popov. Natural, though, holds a special place in the hearts and battered minds of young adults because it is one of the only beverages besides water that’s best consumed all day. The only limiting factor on the amount of Natural Light one can consume is the size of his or her bladder. Why it acts so much like seltzer and tastes so much like dead organisms is beyond me—fact of the matter is we all drink it. Whereas Georgi will leave you with a painful hangover, Natural only leaves you mildly gassy, which is a far lesser evil. Also I find that its only passing resemblance to true beer allows me to feel better about my consumption as I drink it by the case.
I don’t have any interest in the cold facts (only cold cans, for which there are cozies), but here they are in case you did. At roughly 18 dollars for a 30-rack you’re paying about 60 cents per 12 oz. beer. Its ABV is a respectable but dubitable 4.2%, which means you’re getting 15.12 ounces of alcohol per case. So the question remains: is this a beer you can afford? Answer: If you have pocket change and your self-regard is low enough, drink away.