I get it. I was right there with you when I was younger – I didn’t like beer.

Hated it actually. It had this strange zing at the end of the flavor, along with all of that terrible carbonation. Bud Light, Michelob, Coors, Heineken. All gross no matter how many times I tried them. What I wanted was a sweet, flavored Zima Citrus! (lol) Or a wine cooler. (sophisticated right?)

Or maybe some kind of mixed-drink concoction. Mudslide? Lynchburg Lemonade? Oh yeah. That’s where it was at. But beer? I would’ve been okay with it never being discovered in the first place. <— looking back now, that would be so sad!

So how did Mrs. Saturday and I get over our disdain for beer in our 20’s?

In 1 easy step – simply put:

Water deprivation while kayaking the Panama Canal.

I won’t say that this will work for everyone (or should even be a goal), but it sure worked for us. When we take cruises, we always like to plan exciting excursions. So years ago while on a cruise in the southern Caribbean in Costa Rica and Panama, of course we wanted to take kayaks into the Panama Canal! It was life-changing to say the least.

We love the outdoors. When we’re out in the elements working hard and doing something that pushes our comfort zone a bit, it’s when we feel most alive.

So here we are in Central America. It’s Thanksgiving Day and we’re away from our family, but it’s Part 2 of our Honeymoon Cruise so we wanted to live it up. Life so close to the equator is scorching. Our trip leader is a young 20-something (or maybe younger) machine. Mrs. Saturday and I shove off in our kayak along with the group and begin exploring the massive Gatun Locks near the Panama Canal (since you can’t actually kayak IN the canal where the ships are, we kayaked in the lake).

Cargo ship in the Panama Canal

Impressive in person. How much would one of these weigh?

As we made our way around the locks, we noticed right off how incredibly hot it was and we were going to be gone for at least an hour or so! We settled into a paddling routine and enjoyed the scenery not thinking how hard it might be to get back. Once we made it to the farthest point in our excursion, it was time to turn around, and there was a whole new problem. Our kayaks seems to be MUCH slower than everyone else’s either because they were a different type or maybe they were taking on water, but they were so much harder to paddle than everyone else’s!

Kayak in the Panama Canal, Gatun Lake

Beforehand, they might have mentioned that we should bring water with us into the kayaks, but for some reason we were under the impression that the lead kayak had a cooler of water in it, but – nope, no water!

We started to fall behind and if we if we weren’t delirious we couldn’t tell since our young guide kept telling us made-up stories of mermaids and other eye-rolling tales about the locks.

Rolling eyes

Mermaids. Really.

After what felt like an eternity of paddling under the blazing hot sun, we made it back to the dock and dove into countless bottles of water. We had an insatiable thirst that we couldn’t seem to quench so finally we went inside to the bar. I asked Mrs. Saturday if she’d care to try a beer and with the okay I asked the bartender for one of their best Panamanian beers.

They popped the top of a Panamanian beer named Atlas and passed us the brown bottle sweating with chilled dew. The feeling of that ice-cold beer hitting our lips and the way it went down seemed to quench our thirst and very lightly numb our tired muscles and burnt skin.

It was right then that our appreciation for beer began.*

A beer with heart bubbles

Now when we find ourselves in a land far away from home, I insist on tasting what local beer is available and have been pleasantly surprised ever since! There are so many flavors and nuances that are unique in different beers all over the world. Beer can be an adventure in itself.

Drinking a beer in Panama

*Apparently, I’ve heard this can also work for foods you don’t like. Don’t like broccoli? Just go without food for the weekend. You’ll probably love it.  😀

Panamanian beer photo from Habla Ya of Panama City

One simple step to start liking beer

How about you? Do you like beer or remember the moment that changed your mind?