First Draft: Austin L. Ray

CL columnist talks beer for First Draft's one-year anniversary

Wednesday July 25, 2012 04:00 am EDT

Austin L. Ray is more than just a pretty beard. By day, the 29-year-old Midwestern expat is a writer for the world’s greatest email service provider. During his nights and weekends, he writes about beer, comedy, music, and other things he finds interesting for places like Rolling Stone, the A.V. Club, BeerAdvocate, the Village Voice, MTV, and Creative Loafing, for which he pens this very monthly beer missive, First Draft. On the column’s one-year anniversary, it seemed somehow fittingly bizarre to let him write about himself, so that’s what we did. Ray’s other talents include snuggling, looking angry when he’s not, tweeting in all caps when appropriate, and writing about himself in the third person.

Describe your first beer experience.

In late high school, in a backyard in a tiny (population: 200) town in central Illinois, I gathered with some friends to drink Miller Genuine Draft and act like dumb high-school kids. We succeeded on both levels. I chased each of my first several sips of MGD with pizza, doing my best to cancel out the unpleasant new taste. We formed the He-Man Beer Haters Club that night (I think we’d recently rewatched that Little Rascals movie), and I ended up slumped on the ground against a friend’s car, watching the rain hit me in the face until he insisted I sleep in a recliner in his basement. The last thing I remember before happily passing out was another friend across the basement smoking a cigar and comparing it to a penis.

How did you start writing about beer?

Can I ask you a question?